Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 10 (Democrat)

Two criminal defense attorneys are facing off against each other in the Democratic primary to see who will challenge long-time Republican incumbent (and one of my favorite judges on the bench today) Judge Sherman Ross in November.

Grant Hardeway and Lori Chambers Gray are both regulars at the CJC, and I dealt with both of them during my career as a prosecutor. I never tried a case against either of them, and neither of them have a campaign website listed with the Harris County Democratic Party as of this writing.

I know Grant better than I know Lori, and he has always been very nice to me. However, I'm not sure that everyone has had the same positive experiences with him that I have. I can't really speak to his legal ability or trial presence because I've never seen him in trial.

The same applies with Lori. In my dealings with her, she has always been very sweet, almost to the point of seeming shy. But I've never seen her in trial.

I like both candidates very much on a personal level and have nothing negative to say about them.

I just don't have enough information about them to make a call on who would be the better candidate.

Friday, January 29, 2010

An Interesting Article

I was shocked, saddened and engrossed this morning reading Paige Hewitt's article in the Chronicle today on the tragic murder of Terri Sanvicente at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Jason Bouchard. The article is unusual because the source of the information comes from none other than the defendant, Jason Bouchard himself.

The callousness with which he provided Hewitt with the details of the murder are nothing short of horrifying. Not only does he admit to committing this inexcusable act of domestic violence in front of their three children (not to mention putting his children at risk of death by setting fire to the house), but he provides a large amount of testimony that could be very damning evidence of future dangerousness and lack of mitigation should the State decide to seek the death penalty.

Normally, I don't comment on criminal cases that are pending, but after a round-table discussion this morning with some folks, it brought up some interesting questions about how the Lykos Administration might potentially be handling this case.

Specifically, what are the prosecutors handling the case against Bouchard going to be able to gain from his ill-advised conversation with the media?

As I mentioned last year, Press-Pandering-Patsy Lykos was all over making sure to lend her support to the so-called Media Shield Law. So what happens if a prosecutor who may or may not be trying to decide whether to seek the death penalty on Jason Bouchard wants to see the notes and letters that Bouchard provided to Paige Hewitt?

Seems to me like Ms. Hewitt might get a chance to invoke the old Media Shield law if she so chooses. I don't know that the Media Shield Law will apply directly in this case, but I'm willing to bet that we'll find out if the D.A.'s Office decides to send the Chronicle a subpoena. I mean, we all know that Jeff Cohen ain't a big fan of the death penalty, so I can't imagine that information being turned over easily.

And thanks to Pat Lykos and others who supported the Media Shield Law, Cohen and Company has a tool to fight with.

But, of course, that also depends on whether or not Lykos even ALLOWS her prosecutors to try to get the letters from Hewitt in the first place. Last year, a memo came out from the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight that no prosecutor was to issue a subpoena to the media without getting the blessing of the Queen, herself. Apparently, Lykos wanted her minions to know that the prosecution of criminal cases had better not annoy any of her media buddies.

I said it before and I'll say it again -- Pat Lykos puts media perception way above the rights or interests of victims of violent crime.

It was only a matter of time before it bit her in the ass.

I'm hoping it isn't at the expense of Justice and Terri Sanvicente.

The Race for County Court at Law # 9 (Democrat)

For our next contested primary, we jump from Court Four all the way to Court #9, where Democratic candidates Juanita Barner and Silvia Pubchara-Munoz are facing off to see who will run against Republican Incumbent Judge Analia Wilkerson.

Although I know both Juanita and Silvia from work, I can't say that I've ever tried a case agaist either of them, nor have I ever seen them in trial.

I have no gripes or concerns about either of the candidates from a professional standpoint, but I have to say that I always enjoyed working with Juanita much more so than Silvia. Juanita is just so much more pleasant to deal with. My experiences with her have always been that she was candid and friendly about her cases.

Other than that, I don't have that much to add to this contest, but let me know your thoughts.

Fickman's Second Job

Congratulations to my dear friend, Robert Fickman, for his victory in trial this week.

