(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?
I am running for the 215th Civil District Court, Harris County, Texas
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
Harris County District Courts have jurisdiction of civil matters involving an amount in controversy of more than $500,exclusive of interest. They do not hear any criminal, family-law, or probate matters.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I personally believe that the circumstances of Judge Palmer’s election to this bench were reprehensible. Vendettas and misleading attack ads against a sitting judge do a terrible disservice to the public.
Since Judge Palmer has been on the bench, the HBA bar poll numbers have not been favorable. In particular, Judge Palmer has been rated mostly poor in these categories: (1) following the law; (2) ruling decisively and timely; (3) demonstrating impartiality; (4) using attorneys’ time efficiently; and (5) working hard and being prepared.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I am a summa cum laude graduate of South Texas College of Law. I have 35 years of experience as trial and appellate counsel in state and federal courts. In particular, I have tried approximately 20 cases to a verdict and have assisted at trial in as many cases and I have handled, or assisted in handling, at least 75 appeals or original proceedings. I have represented individuals and corporations and clients on both sides of the docket.
I am board certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I have been a Texas Super Lawyer since 2005. I am rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, which is a testament to the fact that my peers rank me at the highest level of professional excellence. I also am a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a member of the State Bar of Texas.
5. Why is this race important?
This race is important because the public needs to know that honesty and integrity can be restored to a bench that was won as a result of improper vendettas and attack ads and that, since that time, has not had the confidence of the lawyers in Houston.
6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?
Because I am the most qualified person running for this bench. In 35 years of practice, I have pretty much “seen it all.” I have the confidence to do what judges are charged with doing: following the law and ruling fairly and impartially.
I also come from humble beginnings (first person in my family to go to college, worked my way through college and law school) and I have never lost that quality. I am a hard worker and I will continue to work hard if elected.