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Jimmie Brown

Endorsement watch: The judges

After a couple of Republican endorsements, the Chron gives us a slate of judicial candidates for the Democratic primary in the district courts. A brief summary:

Singhal in Democratic primary for 1st Court of Appeals, Place 3

We recommend Dinesh Singhal, 52, who has tried more than 25 cases and handled 19 appeals.

Hootman in Democratic primary for 1st Court of Appeals, Place 5

We recommend Tim Hootman, 57, an experienced appellate lawyer who is known for having an atypical legal approach.

Robinson in Democratic primary for chief of the 14th Court of Appeals

We recommend Jane Robinson, 46, who is board certified in civil appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Kronzer in Democratic primary for 14th Court of Appeals Place 7

We recommend Wally Kronzer, 65, who has extensive appellate court experience in state and federal courts.

Weiman in Democratic primary for 80th Harris County District Court

We recommend incumbent Larry Weiman, 64, who has been on this bench since 2008.

Harvey in the Democratic primary for the 164th Harris County District Court

We recommend Grant J. Harvey, 55, who is a highly regarded litigator who has participated in numerous trials and appeals.

Daic in the Democratic primary for the 165th Harris County District Court

We recommend Megan Daic, 34, for a court that needs a more efficient and decisive judge.

Acklin in the Democratic Primary for the 176th Harris County District Court

We recommend Bryan Acklin, 34, who is a former prosecutor and is now a criminal defense attorney.

Martinez in the Democratic Primary for the 179th Harris County District Court

We recommend Ana Martinez, 39, who gained a sterling reputation as a human trafficking prosecutor before she became a defense attorney.

Moore in the Democratic Primary for the 333th Harris County District Court

We recommend incumbent Daryl Moore, 58, who may be the most respected incumbent running in Harris County.

Kirkland in the Democratic Primary for the 334th Harris County District Court

We recommend incumbent Steven Kirkland, 59, who has been on this bench since 2016 and served on another civil bench and a municipal bench before that.

Gaido in the Democratic Primary for the 337th Harris County District Court

We recommend Colleen Gaido, 39, who is a respected former prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney.

Bell in the Democratic Primary for the 339TH Harris County District Courts

We recommend Te’iva Bell, 39, who has served in the felony courts from three perspectives – as a prosecutor, a criminal defense attorney and a public defender. H

Powell in the Democratic Primary for the 351th Harris County District Court

We recommend incumbent George Powell, 54, who was elected to this bench in 2016.

Phillips in the Democratic Primary for the 507th Harris County District Court

We recommend C.C. “Sonny” Phillips, 59, who has been practicing family law, and occasionally appellate law, for 34 years.

They did actually say more about the candidates they recommend, and they noted who else was on the ballot. Go read all that for yourself. As noted, Weiman, Moore, Kirkland, and Powell are incumbents, while Harvey (Alex Smoots-Thomas), Daic (Ursula Hall), Acklin (Nikita Harmon), Martinez (Randy Roll), and Phillips (Julia Maldonado) are running against incumbents. Here are the Q&A’s I’ve run from candidates in these races:

Tim Hootman, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 5
Jane Robinson, Chief Justice, 14th Court of Appeals
Wally Kronzer, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7

Grant Harvey, 164th Civil Court
Megan Daic, 165th Civil Court
Bryan Acklin, 176th Criminal Court
Ana Martinez, 179th Criminal Court
Judge Steven Kirkland, 334th Civil Court

Q&A’s from candidates not endorsed by the Chron:

Tamika Craft, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
V.R. “Velda” Faulkner, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
Lennon Wright, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7

Cheryl Elliott Thornton, 164th Civil Court
Jimmie Brown, 165th Civil Court
Judge Randy Roll, 179th Criminal Court
Judge Julia Maldonado, 507th Family Court
Robert Morales, 507th Family Court

Q&A responses from Natalia Cornelio (351st Criminal Court) and Cheri Thomas (14th Court of Appeals, Place 7) are in the queue and will be published in the next couple of days. The Chron will do endorsements for the Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals separately, and will not be endorsing in the County Court, Justice of the Peace, and Constable races. That’s one way to get through this long list of candidates and races in a (mostly) timely fashion.

