A Harris County Judge Learns A LessonShare this story:
Harris County Judge Brittanye Morris is facing continuing fallout after Dolcefino Consulting exposed her relationship with controversial real estate developer Ali Choudhri.
Judge Morris has now recused herself in at least three lawsuits, including a personal injury case involving a van owned by Choudhri’s company. In at least one of the cases Judge Morris had no choice but to get off the bench.
Gary Roth, the Houston attorney representing the man injured in the personal injury case had accused the judge of violating multiple judicial conduct rules and being unfair to litigants after a Dolcefino Consulting investigation. Morris had refused to recuse herself after details of her relationship with Choudhri began to emerge
As a brand-new judge, Morris issued a court ruling helping Ali Choudhri in a nine-year legal battle over a building at the corner of Westheimer and 610.
Dolcefino Consulting detailed text messages showing Morris was actually working for Choudhri’s company after she knew she would take the bench and handle lawsuits involving the developer. Election records showed the Morris judicial campaign had been financed by associates of Choudhri, including two of his lawyers.
“I was shocked and surprised,” said Gary Roth, the attorney in the traffic accident case. Roth called the Dolcefino investigative reports extremely important for judicial transparency.
Lawyers in the real estate case had complained the judge’s conduct was outrageous and demanded her removal from the lawsuit, stating “our judicial system is doomed and no party facing the daunting aspect of litigation with Choudhri has a chance to prevail.”
Morris refused to recuse herself, but Administrative Judge Susan Brown forced Morris to eventually get off the bench in the Galleria real estate fight. Since then Morris has recused herself in at least two more cases.
Judge Brown told us the latest recusals were not forced. “I have had no contact with Judge Morris since January 7th, when I spoke to all of the new judges regarding recusals at new Judge’s orientation.”
“Based on the comments of Judge Brown, there is no excuse for Judge Morris’s conduct since taking the bench,” said Wayne Dolcefino. “We have called for investigations to see if Morris was paid by Choudhri in the weeks before taking the bench, but with this District Attorney we have no confidence there will ever be one.”
After our reports, Dolcefino Consulting President Wayne Dolcefino had been subpoenaed in a case where Choudhri is trying to silence his former Chief Operating Officer from disclosing company secrets.
“After we called Choudhri’s lawyer to offer him a chance to comment, Austin Attorney Joe Sibley accused us of some kind of insane conspiracy against his client,” Dolcefino said. “I know the motto is keep Austin weird, but that was just plain nuts.”
The hearing on that case has been postponed and no new subpoena has been issued.
The Dolcefino Consulting reports on Ali Choudhri can be viewed on our website here.
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