He hears non-criminal matters that can be complex and involve a lot of money. For example, this past June the Dallas company ICC Energy Corporation filed a big lawsuit in his court against Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Corp (NYSE: CHK) claiming that Chesapeake breached a deal with ICC to market gas from the Barnett Shale at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Millions are at stake.
Presiding Judge Priddy's License Pulled for "Professional Misconduct"
What's interesting is that while Judge Priddy can preside over civil matters, ruling on motions made by attorneys, and accepting verdicts found by juries, he cannot practice law right now. His law license has been suspended by the State Bar of Texas for "professional misconduct."
Yes, that's right: in this State, a judge can still preside over a courtroom even if his law license has been suspended. For professional misconduct. Whoa.
Diane Jennings at the Dallas Morning News apparently thought this was strange, and asked the Executive Director of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct about the situation. Jennings reports that the director, Seana Willing, explained: "He was qualified when he stood for election ...[t]he fact that he, for the next three months, will have his license suspended, I don't think it's a constitutional disqualification."
Constitutional disqualification. Right.
Judge Priddy's Also Been Sued by the AG (Who Won) and His DUI Trial is Set for November
And guess what? Jennings has discovered that Judge Priddy:
1. also has the distinction of being the first sitting judge in the history of the State of Texas to be sued -- yep, sued -- by the Texas Attorney General. The Attorney General sued Judge Priddy and got judgments against the Judge for failing to file campaign finance reports with the state Ethics Commission. Judge Priddy got $39,000 in fines and after paying $31,500 to the Ethics Commission, the remaining $7,900 was recovered by garnisheeing his bank account. He still owes the State thousands in attorneys' fees, accrued interest, and a $500 late filing penalty.
2. In November 2007, Judge Priddy was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. That DUI case is scheduled for trial this November. According to the records, Judge Priddy told the cops that he has a "motor-coordination problem" and that he is diabetic.
Just one more example of how we're building confidence in the judicial system these days.
Dallas Morning News