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Judicial Q&A: Kyle Carter

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates.)

Kyle Carter

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

My name is Kyle Carter, and I am running for Chief Justice of the 14th Court of Appeals.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This Court hears appeals from the criminal, civil, family, and juvenile courts of Harris County, and all appeals out of state district courts in the counties of Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Waller and Washington.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I am running for this bench because I want to help people. The 14th Court of Appeals hears cases from the District Courts in the ten-county region. The Court’s decisions shape the policy that affects the everyday lives of Texans. I have chosen the Chief Justice position on the 14th Court of Appeals because it is a leadership position. The Chief Justice hears appeals and writes opinions along with the other members of the Court, but also manages the Court’s budgetary matters. I believe that I would bring a different perspective to the Court of Appeals. I have served as a trial judge for the past five years, and I can bring that experience with me to the Court. Additionally, all current members of the 14th Court of Appeals are Republican. My election would add balance to the Court and offer a different set of ideas when dealing with legal and policy issues.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have served as judge of the 125th District Court in Harris County since my election in 2008. During my time on the bench, I have made it a rule that everyone who enters the 125th District Court is treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.

In five years on the bench, I have handled over 7,000 cases and conducted over 180 bench and jury trials. Additionally, I have been honored by my colleagues to serve as chair to the Civil Court Committee on Special Dockets, as well as Secretary to the Civil Court Board of Judges.

I have also conducted numerous speaking engagements across the State of Texas, as well as to out of state audiences. I have spoken on a range of legal topics to the State Bar of Texas, the American Association for Justice and the Houston Trial Lawyers Association.

Most importantly, I am deeply committed to community service and outreach, and actively participate in numerous charitable organizations. I am most proud to work with students, and enjoy speaking at schools and educating youth on a host of different topics from government and civics to career opportunities. To that end, I have founded an organization called Judges At Work in Schools, which visits local schools and educates students about the judicial system, career opportunities, and the importance of higher education.

Prior to taking the bench, I served as a trial lawyer with the Carter Law Firm for over 8 years, working on cases with a variety of subject matters including commercial litigation, transactional law, corporate formalities and business development, securities litigation, personal injury and corporate compliance.

Additionally, I am honored to have served as general counsel to the Legislative Committee on General Investigating and Ethics for two sessions, as well as the Legislative Committee on Urban Affairs.

5. Why is this race important?

This race is important because the members of this Court determine the policy that affects the lives of all Texans. This race presents a great opportunity to elect a Chief Justice who brings a fresh perspective on issues. I believe in following the Constitution, protecting Texas families, and individual property rights. We need a Chief Justice that will work for all people.

6. Why should people vote for you in November?

I am the best person for this position because of my judicial philosophy to follow the law, and treat everyone who comes before me with dignity and respect. Additionally, I am the only candidate with any experience having served as a trial judge. Finally, I am a dedicated public servant who believes in community service.

As a current trial judge I work hard to ensure that all who come before me are treated fairly, and I am committed to making justice available to everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and importantly, financial means. A judge should recognize that those with the most financial means often have better access to counsel and an ability to bear the expense of litigation. As a result, I have always maintained a fair courtroom where justice is available to all citizens regardless of financial means.

I want Texas to be the best possible place to live, work, and raise a family, and our judicial system is vitally important in making that a reality. As a husband, father, lawyer, and judge, I am aware of the many issues that affect everyday Texans, and I want to ensure that the system is fair to all. In conclusion, I believe that my experience, judicial philosophy, and commitment to fairness make me the best person for the position of Chief Justice of the 14th Court of Appeals.

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