You Owe Lubbock an Explanation Judge

Lubbock State District Judge Bill Sowder

Lubbock State District Judge Bill Sowder owes the Red Raider Nation an explanation. 

He owes me one too.

More than a year after Dolcefino Consulting filed a lawsuit to end the secrecy at Texas Tech University, home town Judge Bill Sowder filed an order recusing himself from the case. 

More than a year later! Months after he ruled the University was played word games with our requests to finally get the records exposing the conspiracy to fire Coach Mike Leach and cheat him out of $2.5 million.

The order was signed without an explanation about this sudden conflict of interest.

Was it political pressure?  Why now?  Don’t the parties deserve to know? Don’t Lubbock County voters deserve to know?

“Texas law allows judges sign their own recusal motions and not explain why. That’s ridiculous,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “My firm has spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to bring sunshine to Texas Tech, and this decision will force us to spend tens of thousands more than we had to, in part to educate a new Judge. 

Texas courts have dealt with this issue by saying that, “An inquiry into his or her mental processes, however messy, in arriving at this decision would be improper and would threaten the foundation of an honorable and independent judiciary.

Sounds like something Judges would write to let other judges off the hook.

Where do I go to get an explanation?

Judge Sowder recently swore in the new District Attorney Sunshine Stanek. She has refused to investigate the disappearance of records created in the days and weeks surrounding the Leach firing.  Late last year, the Texas Appeals Court made it harder to get the public records from Texas Tech. All the Appeals Judges are graduates of Texas Tech’s law school.

“Folks in Lubbock need to wake up. Texas Tech is not just hiding records about Mike Leach. They are hiding records about the obviously forced retirement of the last Chancellor, sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus, the amount of school money they lost to Bernie Madoff, the use of grants and research dollars at the Texas Tech Health Science Center, “ says Dolcefino, “The list of games being played by this school should be embarrassing to the people who pay taxes, donate money to the school and send their kids there.”

Judge Sowder’s sudden conflict of interest will force the area administrative Judge to find another Judge to hear the continuing lawsuit.  Hearings aren’t currently set again until May of 2019.

In the meantime, Sowder should file a public explanation.   Sowder is up for re-election in 2020 and could face a primarily challenge in the next several months.

“If no other Judge in Lubbock can be counted on to take their Red Raiders cap off longer enough to enforce the Texas Public Information Act, just admit you folks all have the hometown flu so we can seek real justice elsewhere in Texas,” says Dolcefino,  “I would hate to think we have to go to federal court alleging our civil rights are being violated by a bunch of politicians in Lubbock who care more about protecting the school then administering justice.”