Continuing with my program of Q&As with local judicial candidates, today I bring you Chuck Silverman:
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
I am Chuck Silverman, a 46 year old native Texan and I'm running for judge of the 189th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas. I have enjoyed practicing civil litigation as an attorney at law in Harris County for over 19 years. I have been married to my wife, Liz for 19 years and we have 3 children - a 14 year old son, an 11 year old daughter, and a 3 year old son. Also included in our family are cats, a dog, frogs, and fish.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
This court tries civil actions where the amount in controversy exceeds $200.
3. What are your qualifications for this job?
After receiving my B.A., M.B.A. and law degree from Tulane University I began my legal career in Houston, Texas in 1986. I have actively represented litigants in federal and state trial and appellate courts since then. In addition to my litigation practice, I represent clients in administrative hearings and alternative dispute resolution forums throughout Texas. As a result of my practice I have a solid understanding of the rules of civil procedure and evidence and I have extensive knowledge of judicial practices and procedures.
Based on my experience I am of the opinion that a judge must be an effective administrator and a fair-minded decision maker. I am confident that I can be both. I have a solid understanding of the rules of civil procedure and evidence and will be able to effectively conduct judicial hearings and trials. Also, I am an effective manager. Throughout my career, I have had managerial responsibilities. Early on, I was responsible for managing other attorneys, paralegals and staff. I understand and have a firm grasp of management and the responsibility associated with supervisory positions. I am confident that I can competently and efficiently manage court personnel and an active docket.
4. Why do you believe you would do a better job than the incumbent?
My hard work ethic, calm demeanor, impartiality, courtroom experience and knowledge of the law make me a superior candidate. In the 5 years preceding my opponent's appointment to the bench he represented just nine (9) parties in Harris County district court. On the other hand, in the last 5 years, I have represented parties in over fifty-five (55) Harris County district court cases. Additionally, I have a good judicial temperament, would be fair to lawyers and litigants and have a good depth of legal knowledge. Finally, if elected, I will be the only Democrat on the civil court bench. In such position, I will be able to foster judicial independence and will bring a sense of fairness and impartiality to the bench. I will not be influenced by personal interest or relationships or external political pressures.
5. Why is this race one we should care about?
The 189th Civil District Court has been dominated by the Republican Party since 1992. In fact, a Democrat has not been elected to a Harris County civil district court bench for over 16 years. I believe there is an inherent problem with a one party court system. Because judges should be nonpartisan, it is important that the legal system be well-balanced and provide the foundation for the civil liberties and freedoms enjoyed by the citizens of our state and country. It should be free from the influence of money and special interests. Unfortunately, our legal system has become a target for those who fear its independence. These attacks have weakened our legal system and have resulted in the loss of civil liberties and the encroachment of government into our homes and personal lives. It is time to elect judges who are neither subservient nor willing to pander to politicians or special interests at the expense of the citizens. As a judge, I will work hard to be apolitical and protect and preserve the rights and civil liberties guaranteed to everyone by the United States and Texas Constitutions.
6. What else do we need to know?
I am an avid outdoorsman and enjoy camping, hunting and fishing. As a youth growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas I was involved in numerous activities, including the Boy Scouts and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. At Tulane University, while working towards my degrees, I participated in school activities, including serving as vice-president of the student government. I also took part in all things New Orleans - music, food, and fun - and even married a Louisianan. We still enjoy eating crawfish, oysters, and gumbo. Currently, I am an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 993 in Houston, I participate in neighborhood committees, and I take a very active interest in my children's schools and activities. During my spare time, you can usually find me in the company of my wife and kids, reading a good book, following the stock market, or taking a walk outside.
(Note: This is the correct URL for the 189th District Court, but none of the District Court links are working as I type this. I presume it will be fixed at some point.)