One last thing: As is often the case with these judicial endorsements, I agree with some and not so much with others. The one that surprises me is the endorsement of Judge Powell. After the big deal the Chron made about not endorsing any judge or judicial candidate who didn’t support bail reform in 2018, it’s a bit jarring to see no mention at all of that subject in this context.

Judicial Q&A: Jimmie L.J. Brown, Jr.

(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.)

Jimmie L.J. Brown, Jr

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

My name is Jimmie L. J. Brown, Jr.

I am an African-American Male. I am an attorney, licensed since Nov. 2, 1984.
I graduated from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University June 1984.
I was born October 14, 1957.
My parents were Jimmie L. Brown, Sr., father/deceased and Mary L. Richard, mother/deceased.
I am and elder and the Assistant Pastor, Harvest Time Church of God In Christ, I am running for the position of Judge, 165th Judicial District Court, Harris County.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The Texas district courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction.

The district court has exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases, cases involving title to land, and election contest cases. It shares jurisdiction with the county courts, and in some case justice of the peace courts, for civil cases (its lowest limit for hearing a case is a mere $200 in controversy, while JP courts can hear cases up to $10,000). Family law jurisdiction varies depending on the existence of a county court-at-law; in some counties, the district courts share jurisdiction over divorces, child custody and support matters, adoptions and child welfare cases with county courts at law. Probate jurisdiction varies, depending on the existence of a statutory probate court in the county. In some larger counties, such as Harris County, the district courts are specialized, with designated sets of courts hearing criminal cases, juvenile cases, family matters, and non-family civil cases. In the smaller counties, a single district court handles all types of cases. In rural areas, as many as five counties share a single district court; urban counties.

Government Code, Chapter 24. District Courts
Sec. 24.112. 11TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT (HARRIS COUNTY).
(a) The 11th Judicial District is composed of Harris County.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (g), the provisions of this section apply to the 11th, 55th, 61st, 80th, 113th, 125th, 127th, 129th, 133rd, 151st, 152nd, 157th, 164th, and 165th judicial districts.
(c) Repealed by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1082 (H.B. 3481), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2017.
(d) In all suits, actions, or proceedings in the district courts, it is sufficient for the address or designation to be “District Court of Harris County.”
(e) The judge of each district court shall sign the minutes of each court term not later than the 30th day after the end of the term and shall also sign the minutes at the end of each volume of the minutes. Each judge sitting in the court shall sign the minutes of the proceedings that were held before him. (f) The judge of each district court may take the same vacation as the other district court judges of Harris County at any time during the year. During the judge’s vacation, the court term remains open, and the judge of any other district court may hold court during the judge’s vacation. The judges of the district courts shall, by agreement among themselves, take their vacations alternately so that there are at all times at least six district court judges in the county.
(g) Subsection (h) applies to the 11th, 55th, 61st, 80th, 113th, 125th, 127th, 129th, 133rd, 151st, 152nd, 157th, 164th, 165th, 189th, 190th, 215th, 234th, 269th, 270th, 280th, 281st, 295th, 333rd, and 334th judicial districts.
(h) The judges of the district courts listed in Subsection (g) by agreement shall designate one of the listed district courts as the domestic violence district court for Harris County. In designating the domestic violence district court, the judges shall give preference to a district court:
(1) that has a judicial vacancy at the time of the agreement; or
(2) for which the sitting judge of the district court has not at the time of the agreement announced a candidacy or become a candidate in the upcoming election for that judicial office.
(i) Subject to any jurisdictional limitations, the district court designated under Subsection (h) as the domestic violence district court shall give preference to domestic violence cases, including cases involving:
(1) dating violence, as defined by Section 71.0021, Family Code; and
(2) family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code.
(j) For the purposes of determining the preference the designated domestic violence district court is required to give cases under Subsection (i):
(1) a domestic violence case means:
(A) an original application for a protective order under Title 4, Family Code;
(B) an original application for a protective order under Title 4, Family Code, that involves both parties and is filed concurrently with an original petition under the Family Code; and
(C) any matter involving custody of a minor child if one parent is alleged to have caused the death of another parent and there is a history of domestic violence in the parents’ relationship; and
(2) subject to judicial discretion and resources, the designated domestic violence district court may also hear divorce and custody cases in which:
(A) a court has made an affirmative finding of family violence involving both parties; or
(B) a protective order has been issued under Title 4, Family Code, involving both parties.
(k) The designated domestic violence district court shall:
(1) provide timely and efficient access to emergency protective orders and other court remedies for persons the court determines are victims of domestic violence;
(2) integrate victims’ services for persons the court determines are victims of domestic violence who have a case before the court; and
(3) promote an informed and consistent court response to domestic violence cases to lessen the number of misdemeanors, felonies, and fatalities related to domestic violence in Harris County.
(l) The Harris County district clerk shall create a form and establish procedures to transfer a domestic violence case that qualifies for preference under this section to the domestic violence district court.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

