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Texas Supreme Court Justice Seeks Reimbursement of Attorneys' Fees, Part 2

Earlier we had a post reporting that Nathan Hecht, a Texas Supreme Court justice, was seeking legislation that would reimburse him for attorneys’ fees he incurred in defending himself from an ethics complaint. That story took another twist today when the Fort Worth Star Telegram published a story that Hecht had already been reimbursed for those attorneys’ fees by political supporters after Hecht allegedly wrote supporters and solicited donations. It appears that Hecht failed to tell the Senator he convinced to sponsor the bill about the collection. Senator Jeff Wentworth said he would not have introduced the bill if he knew that Hecht had already collected the money. With this revelation, Wentworth is pulling his support for the bill.

Hecht’s conduct brings up the always thorny issue of judges raising money from attorneys. As was commented in the article:

Andrew Wheat, a spokesman for Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit judicial watchdog group, said it is troubling that Hecht is trying to raise money from lawyers who most likely have cases before his court while also asking taxpayers to pay his legal bill.

“It sounds like double-dipping to me,” Wheat said. “He wants everybody to pay him for his pain. The lawyers in his courtroom, the taxpayers, too.”

One lawyer who did not want to be identified as criticizing the senior member of the state’s highest court said lawyers can’t afford to turn Hecht down, saying it would be a “death wish” if a client had case before the court.

The Star Telegram had previously written an editorial about Hecht’s conduct.

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