Note: This entry is part of a series of written Q&As with judicial candidates who will be on the ballot in Harris County. I am also doing recorded interviews with non-judicial candidates.
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
Martin Siegel, Court of Appeals, 14th District, Place 7
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
All civil and criminal appeals except death penalty cases.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I'm running for an appellate bench because much of my experience has been in the state and federal appellate courts, and I hope I can put the writing, research and analytical skills honed over years of appellate practice to good use on behalf of the people of the 14th district.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
A longer bio is available on my website, www.SiegelForJustice.com, but briefly: I graduated UT Austin in 1988 with highest honors, and Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1991. I then served as law clerk to a federal appellate judge in New York City. From 1992-1994, I worked as an associate in the Washington office of a national law firm on commercial, environmental and appellate matters. From 1995-2000, I served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York New York City, bringing civil rights lawsuits and defending the United States in constitutional, tort and other cases. I received the Justice Department's Director's Award for Superior Performance as an AUSA in 1999. From 2000-01, I was detailed by DOJ to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where I worked as a staffer on campaign finance, election reform, criminal and immigration issues. Since returning to Houston in late 2001, I have been a civil litigator, working on significant commercial, product liability, and appellate cases and have had my own appellate firm since 2007. I was named a "Texas Super Lawyer" in 2008 for appellate work by Texas Monthly, an award given to approximately 5% of lawyers chosen by their peers, and received the parallel award for lawyers under 40 in 2004 and 2007. I've also frequently published on legal topics, am on the national board of editors of the ABA's magazine Litigation, and have taught an adjunct class at UH Law Center. Further, I've been involved in local community groups including American Jewish Committee, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Houston Urban Debate League.
5. Why is this race important?
The race is important because the Court of Appeals decides thousands of cases during a six year term, and the outcomes of those cases affect tens of thousands of citizens, businesses, victims of crime, employees and employers, families with disputes to settle, people seeking compensation for injuries of various kinds, people alleging their rights have been violated, and others. Voters sometimes overlook the courts or couldn't say who their appellate judges are, but the courts' work represents a very direct way in which government serves people.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
People should vote for me because I'm qualified for the job. Moreover, I hope my diverse and well-rounded professional background -- having represented large corporations as well as individuals, the United States as well as people who had to sue the government, plaintiffs and defendants at trial and in appeals here and in New York and Washington -- will contribute a fresh perspective and be an asset to the court.
Dion Ramos, 55th Civil Judicial District Court.
Shawna Reagin, 176th District Criminal Court.
Al Bennett, 61st Civil Judicial District Court.
Judge Jim Jordan, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Mike Miller, 11th Civil Judicial District Court.
Andres Pereira, 190th Civil Judicial District Court.
Steven Kirkland, 215th Civil Judicial District Court.