With continued successes like this, he can finally give up his job as a part-time model.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 4 (Republican)

The race to replace retiring Judge Jim Anderson has three Republicans competing to see which one of them gets to face unopposed Democratic challenger Al Leal in November. The candidates run from one that I hear great things about to one that I'm feeling kind of blah about to one that I think the world might fall off its axis if she were to be elected.

Former Judge Janice Law is a very nice lady who has no business being a judge. Her behavior on the bench became so egregious that the Houston Press ran this article about her bizarre actions.

I was the chief in her court for several months back in 2002 and I was there when she came in third place in a primary where she was running as an incumbent. Although many of Judge Law's quirky actions were nothing more than amusing moments, some were very serious.

I can recall dealing with a female defendant who had been found incompetent to stand trial. The State acknowledged she was incompetent. The defense attorney knew she was incompetent. The evaluating doctor had declared she was incompetent with a likelihood to regain her competency. It should have been a simple resolution.

Except that the DEFENDANT decided to declare that she was competent.

This isn't an unusual phenomenon at all. Mentally ill defendants often times believe that they are the only sane ones in a courtroom. An uncontested hearing was to be held and a jury would find the defendant incompetent with a likelihood to regain before facing charges.

But on this particular case, for some reason, Judge Law thought that the Defendant's assertions of her competency called for a contested hearing where the Defense should be arguing for Competency while the State argued that she wasn't. In other words, Judge Law was ordering the defense attorney to proceed in a manner that was most definitely not in his client's best interest. She wouldn't listen to my arguments or the defense arguments to the contrary.

Luckily, we were able to ultimately resolve the case without the hearing being forced upon us, but any judge in their right mind should have known that what Law was doing was insanity.

Trust me on this one, guys. Janice Law does NOT need to be back on the bench.

Defense Attorney Jackie Gifford is also a very nice lady. She and her husband, Bill Gifford, have been fixtures at the courthouse for as long as I can remember. They are a cute couple and kind people. But, I'm not really sure that I see Jackie as a judge. Although she handles a lot of cases and is always pleasant, I don't recall ever seeing her in trial or doing all that much legal wrangling that was particularly astounding. I'm not saying anything negative about her, but I'm hard pressed to say anything that makes me think she is a particularly good choice for judge.

Former police officer and now attorney John Clinton is somebody that I've never met. That being said, it seems to me that I'm about the only person in the CJC who HASN'T met him. I keep hearing great things about him. I hear that he's a good lawyer, a great leader, and that he would make a great judge.

But, I can't offer that opinion from my own knowledge. You guys are welcome to comment in here (as always) on what you know, and hopefully I'll get a chance to meet him in the near future.

But in the meantime, whatever you do, please don't bring back Janice Law.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 3 (Democrat)

Um, I'm running behind on these little election posts. Luckily I have this one to speed things up a little bit.

Running to replace Don Jackson on the Democratic side of the race are Defense Attorney Judith Snively versus defense-attorney-who-runs-for-everything-but-dogcatcher-every-year-because-he-apparently-has-a-lot-of-leftover-campaign-signs-and-it-is-easier-than-running-an-ad-in-the-yellow-pages-even-though-he-is-under-felony-indictment, Lloyd Oliver.

Do I really need to weigh in on this one?

The Race for County Court at Law # 3 (Republican)

The race to replace Don Jackson for Judge of County Court at Law # 3 has a larger number of potential candidates than most other races with four candidates vying for the position just from the Republican side. I only know two of the candidates personally. I hear nice things about a third one. And I have no idea why the fourth one is running other than the fact that she really really likes being judge.

Cary Hart is a former Harris County prosecutor and current defense attorney. Joe Licata is a former prosecutor out of Florida and a long-time defense attorney. Natalie Flemming is a former prosecutor who used to do some visiting judge stints on the County Court circuit. Sharolyn Wood is a former CIVIL court judge who lost her bench in 2008 and is apparently some sort of Republican darling (which really irritates me with Republicans).

