Friday, July 18, 2008

A new DA on the horizon for Bexar?

Judge Sid Harle would make a great DA.

Ok. Sorry Sid your picture here doesn't do you justice.

Ken Rodriguez: Harle for DA? Judge draws bipartisan backing to replace Reed
Ken Rodriguez - Express-News

Colleagues say Sid Harle is the go-to guy at the courthouse. The judge who other jurists and lawyers seek for counsel, the man who inspires respect and admiration from both parties.

The last time any Democrat challenged the Republican Harle for the 226th District Court bench, Henry Cisneros was mayor — in 1988.

Some supporters from both parties would like to see Harle campaign again, but this time for district attorney.

Two Democratic judges tell me Harle would make a great DA. For political reasons, they don't want to be named. But one of them says, “If Sid were to run, there would be no organized Democratic opposition against him.”

A Republican consultant says Susan Reed is losing political clout within the GOP and would like to see Harle replace her.

“Some people within the GOP mainstream feel Susan is too arrogant and brings too much negative attention,” says the consultant, who didn't want to be identified for fear of angering Reed.

If Harle is the most popular figure at the courthouse, Reed is the most feared. No one wants to cross her publicly. Forget those scandalous missteps. Critics say Reed still wields a lot of power.

He says his friendship with Reed would preclude him from challenging her. But he won't rule out a run.
“If she were to move on to other things, I'd be interested in that position,” Harle says. “It's a high calling in Bexar County.”

Despite recent events, Reed continues to say she does not intend to leave office.
“I most definitely intend to run,” she says in an e-mail. “I had a very successful fundraiser in April supporting that intention.”

She says she considered a long-rumored run for county judge “but in the end I decided this is more me.”

End of story?

A lot could happen between now and 2010. Reed's political wounds could deepen; Harle's political fortunes could rise.

If anyone commands more judicial respect than Harle, it didn't show up in a survey of local lawyers in 2005.

The survey — unscientific and sponsored by the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association — showed Harle ranked highest in overall performance with 98.94 percent approval.
Among the 460-plus lawyers who judged Harle, 98.92 percent said he showed a good judicial temperament and 98.92 percent said he followed the law.

“He's certainly not a guy who lets defense attorneys get their way,” says noted defense lawyer Alan Brown. “When I've lost in his court, I've never left thinking my guy got anything but a fair hearing. I've almost never seen him make a mistake. He's got respect from all different sides.”

Reed, meanwhile, suffers from a growing loss of respect. She created the greatest outrage with her purchase of a stolen Southwest Airlines ticket. Though it was marked “not for resale,” Reed claimed she was duped.

With a disbelieving public seething over that, Reed tried to help a friend of her son who was arrested on a weapons charge. She told a prosecutor to secure a personal recognizance bond for Christopher J. Mueller, and it was done. Mueller left the detention center so fast, heads almost swiveled.

Days later, Reed apologized for interceding, but that didn't quell the uproar.

“If anyone could beat Susan, Sid could,” Brown says. “But I don't think he would run against her.”

That's his contention today. But tomorrow? Supporters hope for a change of mind between now and 2010.