Tell us why Judge Floyd, tell us why

By The SE Texas Record | Apr 10, 2010

Why'd the fireman wear red suspenders? To hold his pants up, of course.

Why'd the fireman wear red suspenders? To hold his pants up, of course.

The question why a person does a certain thing is usually easy to answer, at least for the person doing it. It might not be obvious to someone else, but the person doing it should have no trouble explaining why.

Granted, we do things on a whim every now and then, but for the most part, we know the reasons for our actions.

Why'd you use that camera lens? Why'd you replace the alternator? Why'd you prescribe penicillin? Any competent photographer or mechanic or doctor could explain why such things were done. Other photographers or mechanics or doctors might have done things differently, but they'd have explanations, too.

Likewise, a judge is expected to explain a decision he's rendered. Whether it's convincing or not, that judge should have reasons.

So when Jefferson County Judge Donald Floyd refuses to explain why he granted a new trial after a jury rejected the plaintiff's claims, we believe his motivation bears scrutiny.

After a six-week trial in Floyd's 172nd District Court in 2008, jurors concluded that DuPont was not responsible for the death of former employee Willis Whisnant Jr. from mesothelioma. Floyd threw out the jury's verdict and ordered a new trial giving no explanation.

Last July, the Texas State Supreme Court ordered Floyd to explain himself. That's what judges are supposed to do, give written opinions on the law that supports a decision. His decision was made in a courtroom, not over a drink in a bar.

Almost a year later, nothing. In the meantime, a new trial twice has been postponed.

DuPont has a right to swift and impartial justice, and now is receiving neither. The people of Texas have a right to know the fairness of judges acting on their behalf.

We have a right to know why Floyd made his decision, and he is obligated to tell us in a timely fashion. Months that turn into years is not timely.

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