Instead of 1-5 ratings, there need to be negative ratings for this judge. He's dishonest, biased, and has no business being a judge. He makes up rules of evidence (as confirmed by the 14th Court of Appeals). He should not only be removed from the bench but he belongs in prison.
Jack Skeen is the worst judge to ever sit on the bench. He makes a mockery of the judicial system. He is an embarrassment to himself and the voters who elected him. A previous commenter described him as "honest and honorable." There is ample documented evidence to demonstrate nothing could be further from the truth. As a long-time DA he withheld evidence and did all sorts of despicable things to win. As a judge he has been slapped down by the court of appeals for conduct that, if the Texas Judicial Conduct Commission did its job, should have gotten him removed from the bench. He simply continues to be an unethical prosecutor in a black robe. He is an embarrassment to Smith County and the Texas judiciary.
To get a window into Judge Jack Skeen's sense of legal ethics, go back to 1992 when Skeen was the District Attorney. He and his underling, prosecutor David Dobbs prosecuted Kerry Max Cook, whose first murder conviction had been overturned three more times. Cook's second trial in 1992 ended in a mistrial. Fourteen months later, Skeen and Dobbs succeeded in railroading Cook and got a conviction. How? Well, when that conviction was overturned in 1996, the state's highest criminal appellate court offered an explanation :
In November 1996 the [Criminal Court of Appeals] threw out the verdict, decrying the state’s role in the case with unusually harsh language, proclaiming that “prosecutorial and police misconduct has tainted this entire matter from the outset.” Though most of the misconduct singled out was from the first trial, the court noted other disquieting behavior from the second and third, including Dobbs’s visit to Cook at the jail. In a concurring opinion, a judge found the misconduct so bad that he thought a fair trial was no longer possible and that in his view Smith County should not be allowed to continue prosecuting Cook: “The State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense.”
Cook was granted another trial in 1999. Skeen and Dobbs knew damn well that newly-available DNA evidence was on the way--evidence that might have exonerated Cook. Did they do the right thing and wait for the results to come back? NO! They offered the terrified Cook a plea deal in which he was sentenced to the time he already served. Cook went free, but thanks to Skeen and Dobbs, he was branded a convicted murderer until he was granted a final hearing in June, 2016 in which Skeen's protégé, Matt Bingham finally agreed to drop the murder charge against Cook in a deal that protected Skeen and Dobbs from scrutiny that might have led to uncovering their previous misconduct!
Did Skeen learn from his errors? Nope. Getting appointed to the vacant bench of the 241st just gave Skeen free reign as a judge to play fast and loose with procedural rules and let prosecutors run rough-shod over defendants' rights. No case is more illustrative of Skeen's disregard for the Constitution than the ill-fated "Mineola Swingers' Club" debacle, which further disgraced Smith County's dysfunctional criminal justice system and was eventually overturned. The conservative 14th Court of Appeals returned its ruling with a scathing rebuke of Skeen's conduct in the case. The appellate court found that Skeen committed "numerous evidentiary errors" when he excluded evidence and testimony that certainly would have hurt the prosecution's case. It went on to say that Skeen "adopted ad hoc evidentiary rules that operated to assist the state in proving its case, while impeding appellant’s ability to defend himself."
Skeen recently announced that he plans to run for re-election in 2018. Say NO to Judge Jack Skeen Jr.
I was a prosecutor when Judge Skeen was the District Attorney and I am a pro-law enforcement person and so is the Judge. If you don't like taking responsibility for your unlawful behavior, you aren't going to like the Judge. But I guarantee you that many lives have been changed for the better because of a tough judge like Judge Skeen.
If you work for the system, then you have not been on the other side. Skeen just wants his 100% convictions no matter what. Sit in on a case and watch how Skeen allows his DA to yell at anyone defending the case and notice what color the jury is. The black juries are scared to death that something might happen to them if they let anyone go. There is an old story, which is in the book "Smith County Justice", about a young black man getting 7 years for stealing a candy bar. The DA laughed and said "it was the large bar", I was just a character witness for one of my son's friends and I never would have thought such corruption happened in my home town. I hired a lawyer I know in Fort Worth and he overturned the case, but they were going to try him again and he took time served. This happened during the Mineola Sex case was going to trial. As everyone knows now, there was no Mineola sex ring and everyone was let go after evidence was thrown out.
Judge Skeen is the best Judge in Smith County. He is honest, honorable and cares about the citizens of this community. We are lucky to have him on the bench. The negative comments are from one particular attorney who cannot seem to get over the fact that he lost in the Mineola Swingers Case and his client was rightfully convicted. So consider the source.