In the latest of several unusual events involving Judge Samuel B. Kent, Chief Judge Hayden Head of the Southern District of Texas ordered that Judge Kent would take an “intended absence” from his bench until December.

This leave of absence comes after a May order by Chief Head that split thirty percent of Kent’s civil cases among fellow U.S. District Court Judges John Rainey of Victoria, Sim Lake of Houston, and Gray H. Miller, of Houston. In 2001 the then-chief judge of the the Southern District removed eighty-five cases from Judge Kent’s court, which involved a law firm headed by one of his best friends, Richard Melancon.

Dean James Alfini of South Texas College of Law said that the leave of absence could be due to discipline by a judge’s peers, an illness, or a need to take time off for some other reason.

We here at SMSB have been huge fans of Judge Kent for his ascerbic wit and biting judicial opinions, but the chain of events in his chambers seems to point to something more related to disciplinary sanction than to personal time constraints.

In honor of Judge Kent’s time on the bench, below is a page from one of our favorite Kent opinions–the so-called “Live Bolivian” decision.

Live Bolivian

Whatever the case, we wish Judge Kent well during his leave, and look forward both to his return to the bench and the return of his legendary benchslappery.

Thx to the
Houston Chronicle and Greedy-Texas