Houston Bar members rate judiciary, Justice Devine gets low marks

By Marilyn Tennissen | Dec 3, 2013

Every two years, the Houston Bar Association asks its members to evaluate members of the judiciary that serve in Harris County, as well as the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The judges are evaluated in categories that include knowledge of the law, impartiality, efficiency, courtesy, written opinions and an overall evaluation. 

Each person evaluating a judge is asked to base his or her opinions on firsthand knowledge only.

The Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire was conducted online this year for the first time. There were 1,751 evaluations returned, representing 17.9 percent of HBA members who had access to the online evaluation.

The Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire includes federal judges; magistrate judges; bankruptcy judges, state and local appellate judges; civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate judges; associate judges in the family, juvenile and probate courts; IV-D associate judges; county civil and criminal court at law judges; justices of the peace; and municipal judges.

The Judicial Evaluation Questionnaire is not an endorsement by the HBA of any judge.

The Texas Supreme Court judge receiving the highest rating by the Houston Bar is Nathan Hecht, who was given “Excellent” ratings by 44 percent of respondents.

Eva Guzman and Phil Johnson earned Excellent ratings from 40 percent of respondents.

Getting the worst marks was John Devine, who 37 percent of respondents gave a “Below Average” rating. Only 10 percent gave Devine an Excellent rating.

Below is a listing of the overall evaluation scores of the Texas Supreme Court justices.

The complete results are on the HBA website at www.hba.org/evaluationresults.

Texas Supreme Court Justices

• Jeffrey S. Boyd

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 33%

Above Average 24%

Average 22%

Below Average 11%

Needs Improvement 10%


• John P. Devine

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 10%

Above Average 9%

Average 20%

Below Average 37%

Needs Improvement 25%


• Paul Green

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 29%

Above Average 19%

Average 25%

Below Average 18%

Needs Improvement 9%


• Eva Guzman

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 48%

Above Average 23%

Average 14%

Below Average 8%

Needs Improvement 7%


• Nathan Hecht

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 44%

Above Average 15%

Average 11%

Below Average 17%

Needs Improvement 14%


• Phil Johnson

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 34%

Above Average 22%

Average 19%

Below Average 13%

Needs Improvement 12%


• Debra Lehrmann

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 28%

Above Average 24%

Average 25%

Below Average 15%

Needs Improvement 8%


• Don Willett

Overall Evaluation

Excellent 32%

Above Average 18%

Average 21%

Below Average 15%

Needs Improvement 13%

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