The Sharolyn Wood principle is probably what bugs me the most out of these partisan judicial elections. According to Mark Bennett's article that I linked to above, she held a Civil Bench since 1985 and lost it in 2008. Upon losing, she cited some sort of idea that incumbent judges were entitled to their positions and people shouldn't run against them. That's pretty offensive in my opinion.

Nonetheless, former-Judge Wood is looking to reclaim a bench (any bench) and has decided to move over into the criminal arena to find one. That's not a good idea. I tried a murder case one time in front of a visitng civil court judge. It was disastrous. Luckily, I did end up winning the case, but the trial took forever because we kept having to go locate sitting criminal court judges to come explain things to the visiting civil judge. It is apples and oranges when it comes to civil and criminal law. If the Republican Party doesn't realize this and they are putting their support behind Wood, they are sending a message that they don't give a crap about qualifications anymore (NOTE: see also, The Lykos Principle).

My buddy, Joe Licata, is a guy that I've known since very early on in my career at the D.A.'s Office when I was assigned to County Court at Law # 10. Joe did a lot of work in that court, and he couldn't have been any nicer to deal with. He's been practicing law for over 30 years and was a prosecutor in Florida in the early '80s. He has been in Texas for a couple of decades now and handles the fugitive docket detail in Judge Ross' court. He certainly has the qualifications and demeanor to be a good judge.

I don't know Natalie Flemming at all, but the people that I've talked to who do know her have nothing but nice things to say about her. She has a website up on Facebook, but I haven't figured out how to link to it here without putting up my own personal Facebook stuff (which I don't necessarily want to share with ALL of you!) As I noted above, she's a former prosecutor (up until 1994) before leaving HCDA. Her Facebook webpage lists that she worked as a visiting county court judge (which one can do without ever having been elected to be a judge). Her website doesn't mention what she has been doing lately and it doesn't say whether or not she has ever done any defense work.

In this race, however, my support goes to Cary Hart.

Cary was a Misdemeanor Chief prosecutor when I first started at the office, and her husband, Brad, was my first chief when I started. She was a prosecutor at the Harris County D.A.'s Office for 11 years and worked in the Misdemeanor Division, Felony Division, Justice of the Peace Division, Child Abuse, Juvenile, Special Crimes' Major Fraud, and the Asset Forfeiture Division. Since leaving the Office, she has been in business for herself and is a successful defense attorney. In addition to her defense work, she also serves part-time as a municipal prosecutor with the City of Humble, where she focuses on the juvenile docket.

Cary has lengthy jury trial experience, and in addition to that, she has the right demeanor to be a judge. She is one of the most even-tempered and kind hearted people that I know. She takes her job duties extremely seriously and will devote herself to doing the right thing and making the right decisions if elected judge.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 2 (Democrat)

I told Judge Bill Harmon today that I was pretty sure that he had the Republican Primary for County Court at Law # 2 handled since he was running unopposed as an incumbent. The Democratic side of the race, however, is contested with long-time criminal defense attorney Mary Connealy Acosta running against attorney Miles J. LeBlanc.

Again, I've got to admit some limitations on my knowledge of the race. I know Mary pretty well, but I'm not sure that I know Mr. LeBlanc.

Mary has been doing criminal work for as long as I have been around the courthouse. I never tried a case against her, but I have always regarded her as an intelligent, competent and highly ethical attorney in the way she does her job.

Miles J. LeBlanc's profile on the Texas Bar website indicates that he practices educational law and is currently employed by the City of Houston Independent School District. If he has any criminal law experience, I'm not aware of it.

As I've said before, if anybody wants to send me some information or websites for the candidates, I'll be glad to post it.

But based on the information I've got before me right now, Mary Acosta is clearly the better qualified candidate in the primary.

The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Last night, as I was tucking my 4-year-old son into bed, we had the following exchange:

LITTLE MAN: Daddy, when you're 35 that makes you a grown up.

ME: That's right.

LITTLE MAN: And when you are 36, you are a giant.

ME: Really? I'm 37. What does that make me?

LITTLE MAN: Fat.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 1 (Democrat)

Like the Republican side of the ballot for County Court at Law # 1, there are three candidates on the Democratic ballot vying to replace Judge Reagan Helm -- defense attorneys Beverly Melontree, Anthony Limitone, and Louis McWherter.

