(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. These Q&As are primarily intended for candidates who were not in contested primaries. You can see those earlier Q&As, as well as all the ones in this series and all my recorded interviews for this cycle, on my 2010 Elections page.)
1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
I am Sherri Cothrun and I am running for election as Judge of the 246th Family District Court.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The 246th Family District Court has jurisdiction over matters including divorces, division of marital property, child custody, adoptions, paternity, termination of parental rights, cases involving Children’s Protective Services as well as enforcement proceedings relating to child support and possession (visitation) orders.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I will bring a more contemporary perspective to this court that reflects my greater understanding of the realities the families of Harris County are facing in today’s world. This includes the reality that the poor and middle classes are not receiving the legal assistance they need to pursue their family law cases. This is an equal access to justice issue that affects both self represented litigants and those who have legal counsel.
Issues relating to step and blended families are increasingly prominent at the Family Law Center and I believe, as a step mother for the last 13 years, I have unique insight into the complex dynamics of these relationships that will be beneficial as a Judge.
I have a greater understanding and practical experience with the technology of today and will move the court into the 21st century with electronic filing capabilities and a comprehensive court website with forms and tutorials to address the increasing number of self representing litigants and increase the access to justice for all before the court.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I have litigated, mediated and arbitrated family law cases in Harris County for 29 years. I am a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and the Gulf Coast Family Specialists.
5. Why is this race important?
The Judges in family courts decide the most basic personal issues of family life: where your children live; the financial obligations of each parent in raising the children and the division of your property accumulated during the marriage, just to name a few. The families of Harris County deserve judges who know and will follow the law and will consider the individual facts and circumstances of each family. With a national divorce rate of approximately 50%, these may be the courts that will affect the most people and, most importantly, our children. I encourage all voters to become informed and take the time to research the candidates by checking their campaign web sites (www.cothruforjudge.com) and attending upcoming events at which they can meet the judicial candidates in person.
6. Why should people vote for you?
The families of Harris County need a judge who is familiar with the technology of today, understands the issues of step and blended families and the growing problem of equal access to the courts and who is committed to a diverse and multilingual staff which will reflect the diversity of our county and will improve the trust and confidence in our judicial system. I will be that Judge.