Continuing with my series of Q&As with local judicial candidates, today I bring you Leora T. Kahn.
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
I am Leora T. Kahn, the Democratic Candidate for Justice, Fourteenth Court of Appeals, Place 6. I am running in ten counties, including Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Waller, and Washington.
2. What kinds of cases does this Court hear?
The Fourteenth Court of Appeals hears the appeals of both civil and criminal cases from county and district courts in the ten counties above. The appeals from the county and district courts include, for example, DWI, serious felonies, child custody, divorce, probate, and personal injury, to name just a few.
3. What are your qualifications for this position?
I have been a trial and appellate attorney in the area of criminal law for approximately 15 years. Since my admission to the Texas State Bar, I have tried many cases before juries and have authored numerous appellate briefs, including five death penalty appeals. I have presented oral arguments before both Texas Courts of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, respectively. I have been admitted to practice in all courts of the State, the Federal Southern District of Texas, the Fifth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
My experience as both a trial and appellate attorney has provided me with a firm grasp and understanding of the rules and procedures of trials and appeals.
4. Why are you the better candidate for this position?
I bring with my candidacy for the bench, years of experience as a lawyer, community volunteer and counselor, medical social worker, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, hospital worker and clerk. I bring to this position a unique understanding of the impact of the Court of Appeals' decisions on the lives of the people before it as well as the community-at-large. I have always loved the law and the practice of law. This passion has manifested itself into a desire to become a justice.
My background has enabled me to develop a vision for the future of the Court of Appeals as a "safety net" for all people. Thus, I will work to ensure unfettered access to the Court for all. Additionally, as justice, I will restore the independence of the judicial branch.
5. Why is this race one we should care about?
The decisions made by the justices on the Courts of Appeals impact everyone! Their interpretations of laws affect each of us directly or indirectly by telling each of us what we must do or refrain from doing in our business, educational, social, familial and professional lives. Appellate court decisions shape every facet of life in Texas as we know it. For example, personal privacy including the ability of individuals to make personal life choices; quality of goods and products and the duty of sellers and service providers to guarantee their products and services; rights of citizens to be free from unlawful searches, seizures and interrogations; duty of parents to protect and care for children; access to public education and polling booths; duty of hospitals to care for the critically ill; duty of landlords to ensure the safety of residents.
Texas needs justices who will ensure unfettered access to the courts, fair and impartial review of issues and causes on appeal, honest interpretation and application of the law, and independence to act as the safety net for all citizens.
6. What else do we need to know?
I serve on the Boards of the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation - Race for the Cure, Houston; the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region; and Congregation Beth Israel (Board of Trustees). I am an active member and supporter of R.O.A.D. Women (River Oaks Area Democrats), Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Jewish Federation of Houston, Hadassah Medical Hospital and Research Foundation, National Council of Jewish Women, and I am a sustaining member of the Harris County Democratic Party.
I graduated with honors from South Texas College of Law, Houston, and served as Note and Comment Editor of the Law Review. I am a member of the Houston and Texas State Bar Associations, Texas Democratic Lawyers, Texas Women Lawyers, Texas Trial Lawyers, Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.