The Incumbent Judge is not doing the job. I believe I can do the job and certainly do the job better than the present incumbent. I have been a Summary Court Martials Judge – three times, a military conscientious objector hearings officer for not less than 25 hearings and an administrative law judge – Texas Railroad Commission, Transportation Section (prior to deregulation).

I have practiced law for 35 years. I have tried cases, both criminal and civil, conducted discovery, filed and argued motions, familiar with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure/Civil Practice and Remedies Code/Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and filed appeals – State and Federal. I have argued appeals before the 1st and 14th Court of Appeals (State), and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals (Federal).

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

See Paragraph 3 above.

5. Why is this race important?

I am not certain what is meant by important. I believe it is a factor and is a positive or negative. For me a positive. It lends a perspective and insight of the judicial system – access, bias, impartiality and partiality, that will shape me as a judge. I believe it allows me to have a perspective on the impact of the role of the law, trial, the process and as a judge as seen from a person and a people who have come to value the need of the courts and the law.

Quoting Cesar Chavez: “History will judge societies and governments and their institutions, not by how big they are or how well they serve the rich and the powerful, but by how effectively they respond to the needs of the poor and the helpless.”

Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”

Quoting Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

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

One of the many reasons people should vote for me is that I’m the BEST candidate for the job of Judge for the 165th Judicial District Court. Not that I am perfect, nor that I have been perfect. Not that I have not made mistake. Not that I will not, but that I am human and strive to do what is right and to follow the law as best as I can and to – when the situation requires – deviate from the law to see justice/equity done.

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.” ― Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws

After-deadline filing review: Courts

Let’s return to the wonderful world of scoping out our candidates. Today we will concentrate on judicial races. Previous entries in this series are for the greater Houston area, Congress, state races, and the Lege.

Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals

I’ve actually covered all of these races, and given bits of info about the candidates, here and here. Go read those posts for the details, and here as a reminder are the candidates’ names and Facebook pages:

Supreme Court, Position 1 (Chief Justice) – Amy Clark Meachum
Supreme Court, Position 1 (Chief Justice) – Jerry Zimmerer

Supreme Court, Position 6 – Brandy Voss
Supreme Court, Position 6 – Staci Williams

Supreme Court, Position 7 – Kathy Cheng
Supreme Court, Position 7 – Lawrence Praeger

Supreme Court, Position 8 – Gisela Triana
Supreme Court, Position 8 – Peter Kelly

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 – William Demond
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 – Elizabeth Frizell
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 – Dan Wood

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 – Brandon Birmingham

Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 – Tina Yoo Clinton
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 – Steve Miears

First and 14th Courts of Appeals

Covered to some extent here, but there has been some subsequent activity, so let’s get up to date.

Veronica Rivas-Molloy – 1st Court of Appeals, Place 3
Dinesh Singhal – 1st Court of Appeals, Place 3
Jim Sharp – 1st Court of Appeals, Place 3

Rivas-Molloy and Singhal were mentioned previously. Jim Sharp is the same Jim Sharp that won in 2008 and lost in 2014.

