Now everybody's mad ..... So Friday, Dec.
19 at 9:40 a.m. the following JPs were doing this: Judge Gary
Geick (Pct. 1) was supposedly on another line. He called me back
at 10. I was on another line and my caller ID didnít register if
he was calling from the courthouse or home.
Judge Ike Fredrickson (Pct. 1), who you may
remember had knee surgery a couple of days earlier, drove himself
to his office.
Judge Joel Clouser (Pct. 2) was expected at any
time because he had a trial docket starting at 10 a.m.
Judge Faye Dettling (Pct. 3) was supposedly in
a meeting and not available but if urgent she could be paged. At
this point, I had yet to talk to her.
Judge Jim Richards (Pct. 4) was not in. He was
supposedly at a meeting.
Final tally for Friday: Two JPs in
(supposedly), one JP (not in yet) to be on the bench later.
Then on Monday, Dec. 30 at 11:30 a.m. the
following JPs were doing this: Geick was not available. He called
me back although I didnít leave a message and said he had the flu.
He either had the flu or is a very good actor because he sounded
AWFUL. Plus he reported that his court was undergoing renovation
and he couldn't do anything anyway.
Fredrickson was "in with someone" and could
call later if I needed to talk to him. I just needed to know where
he was. Clouser was gone for the day and not expected until
Tuesday. Richards was not in and his office staff didnít know when
he would be.
Dettling was in and for the first time since my
quest began, I got to speak directly to her. She reminded me that
even though the JPs now have a "death investigator" they still get
calls at all hours of the day and night to do such things as
emergency mental commitments, search warrants, arrest warrants and
juvenile magistrating. I have to wonder how many people in Fort
Bend go crazy in the middle of the night.
Final tally for Monday: None in except Dettling
(for the first time) and none on the bench.
Getting testy ..... Finally on Monday,
January 7, 10:45 the following JPs were doing this: Geick and
Dettlingís offices were answered with recordings. I think when the
JPs are holding court, their clerks are tied up and often the
phone is answered by a recording. I tried a couple of times and
the recording was still on.
Richards was holding court, according to one of
his clerks and Clouser was at lunch. By then it was 11 and I noted
to myself that it was a little early for lunch. Clouser
immediately called me back (although I hadn't left my name and
number-caller ID?) and said he was still there and that his clerk
just didnít realize that he hadn't left yet. When I told him I was
just checking, he asked if I wanted him to call me at home the
next time he was called out at night. He informed me that the JPs
now had a "death investigator" but only on the weekends and they
still had to go out at night and certify deaths during the week.
I thanked him for that information.
Fredrickson was with someone but while I was
talking to his clerk, he became free and also asked me if I wanted
to go out with him on some of those night calls.
My, they are getting testy.
I still donít have the complete "fee officer's
report" for all the JPs for the last year because since Richards
went on a particular software system (the much ballyhooed "Banner"
system) some of his numbers are missing. However, I do have the
total amount of money they collected for the truncated (9
months-Fort Bend County changed its accounting system) last year.
For the year ending in September 2002, the
following JPs collected the following amounts of money: Geick -
$723,212; Fredrickson - $574,716; Richards - $445,548; Dettling -
$400,394; and Clouser - $335,485.
Two things to keep in mind: Geick is at the
county courthouse and probably gets a lot of business due to his
location; Clouser represents a poorer neighborhood and that
probably has an affect on his bottom line.
The only reason I can figure that Fredrickson
collects more than the other three JPs is because ---- he works
hard ..... and drives himself to the office with a bum knee