Judge Jim #@&*@ Sharp: Rate His Cursing As He Tries to Spring Friend's Daughter from Jail

Categories: Courts, Crime

The things Justice Jim Sharp has to deal with....
Justice Jim Sharp of the 1st Court of Appeals is a guy who doesn't mince words, it's safe to say.

He's dealing with the fallout of all that, as the State Commission on Judicial Conduct has hit him with a public reprimand for his actions in connection with a January arrest of a friend's daughter in Brazoria County.

The 15-year-old had been charged with shoplifting -- a bra and jeans, mostly -- but because the value of merchandise involved was slightly higher than $150, county policy called for her to spend the night in jail.

That didn't sit well with Sharp, a Democrat who started making calls, leaving voice-mails (not smart, evidence-wise) and trotting out an extensive vocabulary belittling county officials who he called "backwoods hillbillies."

Let's examine some of his gems, courtesy of court documents.

5. "You have picked the wrong little girl that has friends in high places to mess with."
Fairly mild, in terms of the actual words chosen. But going with the "friends in high places" card is just too obvious. What's happened to subtlety when threatening backwoods hillbillies, for crying out loud?

4. One official Sharp was forced to deal with was "the most arrogant little prick [he] had ever talked to in [his] life."
Can a little prick be arrogant? We guess size doesn't matter.

3. If he met that prick in person, "and if Justice Sharp had been in possession of a 'baseball bat...that son of a bitch would have been cracked upside the head. Fucking little cocksucker.'"
Again with the little in regards to male genitalia. We're starting to think there's some kind of complex going on. Good move by the judge, though, leaving this message on voice-mail and text, so it could be preserved for further judicial hearings.

2. A quote: "Brazoria County Juvie Folks are [not] just arrogant but ignorant. When an Appeals Court Justice calls and identifies himself and then they refer to me as 'Mr.' Sharp, it bespeaks a fundamental misunderstanding of respect and pecking order!"
Ahhh -- lay back and wallow in the hilarity that is someone accusing another person of being arrogant because they call a judge "mister" instead of "justice." It bespeaks something, we agree.

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One more comment. In a lot of cases, like this one, the policy effectively imposes a jail sentence even though everybody knows that no jury or judge would impose a jail sentence. There is not a judge or jury on earth that would put this 15 year old girl in jail for stealing a bra and pants. She would get a fine or probation unless she has done this thing several times already. Jail sentence should not be imposed by County policy. That is just unconstitutional as all heck. By the way, there is no requirement that an accused to be arrested. There are other ways to commence a criminal proceeding as everybody knows such as occurs with traffic tickets. The Court can "summons" the Defendant, etc.  This idea of arresting just for the sake of arresting is frankly barbaric. You have a 15 year old girl possibly endangered some jails are brutal places. I think the Judge had reason to be outraged. I wouldn't really fault him for expressing his anger, but his anger should be no different than that of any other father, uncle, or whatever he was to this girl. The problem is trying to invoke special privilege. 


I think the delay would be constitutional if it resulted from practicalities (e.g. a magistrate not being available until morning to set bail). However, for the County to have a policy of holding the accused a certain amount of time "just because" that is the policy, I think is unconstitutional. The girl was entitled to bail as soon as it was set and as soon as she could make it.  Further, there cannot be any contrived delays to "punish" the accused without trial. Perhaps, the judge can address this issue from the bench in a case that comes before him because these kinds of situations are not uncommon and some are created by statute. I would say the same thing about pretrial "probation." They have people doing all the things associated with probation before they have even been found guilty in some counties with respect to some charges.  I don't think is consistent with what the constitution defines as bail.  The purpose of bail is only to insure the defendant appears at trial not to having him meeting with probation officers, paying probation fees, etc. when he has never been found guilty. One more thing. Bail is now commonly based on the seriousness of the accusation. It is supposed to be based on the seriousness of the risk of flight. There is some correlation between the two but not always.


The policy of course is unconstitutional.


The girl was entitled to reasonable bail and since there was no reasonable fear of flight before trial reasonable bail woulted d be a very small amount.


The constitution does not permit denial of bail even if the denial of reasonable bail based on policy even if the denial is temporary;


This is a way of punishing the girl without trial. She may have been innocent.


This kind of thing is done all the time now but it doesn't make it right.


Now, was the judge outraged at this constitutional violation or by the fact that he wanted this girl of importance to him to be treated differently than everybody else? Of course, the second.


Hey Rich, I am a little dissapointed that you are running this old story right before the election. Jim Sharp is a good judge who on one bad evening said some very stupid things. Thank God you and I have never "gone off in anger"!

If you have something "new" on the judge that  shows that this conduct  is continuing, let us know. Until then, I will support Sharp.

Your best fan!

Jim Henley

MadMac topcommenter

Great. Because we don't have a hard enough time getting a Democrat elected in Brazoria county. I've volunteered twice to get Faye Gordon on a bench in a county that is 70% Dem but has a Republican rep/senator/ and a registered Moron for Congressman. Thank you So much, JUSTICE (for the time being) not-so-Sharp for making my efforts SO much harder. I hope I can do something nice for you some day.


Here's the thing . . .


According to the findings, from the moment Mr. Sharp began making calls, he identified himself as an appellate justice and clearly indicated that he was calling on behalf of his friend's daughter.  Put differently, before he had reason or opportunity to get angry, he announced his title in an attempt to assert authority he didn't have and was using his position to benefit a friend. Instead of simply accepting the clear, policy-driven answer he was given by the people in authority (at which point this episode would have ended and probably never come to light), Mr. Sharp got into a "my title is bigger than yours" pissing contest that came to the same end and ended up embarrassing him.  A "good judge" understands and respects the limits of his authority and doesn't attempt to bulldoze over those limits. Even if you're a judge, sometimes you need to be told "No."


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