February 12, 2005
Ron Mock suspended

Houston's worst defense attorney, Ron Mock, has been suspended for nearly three years by the State Bar.

The 58-year-old former bar owner was placed on probation most recently in February 2004 after state officials found that he had accepted $4,600 to handle a woman's sexual harassment claim but had not told her that he had little experience with such cases. The woman's lawsuit was dismissed after Mock failed to respond to a preliminary motion, records show.

Originally, Mock was to have served one month of active suspension in March 2004, followed by 35 months on probation. The State Bar's board of disciplinary appeals ordered the longer suspension starting in December, however, because he violated his probation terms, which included notifying clients and the courts in which he worked about the disciplinary action, state records show.


Mock handled 19 capital murder cases between 1986 and 2001, and 16 of his clients ended up on death row. More than 10 have been executed, records show.

He stopped accepting court-appointed capital murder cases in 2001, after a new state law set stricter requirements for indigent capital defense.

"I was tired of the heat, so I got out of the kitchen," Mock said in an interview last year.

Several death row inmates he represented claimed on appeal that Mock did not represent them adequately.

Most recently, Frances Newton of Harris County said Mock met with her several times but never thoroughly discussed with her the case involving the 1987 murders of her husband and two children.

Mock's infamy goes back a long way. He was Gary Graham's attorney, for example. This article describes a case I wasn't familiar with.

Anthony Westley got Mock as his attorney. Westley and an acquaintance, John Dale Henry, were charged in the 1984 robbery of a Houston bait-and-tackle shop. One of them fired the .22-caliber bullet that killed the owner. Then they fled, leaving just one witness, a clerk. Henry went on trial first. The evidence in Henry's trial, including the clerk's testimony, suggested Henry was the robber with the .22-caliber pistol, with Westley carrying a different gun. The prosecutor told jurors that all signs pointed to Henry as the victim's killer. But Henry was not sentenced to death.

Five months later, at Westley's trial, a different prosecutor gave the case a new slant, tailoring the presentation of evidence, and eliciting testimony from the clerk in a way that pointed to Westley as the robber who fired the fatal shot. Westley was sentenced to death. "I did the best I could for him," Mock recalled in an interview.

Except he did not take the basic step of attending Henry's trial or reading a transcript for a preview of the state's case against Westley. Had he done so, a judicial report later concluded, he would have been well-equipped to undermine the spin that Westley's prosecutor put on the crime. That was just one of many mistakes Mock made in the case, according to a 100-page report by a court-appointed special master, Houston lawyer Brian Wice. Wice reviewed the case in minute detail as part of Westley's appeal. He wrote that Mock's preparation for Westley trial was so lax, and his performance in court so inept, that "a breakdown of the adversarial process" occurred.

Rick Casey outlined some of Mock's other sins at the time of Frances Newton's stay of execution. He and Joe Sleeping Beauty Cannon are the poster boys for what's wrong with the death penalty.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 12, 2005 to Crime and Punishment | TrackBack

3 years.. Man.. that's harsh.
Probably deserved it though


Posted by: Craig on February 12, 2005 5:51 PM

Now I know where the term "a Mockery of justice" came from.

Posted by: Tim on February 13, 2005 8:53 AM

See, unlike the BoME, the Bar polices its own with relative vigilance. Don't mean to threadjack, Charles, but I've got a bee in my bonnet on this particular point.

Posted by: TP on February 14, 2005 9:21 AM

This guy should have been nabbed a long time ago. It's sickening how many court appointed defense attorneys in Texas basically grease the tracks for the prosecution rather then actually doing their jobs. The punishment was not harsh enough, in my opinion. I would imagine that the families of some of the death row inmates might agree.

Posted by: Lisa on February 15, 2005 8:47 AM

Seems to me that if Mock was this bad, all of the capital murder cases that ended with a death sentence should be overturned and a new trial begun. The word texecution comes to mind.

Posted by: Carrie on June 20, 2005 9:10 AM

So this means that (a) his suspension is not connected to his handling of capital cases and (b) he quitted doing such cases 3 years earlier, in 2001.
His critics today (August 2005) say that (a) he did no investigative work and (b) spoke to view wittnesses.
(A) In Frances Newton's he did not double check the ballistic test, so there was doubt. Now her new lawyers did a re-test and created double proof. Bravo!
(B) It is simply not allowed for a lawyer to call winesses of whom he knows he/she is going to lie. And who say they wanted those wittnesses? Exactly, those who discussed their situation with him. After he did not call the wittness the later convicts say it is all his fault. Can de defend himself without lifting the client-lawyer privilege? No. So it is not so strange that Mr. Mock doesn't give any comment.

Posted by: Sybrand Heger on August 24, 2005 11:37 AM

You can make that 11 executed with Frances being put to death yesterday. What a complete piece of sh*t this guy is.

"I was tired of the heat, so I got out of the kitchen," Mock said in an interview last year.

Guess he'll be feeling the heat again soon when he winds up in hell...bravo Mock. No wonder the rest of the world "Mocks" American justice...

Posted by: scott on September 15, 2005 9:21 AM

Ron Mock is a distgusting human being. Although my brother didn't get sentenced to death, he got a hefty sentence. Ron Mock showed up drunk in court and actually fell asleep during the trial so you can only guess what kind of defense he provided my brother. This man bilked me and my family out of $7,500 and never even interviewed a single witness! But I guess that's his M.O. My heart and prayers go out to all the innocent people this man sent to Death Row as well as their families he misled and scammed out of their money.

Posted by: Bianca on September 22, 2005 9:39 PM

I am trying to find an attorney that's willing to take my son's case who was also represented by Rock Mock in 1991 and received very lenghty stacked sentences. Can anyone help with some attroney names?

Posted by: Terry Singleton on October 9, 2006 1:20 PM