Deceptive Practice

Noah.Ray Most Richardson residents would not know that Raymond D. Noah, the long-sitting Municipal Judge  and former mayor (1968-1983) for the city of Richardson has been enjoying the trappings of our expansive court system here in town while possibly violating Section 7.03 of the City Charter. 

Well, to be fair, the truth is he is not being forthright somewhere.  That somewhere is either at the State Bar of Texas or to the City Council who has been appointing him as a "practicing attorney" over and over for the past few decades.  It is somewhat curious that the transparency ends at the courthouse door.

The operative phrase in the City Charter is "practicing attorney".  About ten years ago the 50+ year contracted city attorney, Pete Smith, defended the appointment of the questionably-practicing-or-not lawyer saying, "He practices law every day as the Municipal Judge."  Well, there's another tall tale from someone known as the city's chief pathalogical tall tale teller.

According to any respectable attorney, practicing law means representing one side or another in a legal matter.  And, to be respectable in the eyes of fellow members of the State Bar of Texas (and the rest of the world), you declare what area you practice in the public record, i.e. the State Bar of Texas Member Directory.  After monitoring that directory for about ten years, the Richardson municipal court judge has consistently reported no legal practice area, yet does claim to his collegues and the world that he is a "full time judge". 

Worse still, numerous members of the visiting judge circuit (which has developed into quite a lucrative cabal) appear to be doing a large amount of actual officiating at the courthouse.  Ten years ago this Municipal Court Judge had an annual salary of more than $80,000 plus the customary platinum benefits package.  Not bad for a whistle stop part-time, full time judge.

Section 7.03. - Municipal court judge.
The judge of the municipal court, while in office, shall be a bona fide resident of the City of Richardson, a duly licensed, practicing attorney in the State of Texas, and shall be appointed by the city council for a term of two (2) years, subject to removal by the city council by a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the city council.

State Bar of Texas
Member, Raymond D. Noah, "Practice Areas: None Reported By Attorney"