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Judicial Q&A: Joshua Verde

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. 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. You can see all of my interviews as well as finance reports and other information on candidates on my 2016 Election page.)

Joshua Verde

Joshua Verde

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

My name is Joshua A. Verde (please call me Josh) and I am a Democrat running for District Court Judge for the 215th Civil District Court. I am a trial attorney focusing primarily on corporate and employment cases, although my law firm handles many types of cases including family and criminal defense.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

Civil district courts are the primary trial courts in Texas. Accordingly, a diverse range of cases are heard in the civil district courts – from breach of contract cases, to negligence cases (car crashes & other accidents), to the very obscure (petitions to relocate a cemetery, for example) – district courts see (almost) everything. Civil district courts in Harris County do not handle family or criminal cases which are reserved for other courts.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I have always been drawn to public service. Serving as judge in the 215th civil district court will allow me to bring my community commitment to the bench. While in law school, I had the opportunity to clerk in another district court, the 165th. This gave me insight into the inner workings of the district courts from the initial filing of suits through trial, judgment and even appeal. Litigation is a very complicated and often lengthy process on which the courts have a very significant impact. An organized court that is focused on the needs of litigants, their attorneys, and the jurors can make a huge difference in both the cost and burden of litigation. I am committed to bringing that focus to the 215th district court. If I am elected, those who appear before court will be treated with respect, given ample time to put on their cases, and will be assured of unbiased, fair, and prompt rulings that follow the law. I am also very interested in maintaining a modern court which will involve working closely with the district clerk to ensure the best use of technology in the courtroom.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

My legal experience is wide-ranging. I’ve been the general counsel for Houston-based energy company and during that tenure saw the company through a comprehensive debt restructuring and ultimately a multi-million dollar sale of assets. In my law practice I’ve handled a variety of cases involving employment discrimination, contracts, business disputes, personal injury, and civil rights. I practice in both state and federal courts here in Harris County and in the surrounding counties. I am a member of the Harris County Democratic Lawyers’ Association, the Houston Bar Association, and the Houston Trial Lawyers Association. I am very proud of my 100% client satisfaction rating from those clients choosing to rate me online. Most importantly, I am proud of my work in support of Democratic principles including my effort last summer to ensure the (Republican) Harris County clerk issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the landmark Supreme Court ruling. Aside from legal experience, I believe my most significant qualification for this job is a commitment to bringing integrity, respect, and professionalism to the bench.

5. Why is this race important?

Every voter should take the time to get to know the judicial candidates. Many important issues in Harris County take a trip through the district courts at some point. Some recent examples include the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), the dispute surrounding the Ashby high-rise, and the recent ballot measure modifying term limits for Houston elected officials. Who we elect has a direct impact on matters that are of vital importance to the community.

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

Democratic primary voters have the opportunity in this election to bring integrity and the commitment to justice to the 215th Civil District Court. This is a crowded race with four candidates to choose from, but I stand apart from the crowd with breadth of experience and dedication to Democratic Party principles.

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