Amparo Guerra – 1st Court of Appeals, Place 5
Tim Hootman – 1st Court of Appeals, Place 5

Both candidates were also previously mentioned. This is the seat now vacated by Laura Carter Higley.

Jane Robinson – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 1, Chief Justice
Jim Evans – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 1, Chief Justice

Jane Robinson has been mentioned previously. Jim Evans was a candidate for Family Court in 2014, and was appointed as an associate judge on the 507th Family Court in 2017, making him the first openly gay family court judge in Texas. He doesn’t have a campaign presence yet as far as I can tell.

Wally Kronzer – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
Tamika Craft – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
Cheri Thomas – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
V.R. Faulkner – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
Dominic Merino – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7
Lennon Wright – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 7

Not sure why this court has attracted so many contestants, but here we are. Kronzer was the only candidate I knew of in that previous post; Cheri Thomas came along a bit later, and the others were all later in the filing period. Texas Judges can tell you some more about the ones that don’t have any campaign presence.

Harris County District Courts

The following lucky duckies have no opponents in the primary or the November general election:

Kristin Hawkins (11th Civil)
Kyle Carter (125th Civil)
Mike Englehart (151st Civil
Robert Schaffer (152nd Civil)
Hazel Jones (174th Criminal)
Kelli Johnson (178th Criminal)
Ramona Franklin (338th Criminal)

The next time you see them, congratulate them on their re-election. The following almost-as-lucky duckies are in a contested primary for the 337th Criminal Court, with the winner of the primary having no opponent in November:

Brennen Dunn, who had been in the primary for the 185th Criminal Court in 2018; see his Q&A here.
Colleen Gaido.
Veronica Sanders.
David Vuong
John A. Clark, whom I cannot positively identify. I hope everyone sends in Q&A responses, but I’m not voting for any candidate I can’t identify. I hope you’ll join me in that.

The following do not have a primary opponent, but do have a November opponent:

Fredericka Phillips (61st Civil).
RK Sandill (127th Civil), who in 2018 was a candidate for the Supreme Court.
Michael Gomez (129th Civil).
Jaclanel McFarland (133rd Civil)
Elaine Palmer (215th Civil).

Natalia Cornelio is currently unopposed in the primary for the 351st Criminal Court following the rejection of incumbent Judge George Powell’s application. That may change pending the outcome of Powell’s litigation in the matter.

The following races are contested in both March and November:

Larry Weiman (80th Civil, incumbent).
Jeralynn Manor (80th Civil).

Alexandra Smoots-Thomas (164th Civil, incumbent). Formerly Smoots-Hogan, now dealing with legal issues of her own.
Cheryl Elliott Thornton (164th Civil), who has run for Justice of the Peace and County Civil Court at Law in the past.
Grant Harvey (164th Civil).

Ursula Hall (165th Civil, incumbent).
Megan Daic (165th Civil).
Jimmie L. Brown, Jr. (165th Civil).

Nikita Harmon (176th Criminal, incumbent).
Bryan Acklin (176th Criminal).

Randy Roll (179th Criminal, incumbent).
Ana Martinez (179th Criminal).

Daryl Moore (333rd Civil, Incumbent).
Brittanye Morris (333rd Civil).

Steven Kirkland (334th Civil, incumbent). It’s not a Democratic primary without someone challenging Steve Kirkland.
Dawn Rogers (334th Civil).

Te’iva Bell (339th Criminal).
Candance White (339th Criminal).
Dennis Powell (339th Criminal), whom I cannot positively identify.
Lourdes Rodriguez (339th Criminal), whom I also cannot positively identify.

Julia Maldonado (507th Family, incumbent).
Robert Morales (507th Family).
CC “Sonny” Phillips (507th Family).

That about covers it. I should do a separate entry for JPs and Constables, and I did promise a Fort Bend entry. So there will likely be some more of this.

UPDATE: I missed Robert Johnson, the incumbent Judge of the 177th Criminal District Court (the court that now has Ken Paxton’s trial), in the first go-round. Johnson had an opponent file for the primary, but that application was subsequently rejected. He has no November opponent, so you can add him to the list of people who have been re-elected.