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Judicial Q&A: Chuck Silverman

(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 am Chuck Silverman, a 49 year old native Texan and I’m running for judge of the 157th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas. I have enjoyed practicing civil litigation as an attorney at law in Harris County for over 23 years. I have been married to my wife, Liz for 22 years and we have 3 children – an 18 year old son, a 15 year old daughter, and a 7 year old son. Also included in our family are several dogs and cats. I have actively supported democratic clubs, organizations and candidates, I have always voted in democratic primaries and I have been a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party for many years. For more information please visit www.Chuck4Judge.com

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This court hears civil actions such as constitutional issues, breach of contract claims, employment disputes, real estate matters, personal injury and death and insurance disputes. This court does not hear matters involving family law, probate, juvenile and criminal cases.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I am passionate about the law and how it should be applied equally and fairly to all, regardless of race, religion or financial situation. I ran for judge in 2006, at a time when it was almost impossible to find anyone willing to admit they were a democrat, much less make a commitment to run for public office. In 2006 the court system was dominated by the Republican Party. In fact, a Democrat hadn’t been elected county wide in over 14 years. I was disgusted with the abuse of civil rights and liberties that occurred during this period. I wanted to make a change, try to make a difference, fight back. So I ran and almost won. At the time, my race was the closest civil court race in over a decade. I still believe that the judiciary needs to be changed to more accurately reflect our society’s values so I’m running again.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

After receiving my B.A., M.B.A. and law degree from Tulane University I began my legal career in Houston, Texas in 1986. I actively represented hundreds of litigants in federal and state trial and appellate courts for 20 years. I have been involved in over 284 cases filed in Harris County Civil District Court. In addition to my litigation experience, I represented clients in administrative hearings and alternative dispute resolution forums throughout Texas. As a result of my extensive trial practice I have a solid understanding of the rules of civil procedure and evidence and I have extensive knowledge of judicial practices and procedures.

For the last 3 years I have been the General Counsel for the largest cookware manufacturing company in the US. In addition to managing litigation throughout the country I also oversee corporate governance of domestic and international subsidiaries, administer contracts and financial and legal issues including employment, intellectual property, real estate, equipment and material lease and finance, and customer safety.

I believe that a judge must be an effective administrator and a fair-minded decision maker. I am confident that I can be both. I have a solid understanding of the rules of civil procedure and evidence and will be able to effectively conduct judicial hearings and trials. Also, I have a broad range of legal experience which will serve me well as a district court judge.

5. Why is this race important?

The 157th Civil District Court has been dominated by the Republican Party for many years. It is important that the legal system be well-balanced and provide the foundation for the civil liberties and freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of our state and country. Courts should be free from the influence of money and special interests. Unfortunately, our legal system has become a target for those who fear its independence. These attacks have weakened our legal system and have resulted in the loss of civil liberties and the encroachment of government into our homes and personal lives. It is time to elect judges who are neither subservient nor willing to pander to politicians or special interests at the expense of the citizens. As a judge, I will work hard to be apolitical and protect and preserve the rights and civil liberties guaranteed to everyone by the United States and Texas Constitutions.

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

My hard work ethic, calm demeanor, impartiality, courtroom experience and knowledge of the law make me a superior candidate. I have 23 years of legal experience to my opponent’s 13. I have been involved in 284 civil court cases in Harris County; my opponent has been involved in just 4 civil court cases. I have many published appellate court decisions, my opponent has none. Additionally, I have a good judicial temperament, would be fair to lawyers and litigants and have the extensive depth of legal knowledge required for a successful candidate.

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