Unlike the Republican side of it, I don't have a lot of information on these three candidates. Out of the three candidates, I know Beverly the best, and she's a good friend of mine. I've never tried a case against her, but I've seen her handle herself in court and can attest to the fact that she is a very zealous advocate for her clients.

Anthony Limitone is also an attorney that I dealt with sporadically when I was at the District Attorney's Office, but it had been years and years since I dealt with him professionally. My recollections of him are that he was always pleasant and professional in the way that he handled his job.

Although I recognize the name Louis McWherter, I'm having a hard time placing a face with the name, so I don't know anything about him.

I've checked the internet and the Democratic Candidate web page for information and links for more information to the candidates pages, but I couldn't find anything. If anybody else can point me in the right direction on finding the information, I'll be glad to update this post.

Sorry this one doesn't have too much information, guys. If you guys have something to add, let me know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A True Legend Retires

I somehow missed when this was happening, but a true legend of the Harris County D.A.'s Office apparently retired at the end of 2009.

For those of you at the Office, you know, that, of course, I speak of none other than the legendary, Barbara "Pajama Momma" Eaglin, who had worked as a secretary in the Misdemeanor Division since most of the attorneys now there were in diapers.

Barbara managed to work in the same position for decades with no fashion or hairstyle that she would not try, and with no thought that entered her mind that she didn't share with you -- loudly. She wasn't afraid to tell off defense attorneys, prosecutors, supervisors, investigators, police officers, or any other person who called into the Office.

She is without a doubt one of the funniest human beings I have ever met in my entire life.

My favorite story that I personally experienced with Barbara was when I was the Chief of Court Five. My godfather, Jim, called the Office looking for me one rainy Wednesday afternoon. The conversation went something like this:

JIM: Is Murray in?

BARBARA: Nah. He ain't here.

JIM: Oh, that's right. It's Wednesday. I guess he left early for steak night.
[NOTE: Steak Night was a misdemeanor tradition when I was there where we went and ate steaks at Little Woodrow's on Wednesday nights.]

BARBARA: That ain't why he left! He left 'cause it's starting to rain and sh*t floats.

They just don't make 'em like Barbara anymore. I wish my favorite Pajama Momma well in her well deserved retirement.

Feel free to share your favorite Barbara stories here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Race for County Court at Law # 1 (Republican)

One of the major downsides to writing this blog comes around election time when I have multiple friends running for the same bench. I experienced it in 2008 in the 174th District Court race when we had Kevin Keating, John Jocher, Bill Moore, and Terrance Windham all running for the same bench, and all four of them were my friends. Not to mention that all four of them would have all made great judges.

So, the same phenomena is happening now with the Republican Primary election for County Court at Law # 1, which pits defense attorneys Peyton Peebles and Paula Goodhart and former-179th District Court Judge Mike Wilkinson against each other. All three candidates are people I like and respect, and all of them have the requisite intelligence and demeanor to be good judges.

The CCL # 1 bench is currently occupied by Judge Reagan Helm, who has decided not to seek re-election.

Former 179th Judge Mike Wilkinson spent many years on the bench before losing in November 2008 to Democrat Randy Roll. As I posted back then, I think Judge Wilkinson is one of those freakishly intelligent people who made a very good judge when he was on the bench. The problem with Judge Wilkinson was that he had erratic hours that left both defense attorneys and prosecutors complaining about his schedule. He is certainly capable of being the Judge of Court 1, but his hours are going to be his biggest drawback. Not too many prosecutors and defense attorneys are going to look too forward to returning to the days of backlogged dockets and the judge not arriving until after 10:30 every day.

Former-prosecutor and now defense attorney Paula Goodhart is also an extremely intelligent and capable candidate for CCL # 1. She was a prosecutor for many years, and finally left the office as a District Court Chief assigned to the Special Crimes Division. She has tried multiple serious and violent cases and she knows the law. She has been on the defense side now for about three or four years, and knows both perspectives.

