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Judicial Q&A: William Thursland

(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 my 2010 Election page for a full list of Q&As and interviews.)

1. Who are you and what are you running for?

I’m Bill Thursland and I’m running as a democratic candidate for the 315th Juvenile District Court.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This court hears two types of cases. The first are juvenile delinquency cases which run the gamut from class B misdemeanors to capital murders. The second type are CPS cases which deal with abused and/or neglected children.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

As a juvenile court judge I believe I can make a positive difference in the lives of the children and teenagers that appear before me. After practicing law for the last 28 years and having become a father for the first time 6 years ago, I believe I have the experience and temperament to serve as a juvenile court judge.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I’ve been a practicing trial attorney in Harris County for over 27 years. I have handled both civil and criminal cases. For the last seven years, a large part of my practice has dealt with cases heard in the juvenile courts. I am classified as an A attorney under the plan adopted by the juvenile court judges pursuant to the Fair Defense Act which means that I am qualified to handle all levels of delinquency cases including capital murders and appeals.

In regard to CPS cases, I have represented children, parents and intervenors (typically the grandparents) in well over 100 cases. In addition, I have represented parents in at least eight CPS appeals.

5. Why is this race important?

The office I am seeking deals with the well being of children and parental rights. Therefore, it is not only important for the individuals involved in a particular court case but also for society at large.

Most of the litigants are indigent and many suffer from various emotional and psychological disorders. A large percentage only speak spanish. The judge of a juvenile court not only needs to bring legal qualifications to the bench but also the sensitivity gained from representing many people from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. As the father of two small children (6 & 4) this race is also very important. I realize the tremendous effect a judge’s decision can have on families.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

I am the more qualified candidate based on my extensive and varied litigation experience. I am the only candidate who has actually litigated cases in the juvenile courts.

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One Comment

  1. Carol Wheeler says:

    I just read that between 2005 & 2008 that you gave $318,994 to juvenille judges.
    How do you support this practice? And will it continue if you are elected judge?

    Top money earners…William Thursland
    Amount paid for cases…$318,994
    Source: Houston Chronicle : Sun 04/20/2008