(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. Much more information about Democratic primary candidates, including links to the interviews and judicial Q&As, can be found on Erik Manning’s spreadsheet.
1. Who are you and what are you running for?
My name is Herbert Alexander Sanchez, I am 37 years old, a husband, and a father to 3 children ages 4 to 19 years old. I am the son of Silvana and Oscar, two hard working people, who taught me the value of hard work, service, and dedication. I am a small business co-founder on the East Side of Harris County and an elected School Board Trustee. I believe that being a public servant requires an unshakeable conviction in the principles of equality and justice for all. There is no greater calling than to be of service to others by diligently working for the greater good of our communities by building coalitions and building up individuals through effective interventions when they are introduced to the justice system. These interventions must aid citizens to be productive members of society. I am currently running for the office of Harris County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Place 2.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
The Harris County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Place 2 court hears civil cases that rise to $20,000 in argument. The Justice Court hears Class C misdemeanor criminal cases, traffic cases, and landlord/ tenant disagreements. The JP Judge may preside over driver’s license suspension, revocation, or denial hearings, occupational licensing hearings, and gun license revocation, denial, or suspension hearings. The Justice of the Peace also performs marriage ceremonies, may conduct hearings relating to tow and storage of vehicles, and may conduct inquests. The JP Court has a JP Liaison who assists with offenses that include juvenile truancy.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I am running for this bench because I feel that I am the most qualified candidate. I understand the issues our community faces on a daily basis. Being a father to 3 young children, a husband, and a son to elderly parents, I long for a safe and prosperous community. Presently, our community is experiencing high levels of crime and poverty. I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental impacts of inequality in public services. I believe in building bridges instead of walls, providing a hand up not a handout, and closing the gap between the public and the officials who serve them. For many citizens, the Justice of the Peace Court is their first experience with the justice system, and it must be an experience that ensures the best possible outcomes for the citizens of Precinct 3 and Harris County.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
In order to have a strong, vibrant community, it is imperative that the Harris County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Place 2 be a highly qualified individual. As a member of this community, a business owner, and public official, I have worked hand in hand with our local law enforcement, local organizations, community leaders, and directly with our community members on a daily basis, allowing me to understand the needs in our area and better understand areas of neglect.
Serving as an elected Galena Park ISD Board Trustee has also provided me with crucial insights regarding the direct impact living in an underserved community has on our children and their future. It is clear that our community deserves servant leaders who have the competencies and clear understanding of the needs of our community. I possess the qualifications, skills, and abilities that the office of the Justice of the Peace requires. My educational attainments, business experience, and community involvement have prepared me to best serve our community. I have earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration In Homeland Security and Disaster Management from Sam Houston State University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice Cum Laude from Texas Southern University and an Associate’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Science from San Jacinto College. I am also actively pursuing a Law Degree. I have served in in law enforcement capacities from Police Intern Trainee, 911 Dispatch, Jail Deputy, and finally Patrol Deputy. All of these experiences have given me invaluable insight into the criminal justice system.
5. Why is this race important?
As a youth growing up in an impoverished area, I too experienced the feelings of frustration and helplessness as a result of imbalanced public services in our communities. People living in these situations often feel as though public servants are working against them rather than for them. This race is important because the Justice of the Peace Court can be the first and final experience within the justice system by promoting firmness, fairness, and compassion to strengthen citizens and deter them from a life of self-defeating, community-damaging poor choices. It is crucial that JP Judges implement sensible and lawful avenues of serving justice to serve the people. Effective interventions at this level can help prevent a citizen’s progression to the higher criminal court system, and help maintain safety and strength in our communities.
6. Why should people vote for you in March?
A Justice of the Peace Judge must be prepared for the various challenges our community faces, must understand our community’s needs, and must respond to these needs through the implementation of programs aimed at building bridges instead of walls through accountability, deterrence, and rehabilitation. I understand the needs of our community. I have fought and continue to fight for a safe and more resilient community. I have the qualifications and the desire to change our community in a more positive way. The status quo serves no justice and is a revolving door that leads to higher levels within the justice system. Your vote in March will ensure firmness, fairness, and compassion, with equal justice for all.