(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. There are a lot of judicial races on the ballot in Harris County this election, and so this is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. I will also be conducting some in-person interviews of candidates who will be involved in contested primaries for non-judicial offices. Please see the Election 2010 page listed at the top of the blog for a full list of Q&As and interviews.)
1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
My name is David Longoria and I am running in the Democratic Primary for Judge of the 314th Juvenile District Court.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The short answer is that Juvenile Courts hear the following types of cases:
1. Cases that involve adolescents from ages 10 to 17 that commit criminal acts. If the Judge or a Jury adjudicates a Juvenile to be delinquent, the Judge decides the appropriate punishment, ranging all the way from an informal probation to actual incarceration in a local detention facility or the Texas Youth Commission for serious crimes and in the most grevious cases, conduct hearings to certify these youths to stand trial in the adult courts.
2. Cases involving abused and neglected children that are initiated by Harris County Children’s Protective Services. The Judge decides if these children should be removed from their home if they are in situation which constitutes a continuing danger to their welfare. Subsequent hearing are held to determine how the children are thriving in their Foster Home placement, and weather the parents are following steps to be rehabilitated, which could include parenting classes, drug counseling, or whatever is needed to resolve the situation that caused harm to their children. In the worst scenario, where the parents are not following steps for rehabilitation, the Judge can decide to terminate the parental rights of the abusers thus freeing the children for adoption. The primary concern of the Judge is the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN.
3. If prospective adoptive parents, working with Children’s Protective Services, file a Petition for Adoption, after proper studies and home investigations are conducted, the Judge then determines if such adoption would be in the best interest of the children.
There are many other types of hearing involving Harris County children, but those ennumerated above are the most important.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I am running for this particular bench because Juvenile Law is what I loved doing for years and Juvenile Courft is where my heart is. I began practicing in the Juvenile Courts in 1973 as both an appointed and retained attorney representing the accused Juveniles, the abused children, and the parents in these cases.
I was appointed as a full-time Associate Judge in these Courts in 1991 and remained as a Judge in those courts until 2003 including 8 years in the 314th District Court. I have over 11 years as a Judge in these courts and would like to finish my career as a District Judge in the 314th.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
My qualifications include, 18+ years of private practice in the Juvenile Courts, and 16+ years serving as a full-time Judge which include 5 years in my current position as Presiding Associate Judge in a Harris County IV-D Child Support Court and most importantly 11+ years as a full-time Associate Judge in Juvenile Courts. During my tenure in the Juvenile Courts I was rated by the Houston Bar Judicial Evaluations Poll four times, and I am proud to have received the highest “Outstanding” rating three times and the second highest “Outstanding” rating once for all the Juvenile Judges in Harris County. My two ratings in the same poll for my current Judicial position have resulted in one highest “Outstanding” rating and one second highest “Outstanding” rating for all the IV-D Court Judges in Harris County. I am proud of my record as a Judge and feel that I perform a quality service for the citizens of Harris County.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is important because Harris County deserves a Juvenile Judge with knowledge of the law, the most experience as an attorney and judge, empathy with litigants, and a love of the involvement with these types of cases.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
The people of Harris County should vote for me because I am ethical, honest, experienced, and have the highest credentials for anyone running for ANY Juvenile Court in Harris County. I am a proven Jurist with an outstanding record in the field.
Your support would be greatly appreciated.