in Houston, Texas
Kevin Fine: Judge, one-time addict, recovery guru
Monday, Nov 17, 2008, 02:47PM CST
By Matt Pulle
The Houston Chronicle has a strange but true tale on newly elected state district judge Kevin Fine, who is a recovering cocaine addict with more tattoos than Henry Rollins.

Fine's story has been hotly debated on the Chron site -- as of this writing there are 255 comments -- but I, for one, don't think you should have a perfect past to be a judge. If anything, a checkered personal history can help you bring more insight and perspective to the bench.

What worries me instead about Fine is that he is fond of using the language of recovering addicts, which is the exact opposite of the language of a judge. If a good jurist talks frankly, sternly and precisely -- a recovering addict often speaks affirmatively, vaguely and somewhat oddly. To wit, here is Fine talking about the moment he hit rock bottom as an addict:

"I was out of cocaine. I was out of money. And the four horsemen of addiction — terror, bewilderment, frustration and despair — were on their way ... That's when the devil shows up. It's like he's holding my heart in his hand, laughing at me, saying, 'I got you again!'"

Judge Fine, I admire your resolve. But you're scaring me a little. I kind of want my judges to be -- in addition to fair and wise -- boring, predictable and decidedly shy. Maybe that's just me. Anyhow, good luck.

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Friday, 03/05/2010 - 12:36PM

Impeach him. Once an addict always an addict. all he needs is a little stress and he will go back to snorting. He just showed as that he is back to his old habits by declaring the death penalty unconstitutional. What kind of nutjob wants killers ( who have no other real mitigating factors) go free unless he is smoking crtack?

Friday, 03/05/2010 - 09:48PM

i took my name because i figured why not be an idiot like the one above me. learn how to spell. crtack? you're an idiot. you deserve to be hooked up to a lethal injection so you no longer procreate.

Scream Leader
Friday, 03/05/2010 - 11:10PM

Good on Judge Fine...

Apparently Perry and his ilk haven't heard about the recent closing of the American Law Institute (ALI).

The ALI, which created the intellectual framework for the modern capital justice system almost 50 years ago, pronounced its project a failure last fall and walked away from it.

Any legal arguments to support the death penalty from now on will no longer have reputable legal standing.

Judge Fine is a great man.

idiot 2
Saturday, 03/06/2010 - 06:28AM

It's about time that something like that happens. in Canada, they dont send people to death since 1969 and they have one of the lowest crime rate in the world. Maybe we should check what they do up there.

WIGGER, youre an idiot!

Judge B
Sunday, 03/07/2010 - 07:02AM

It is obvious that Kevin is trying o legislate from the bench. No Judge should offer any opinion inside our outside court unless it is backed by law. Clearly the death penalty is legal constitutionally, to advocate otherwise would be to use ones judgeship to propagate a political agenda.

Tuesday, 03/09/2010 - 11:41AM

To have someone sitting on the bench that has no scruples, needs to be in the reverse situation. To kill brutally a family member of his and then sit on the soap box - no morales, no law ethics - how did he become a Judge?

a anonymous
Monday, 11/01/2010 - 12:11PM

I think Judge Fine is doing an excellent job. He is turning the lives of many around for the better. He is a Judge that shows compassion, and understanding to people who have seriouse problems, unlike other judges who have never been on the other side of the bench, Kevin Fine can offer suggestions to people who are struggling with addiction and carry a message that can save their lives. That's more than most judges can say.....

Monday, 12/06/2010 - 07:51PM

Your ex-President ( George W. B.) was a ex-cocaine addict and he became a president. So what ever, look ahead , the mistake in life it's just more experience.

Hey W.i.g.g.e.r. you didn't mistake...oooo what a angel.

GoGoGo Mister Judge Fine.


Martin the Canadian

Penny Germain
Saturday, 12/11/2010 - 10:14AM

I feel that Kevin has the compassion to help others, and he can surely relate to other addicts, I would love to see addicts be sent to rehab and not to jail to help, to find a god of there own understanding and be able to help others in time, Kevin is a great guy has helped many, known him for at least 5 yrs. And stood back and watched him help others! You have to be there and understand, And Kevin does! God Bless you Kevin..

Michael C. R.Tate
Friday, 03/04/2011 - 11:29AM

I had a case tried in that court at age 19 in 1993, Judge Love was ill and I had a sit in Judge in his late 70's from College Station. I had an assault to a jailer. I had the video and photos of my face, body as evidence. At the time I was attacked and chocked my hands were in my pocket. I learned never have a trial by judge. He found me guilty aggravated assault to a peace officer/Jailer. The young man that got beat a few months back brings a tear to my eye; they destroyed my life for years. After my CSI Investigation the Judge found out from various character references that I worked allot in my community, a student at UH and was a decent guy. Well he looked like he felt bad about what he did by convicting me, so he gave me a $750 Fine, no jail, no probation. I just graduated from UHD with a minor of POLS and a BS of Criminal Justice in 2010. After the felony, I lost hope but with the love of my wife and 3 daughters, I was able to finish what I started 18 years ago. After that conviction I was in and out of minor trouble because I knew many of my dreams were over and I was an alcoholic for 15 years. Judges should not be elected by party, but by their morals and interpretation of the law. I will always have Judge Fine's back. One innocent man on Death Row is 1 to many. A drug addicted person being sent to prison with no hope for recovery is a travesty. I still have my videos and court transcripts; couldn’t do an appeal because I didn’t have the money at the time and pardons are almost impossible to get. HPD said the photos that they took of me were also lost in the crime lab??The attacking Jailer has a stack of internal affairs and complaints from jailers as well as fellow officers a foot high at my house, no kidding. How convenient good thing I had my own photos and video tape. When my assigned DA showed her counterpart my photos and file she said “How did you convict this guy?” at my day of sentencing “She laughed pregnant and all and said “I just did”. An angel I’m not but there aren’t many 2nd chances after a felony, especially if you are looking to be in a professional field. Thank God Judge Fine gives 2nd chances and defendants the benefit of the doubt. For 2 many years in Harris County it’s not IF you’re GUILTY, it’s IF they can CONVICT you. God Bless Kevin Fine!!!!!!!

April O'Connell Lyman
Thursday, 07/07/2011 - 05:29PM

I APPLAUD THE HONORABLE KEVIN FINE for challenging the criminal justice system (and I use the word justice, very loosely) in Texas. The current philosophy of punishing rather than rehabilitating those accused of "crimes" is immoral, debase and clearly in violation of our civil liberties. We live in a society of Mass Incarceration. It is estimated that half of the currently incarcerated population is there because of non-violent criminal acts. If you make more laws, make more policies and make tougher probation restrictions, the result is that you will have more people in prison. In bringing the much needed attention and statement regarding the execution of the innocent, Judge Fine is one of the only members of the system who has had the moral courage to challenge the severely uneducated, misinformed and misguided status quo here in Texas. I applaud his good work and hope that he continues to pave the way for criminal justice reform. Perhaps the state of Texas should spend the little tax money they accrue and use it to EDUCATE their citizens so that they have the intellectual skills and reasoning abilities to conceptualize that they are participating and advocating a completely dysfunctional criminal justice system that creates more public harm rather than keeping its citizens safe! Thank you, Judge Fine!!! You truly are "Honorable".

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