Black robe scuffles 

Outside the struggle for Bexar County’s District Attorney, two of the area’s hottest races are for district court judgeships.

The first is the fight for the seat of vacating 285th District Court Judge Michael “no tittie left untasselled” Peden. Republican Richard Price and Democrat Rosie Alvarado are facing off for a chance to grip Peden’s gavel.

In addition to having one of the scarier mugs in the race (visit, Price has an extensive history in the business of law. Price paints himself as an impartial judge who adheres to the letter of the law. He rides on experience: more than 500 district civil court cases processed and more than 20 years of practice. Price champions his portfolio as proof that his rival, Alvarado, isn’t suited to rule. She has a fraction of Price’s experience (eight years) and a fraction of his civil court cases. In counter, Alvarado presents herself as “well-rounded and uniquely qualified” through time spent handling personal injury, family law, small business representation, as well as criminal defense.

Appointed by former Texas Governor Bill Clements in 1989, retiring Judge Peden made news recently when he ruled nude dancing illegal in San Antonio.

Perhaps the most high-profile court race is the battle between Republican incumbent Sol Casseb III and Democrat Tina Torres for the 288th District Court seat. Casseb was appointed to the bench in 2008. Not a year later, he presided over a trial that has followed him to this election, with no small help from Torres.

In October 2009, Casseb granted Jean Philippe Lacombe emergency custody of his 10-year-old son before hearing a case on whether the child should remain with him or with his mother Bernice Diaz. Rather than appear in court the following week, Lacombe fled the country with his son and has since been charged with kidnapping and aggravated perjury. Diaz was reunited with her son in September.

Torres has hammered the issue as an example of Casseb’s inability to rule. She believes Diaz was not heard in court before Casseb decided to rule in favor of Lacombe based on Mexican parental documents. In a prepared release, Casseb called the controversy a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation, and also blamed the Mexican documents for misrepresentation of Lacombe.

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