Request the resignation of Judge Ralph Strother

Sign this petition to show your support for the resignation of Judge Ralph Strother (Texas 19th district court).

Judge Ralph Strother needs to be removed from the bench because:

  • The sixth amendment guaranteeing the right to a speedy and public trial was not honored, and there was enough evidence that this case should have been determined by an actual trial.
  • A prior case lost by LaBorde is not a reasonable basis for LaBorde's lack of attempt to bring this one to trial.
  • LaBorde's opinion that "our jurors engaged in a lot of victim blaming [in the last case I tried] and aren't ready to blame rapists and not victims" is not a reasonable basis on which to offer a get out of jail free card to the accused. 
  • LaBorde's belief that a conviction cannot be made "when there isn't concrete proof of more than one victim" creates an environment in which only repeat sex offenders are penalized and offers a 'Try it out just once, no consequences!' mentality.
  • LaBorde's unwillingness to allow Mary her day in court betrays fundamental basic human rights and perpetuates a climate in which future victims will continue to report sex crimes at an alarmingly low rate.
  • A system created by wealthy white men protects wealthy white men. 
  • When judges on benches see themselves reflected in the face of a perpetrator and recuse him of all responsibility, they will not feel a modicum of remorse due to their privilege of race and class.

Methods of removal for Judge Strother include the Texas Supreme Court, Texas House of Representatives (confirmed by 2/3 Texas Senate), and Governor Greg Abbott. All methods of removal should be sought. Although Judge Strother is not to blame for Anderson's actions, Judge Strother should uphold his constitutional duty: that Mary receives her day in court with trial by jury.

In February 2016, a 19 year old female student Mary (anonymous) at Baylor University was handed a glass of punch at a Phi Delta Theta fraternity party and became disoriented. According to arrest affidavits, Phi Delta Theta President Jacob Anderson took Mary to a secluded area & sexually assaulted Mary, afterwards leaving her outside lying unconscious.

Mary was taken to the local hospital by her friends immediately, where her rape was verified. She contacted police, filed reports, and spoke with prosecutors. Initially, Mary was told "there is an enormous amount of evidence and a conviction is almost sure." Anderson was expelled from Baylor University. However, her trial was delayed a week before it was to occur on account of a legal motion by Anderson, and then never rescheduled.

District Attorney Hilary LaBorde allowed a plea deal from Anderson in which he pled No Contest to a charge of "unlawful restraint," softened from the original charges of sexual assault. Of her plea deal, LaBorde reasoned: "I realize this is not the outcome we had hoped for or that I had originally offered, but I tried a very similar case to this one last month, and lost."

On December 10, 2018, almost three years after the initial incident, 19th District Judge Ralph Strother accepted this plea deal. The consequences for Anderson include a fine of $400, some counseling, and 3 years deferred probation. Anderson will be left without criminal record or registration as a sex offender.

Mary and her family have been outspoken in their anger that the case is not to be allowed a trial, calling the deal "an absolute travesty." Mary's attorney, Vic Feazell stated, "By agreeing to this plea, Hillary LaBorde and the DA's office have allowed that rape is no longer a crime in Texas."

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