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Texas Judge Rebuked for 'Redneck' Speech

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 26, 2018 12:55 PM

Christopher Lee, a Texas justice of the peace, is up front with the people in his courtroom.

"This is a redneck court," he liked to say when opening for business. Then the judicial performance commission warned him that was not how he should start the day.

It's a reminder that cultures clash sometimes, but we shouldn't cause them.

"Redneck Court"

Lee presides over small claims cases in Riviera, a farming community of about 2,000 people. A Hispanic litigant in a landlord-tenant dispute complained about his "redneck" speech to the state Commission on Judicial Performance.

Jesus Espinoza was in court because his landlord had demanded payment before his lease was up, and she had planted a Confederate flag on the property to intimidate him. Hearing the judge say it was a "redneck court" caused Espinoza some concern.

In his defense before the commission, Lee said he was talking about himself. He stated a "redneck" is a "small town country boy who works hard from sun up tell (sic) sundown in order to get the job done."

The commission didn't correct his spelling, but did correct his behavior. The agency admonished him and ordered him to take four hours of training on racial sensitivity and to avoid the appearance of bias.

Didn't Get It

Apparently, Lee didn't get the message. He told the local news that he didn't think he did anything wrong.

Time will tell, especially if another litigant tells on him. Lee is up for reelection in November.

He probably won't talk about running a "redneck court," although he will probably continue to preside in his own style. He wears a cowboy hat on the bench.

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