(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?
Tim Riley, running for 14th Court of Appeals, Place 9.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
Intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases appealed from district or county courts.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
Because I have become extremely disappointed with the one-sided direction of the Texas appellate courts. Currently the 14th Court of Appeals consists entirely of Republican jurists, most originally appointed by Gov. Bush or Gov. Perry. While they presumably are all adequately qualified and well-meaning, these judges have markedly similar judicial philosophies and leanings. By way of illustration, dissenting opinions in this court are rare, under 5%, meaning that the justices agree on every issue presented to them more than 95% of the time. This lock-step group mentality leaves little room for meaningful discussion and serious consideration of opposing views, a very unhealthy situation for the advancement of justice.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Texas. Top 5% 1983 cum laude graduate of UH Law School. Board-Certified Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Adjunct Professor of Law – Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Former Adjunct Professor of Law – University of Houston Law Center 2001-2007. A-V peer-rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Named by Texas Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Texas for 2010 (to be published Oct. 2010.) Recognized as one of “Houston’s Top Lawyers for the People” by H-Texas Magazine 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, and as one of “Houston’s Top Lawyers” in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Elected to American Board of Trial Advocates. Tried in excess of 50 jury trials, representing both sides of the bar in a wide variety of civil cases. Admitted to practice appellate law before the United States Supreme Court, United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all Texas appellate courts. Lead counsel in dozens of published appellate cases, federal and state. Numerous cases argued orally to appellate courts, including Texas Supreme Court, United States 5th Court of Appeals, and Texas state appellate courts.
5. Why is this race important?
Because the courts of appeals principally decide the most important legal issues in Texas.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
To create a more balanced court, which will lead to better-reasoned and supported opinions.