(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.)
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
My name is Nikita V. Harmon and I’m a candidate for the 176th Criminal District Court in Harris County, Texas. I’ve been an attorney for 25 years. For the past 15 years I’ve been an Associate Judge for the City of Houston presiding over Class ‘C’ violations including but not limited to city ordinance violations and property forfeiture hearings. I’ve presided over thousands of bench and jury trials and I’ve executed blood and search warrants.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The 176th Criminal Court is a felony court. Hearing all felony cases first, second and third degree, including state jail felonies and up to capital felonies.
3. Why are running for this particular bench?
I’m running for this position because I believe our judiciary system needs improving, so that citizens can have confidence in our court system. Justice should not be based on races, gender or economic status. Everyone should be on a level playing field.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
As a municipal court judge for over 14 years, I’ve presided over hundreds of bench and jury trials and performed the judicial functions of the Municipal Court. Also, preside over arraignments, conduct property forfeiture hearings as required. Determine punishments and fines, execute blood warrants, search warrants, writs of capias, and other processes necessary to administer the power of the Court. Consult with citizens, lawyers and other involved parties regarding cases before the Court. Attend required seminars given by the State of Texas for Municipal Court Judges, to perform such other duties as may be required by law or ordinance to enforce state law and municipal ordinances by presiding over the City’s Municipal Court.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is important because the city of Houston is a very diverse city and we need diversity on our benches. We need Judges that will enhance our criminal justice system by adhering to fundamental principles, to which I’ve aligned myself, which are providing fairness and equality under the law, extending due process to all participants and respecting the rights of the victims as well as the accused.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
People should vote for me because I support equality under the law for all citizens, regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation. With 15 years of judicial experience, I am confident in my abilities as a jurist and I know I can make a difference in our criminal justice system.