Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 5
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What training, experience and characteristics qualify you for this position?
What do you see as the most critical administration of justice issue facing the courts? How would you address this issue?
What method of selecting judges do you feel best ensures an independent judiciary?
How would you select attorneys to represent indigent defendants in your court? Please discuss selecting attorneys from the Public Defenders Office vs the selection of private attorneys.
Texas Tech School of Law - J.D. '91
McMurry University - B.A. Psychology '88
Bel Air High School - '88
El Paso Legal Assistance Society '91-'98
El Paso County Attorney's Office '98-'07
Associate Family Law Judge '07-Present
Boy Scouts of America - Assistant Scout Master '07-Present
San Antonio Church Choir '91 - '04
County Court at Law Number Five will be a family law court as of January 1, 2019. I have twenty-one years of experience in family law, with the last eleven years as an associate family law judge. I am a fair and ethical judge and received the Outstanding Judge of the Year Award in 2015-2016.
The biggest obstacle we face, specifically with the family law courts in El Paso, is the ability to handle such a large caseload with the current number of judges we have on hand. The Office of Court Administration indicated that with the number of cases handled in El Paso, we should have at least ten courts. We are currently at 8.5. We will remain understaffed even with the additional court. I believe that the majority of the backlog problem will be solved with the addition of this court.
I would have a selection panel of nine individuals to choose all judges. The judge would serve for a year and then the electorate would vote to retain the judge for an additional three year term. If the judge were to be voted down by the electorate, the selection process starts anew.
I believe having the Public Defenders Office represent indigent defendants works fine but we need to staff the office properly. The problem in most Public Defenders offices is not the quality of attorney but the fact they are usually understaffed both with the number of attorneys and the number of secretaries/paralegals assigned to the caseloads. The system can work by appointing private attorneys but we must make sure we have a system in place that will protect against voucher abuse. I realize most attorneys can be trusted to turn in proper paperwork but we should lesson the possibility of temptation. I would appoint the Public Defenders Office to half the cases and private attorneys to the other half.
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