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?
Leslie C. Taylor for Justice, First Court of Appeals, Place 5.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
Criminal and civil appeals from a 10-county area. Basically, anybody unhappy with what happens in a district court or county court has one shot at having three appellate justices "grade the papers" of the trial court judge. If the panel finds reversible error, the case may be sent back for a new trial or the judgment altered in some way. The counties are: Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Chambers, Waller, Washington, Austin, Grimes and Colorado.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
The incumbent ran unopposed in the Republican Primary and unopposed in the general election with no apparent experience in appellate law. I thought the voters would appreciate a choice this year.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I have written many appellate briefs in many types of civil cases. I have researched and studied Texas law extensively to write the first edition of a very popular book for Texas litigators, O'Connor's Texas Causes of Action. I have been certified in civil appellate law since 1990 by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I have worked for a court of appeals as a briefing attorney and research attorney. I have represented many types of people, both rich and poor, and businesses, large and small.
5. Why is this race important?
For most litigants and criminal defendants, the only appeal they will get is to the court of appeals. At the next level, the highest courts get to pick and choose which cases they take (except that the Court of Criminal Appeals hears all death penalty cases).
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
When I worked with W. James Kronzer, a legend in Texas appellate law, he had one complaint about my lawyering: "Leslie, you're too objective. You should be on the bench." That objectivity is important to me -- so important that I have decided not to solicit or accept large campaign contributions from attorneys, law firms or PACs. I do not and will not use judicial campaign contributions to sponsor advocacy groups.
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.
Martin Siegel, Court of Appeals, 14th District, Place 7.
Randy Roll, 179th District Criminal Court.