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Judges Gone Wild in Texas Political Controversy

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

It's not every day that a judge sues somebody.

It's even more rare when a judge sues another judge, but a Fort Worth jurist claims a supervising judicial officer retaliated against her. Although the suit says it's about politics, it's a lot more personal.

Judge Diane Scott Haddock claims Judge Patricia Baca-Bennett told her to "get her husband under control" to stop his political activity. That allegedly created a hostile work environment of Texas proportions.

Hostile Work Environment

In her complaint, Judge Haddock says she was subjected to "constant badgering, threats, back-biting, undermining and maligning" after she refused to comply with the directive. Her husband reportedly supported a judicial candidate in opposition to a candidate that Baca-Bennett endorsed.

It gets worse, in a way that only judicial politics and social media can. Baca-Bennett allegedly called Gerald Haddock "an evil man," and a "bully," and incited others to "trash" Judge Haddock publicly.

In a Facebook post, another judge spread a rumor that Judge Haddock was resigning. Baca-Bennett, according to the suit, falsely posted that Judge Haddock was resigning due to "corruption in the political process."

It apparently boiled over one day in the lawyers' lounge when people overheard Baca-Bennett "screaming, yelling and crying while demanding support to oust Diane."

A Dream Job

Judge Haddock says in her lawsuit that she served "loyally, diligently and faithfully" for nearly 20 years. As the county's only judge who is a certified family law specialist, she has presided over some 45,000 family law matters.

She dreamed of being a judge since she was 7 years old, but the public and private hostility has changed all that. Her lawsuit says she started counseling and heart medication to deal with it.

The judge wants injunctive relief, damages, interest, costs, and attorney's fees. It's the usual fare, but in the wild, wild West.

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