(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?
Tanner Garth. I am a candidate for the 234th Civil District Court.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The Civil District Courts have a very broad jurisdiction. They basically hear all cases other than family law, probate, juvenile and criminal cases.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I have been very fortunate in my law practice and I feel very strongly the desire to give back to the system that has given me so much. I am passionate about the law and the critical right we all have to have our disputes resolved in an orderly and fair process by a jury. I have watched our system of justice come under attack by those who seek to manipulate the system to protect or insulate themselves from responsibility for their actions. I want to fight to protect our constitutionally guaranteed right to trial by jury and feel that I can best do so from within the system. I believe that our Trial Court Judges are in place in large part to protect the rights of those who come before them. I have the background, experience and understanding to insure that all have a fair and impartial hearing of their cases.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I received my undergraduate degree in History from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1979. In college I was a member of the Student Senate, a resident assistant and both the pledge class and fraternity President of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. I received my J.D. from South Texas College of Law in 1987. I excelled in law school where I was a member of The South Texas Law Review, The Order of the Lytae for legal scholarship, The Order of the Barristers for excellence in courtroom advocacy, principal advocate on the National Mock Trial Team and I graduated Cum Laude near the top of my class. I immediately took and passed the Bar Exam and began my legal practice.
In my career I have had the opportunity and privilege to represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of cases in varied forums. The types of cases I have handled and tried to conclusion include: divorce and child custody, personal injury (for both plaintiff and defendant), commercial disputes, insurance coverage, oil and gas, whistleblower, libel and slander, mass torts, mass nuisance, construction defect and mass construction defect, product liability, environmental contamination, drug and nursing home and both medical and legal malpractice and many others. This experience has been gained throughout Texas in both Federal and State Courts. I am Board Certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I am a member of the State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association, Houston Trial Lawyers Association (director), Texas Trial Lawyers Association (director), and the American Association of Justice. I am very proud to have been recognized by my peers by being selected to be a member of The American Board of Trial Advocates. I was an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law teaching trial skills for three years. My practice has been balanced and successful. I will take that excellence and experience to the Bench.
5. Why is this race important?
All of the judicial races are important. Citizens come to these courts to protect their rights, property and even their families and future. The Judges that sit on these benches must have the background and capability to fairly preside over these matters which, to the participants, are often of “life and death” importance. We must elect judges that can step in to these vital roles immediately, command the respect of the attorneys and parties who come before them and be prepared from day one.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
I am the only candidate in this race with the necessary life experience and career background to excel as a representative of the Democratic Party on the bench. Becoming a Judge is not a last minute whim or a career fallback. For me, it is a long time goal and one I have prepared myself for through my education, experience and career. I have worked hard and will continue to work hard to be a source of pride to the party and a champion of the party’s principals and goals. I am a lifelong Democrat and have given of freely of myself to support the party and its members. Our success in 2008 was in large part due to the coordinated campaign effort which I supported then and continue to support in this race. I have already received many important endorsements including: Rodney Ellis, Mario Gallegos, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez, Armando Walle, Wanda Adams, Jolanda “Jo” Jones, Melissa Noriega, Rick Noriega, Chris Bell, C. O. Bradford, Gayle Fallon, Dean Corgey, Joe Jaworski, Sherrie Matula, Joel Redmond, numerous precinct chairs and many others. For more detail on my background, qualifications and supporters please see my website at: www.tannergarthforjudge.com.