SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association asked every active, licensed lawyer listed as living in Bexar County to rank all 51 elected judges in the county as a way to guide voters who may not know much about those interpreting the law.
It's the eighth time the nonprofit has commissioned the poll. Civil, criminal and prosecutorial, a record 420 lawyers responded.
"Lawyers care about the integrity of the judiciary system and care about what's happening at the courthouse," said Loraine Efron, of the lawyers association.
Putting personal feelings aside and asked to only answer if they've worked directly with the person, the six questions run the gamut from the judge’s work ethic to his or her punctuality.
"We think it's important for the voters to have this information. There's no other way for the voters of Bexar County to get information about the day-to-day performance of their judges," Efron said. "Those things are best evaluated by the lawyers who appear in the courtroom, all parties, all sides."
Efron said they found that statistically, politics don't matter. Parties weren't listed on the survey, and even if they did know the judges' affiliation, the average score of Republicans and Democrats is the same.
The pollsters said there is an impact. After the last poll in 2015, five of the six lowest overall ranked district criminal court judges are no longer on the bench.
This year, Judge Sid Harle, of the 226th District Court, once again topped the list.
"If somebody said he doesn't follow the law, that would, that would crush me. And I certainly would make some changes," Harle said. “I'm honored they think I follow the law.”
Below is a list of the entire rankings broken down by category and also a list of the judge's overall ranking from top to bottom: