Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Judge, County Court-at-Law No. 7

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    Ruben Morales
    (Dem)

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Biographical Information

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.

Campaign Phone (915) 204-1880
Twitter @rubenforjudge
Education/Degrees BBA 1989 UT Austin, JD 1992 UT Austin
Professional Experience Self Employed 1992 to 1994, El Paso County Public Defender 1994 to 1997, self employed 1997 to present.
Community Involvement 15 year old daughter's extracurricular activities to include speech and debate, math competitions and orchestra. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, El Paso Better Business Bureau, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, El Paso Westside Democrats, Paso Del Norte Tejano Democrats, Black El Paso Democrats, El Paso Eastside Democrats, El Paso Northeast Democrats,
A judge should have extensive trial experience and should know the law. The ideal judge would have the skills of a trial lawyer and the knowledge of an appellate lawyer. It is rare to find a lawyer with both. I have both. I have tried over 100 jury trials and authored over 200 appellate briefs.
The election of judges to the bench that do not have enough trial experience. Judges preside over trials and contested matters. The decisions that a judge makes potentially affect people for the rest of their life. Judges should not be learning how to try a case on the bench. There should be a minimum number of trials required in order to become a judge and candidates for judge should be required to pass a proficiency test.
Some kind of merit based appointment system is probably the best way. Although, as with any method of selecting judges, the selection process will always be somewhat politicized.
Currently, a wheel based system is used to appoint attorneys in El Paso. I would continue to use this system but I would appoint experienced co-counsel for cases that required trials. Just like a defendant should not be subjected to a judge that is learning on the job, a defendant should not be represented at trial, by an attorney that does not know how to try a case. I would use both private attorneys and the Public Defenders Office. How often I used the Public Defenders Office would depend on the caliber of attorneys working at the PD and the caliber of private attorneys taking appointments. If both were good, then I would divide appointments equally. If one was better than the other then I would lean towards appointing more attorneys from the section of attorneys with more experience.