Paula is a friend of mine, and her husband, Craig Goodhart, was my Division Chief at the Office. I consider them family friends, and I think that a lot of the criticism that she has gotten on the blog regarding her attempts to implement a flex time program at the D.A.'s Office are unfair and irrelevant to whether or not she would be a good judge. She tried to make more flexible hours for prosecutors that needed more time to accomodate their family schedules. Some people disagreed with it, and ultimately flex hours weren't implemented, but I hardly think she should be faulted for trying. It does NOT speak to her work ethic, and it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not she would make a good judge.

Paula had initially set out to run for County Court at Law # 4 and she had my whole-hearted support. Prior to the filing deadline, she switched to the CCL # 1 race. Personally, I wish she hadn't done so, because it put her running against Peyton Peebles.

Peyton Peebles announced that he would run for the bench long before any of the other candidates did, and also before Helm announced that he wouldn't be running again. If you ask me, it takes guts to run against a long-time sitting Republican judge. But Peyton has guts, and he believed that he would be a more effective judge than Helm, when he announced his candidacy.

I've known Peyton since I came to Harris County back in 1999. He had started at the Office a little bit before I had and he spent some time in and out of the Trial Bureau before going full time into the Appellate Division. For those of you who don't know how the Office works, the Appellate Division not only handles responding to cases that are appealed -- they also spend a large amount of time answering frantic phone calls from prosecutors in trial who had a legal issue pop up that needs resolving. The folks of Appellate, like Peyton, Eric Kugler, and Kevin Keating (amongst many others) were like Godsends for us trial attorneys who suddenly had to do some legal research. I can't even begin to count how many times Peyton bailed me out of a crack during trial once he was in Appellate.

Peyton left the District Attorney's Office several years ago and has spent that time doing criminal defense. He still spends the majority of the time doing appellate work and he keeps up on all of the current case law. Peyton's temperment, work ethic and knowledge of the law make him the ideal candidate out of the three running, in my opinion. I promised him my support when he first announced he was running, and I stand by that promise.

Peyton is a good man and would make a great judge.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lisa Wintory

I was sorry to learn this afternoon of the passing of Lisa Wintory, the wife of prosecutor Richard Wintory, and mother of their son, Michael. Information regarding funeral services can be found here.

All of our thoughts and prayers are with Richard, Michael, and Lisa's family during this difficult time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Terry Lowry & The Partisan Debacle

Another election year is upon us, and yet again, I find myself shaking my head at the potential havoc that is about to be wreaked in the criminal justice system. Since our legislators in Texas have still failed to remove the necessity behind having an "R" or a "D" next to judicial candidates running for the criminal courts, we are about to miss out on some good people either staying or attaining criminal benches.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- partisan politics have absolutely no place in criminal law. A criminal judge's view on abortion is never going to come into play in the job we elect them to do. They are there to make rulings on the law and occasionally decide the facts on a case by case basis.

None of those calls have anything to do with a Republican or Democrat Party platform.

Judge Harmon will never have the opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. Judge Fine won't shut down Guantanamo. Judge Fields isn't going to bring our troops home from Iraq. Judge Reagin isn't going to raise our taxes.

Their political beliefs don't affect their jobs anymore than it would if they were the county dog catcher.

I've always thought that it was ironic that the Houston Mayoral Election was (on its face) non-partisan, but criminal judicial elections weren't. It would seem to me that a voting Houstonian would have much more interest in knowing what political party their mayoral candidates were than their judicial ones.

The main problem with partisan politics coming into the criminal justice system is that it also brings in the influence of party stalwarts who otherwise would have nothing to do with the criminal justice system. For instance, you have Houston Socialite Carolyn Farb supporting Rachel Palmer for County Court Judge.

Um, how many of you have ever seen Carolyn Farb hanging out at the CJC?

In a case worse than the Farb/Palmer combination, you have people like Terry Lowry -- a Religious Right Activist who has proven himself to be the pimple on the butt of the Republican Party time and again. You may remember this dim-witted rodent from the 2008 political campaign. He was the one that Pat Lykos paid to support her in his National Enquirer-esque "LinkLetter", which is a publication he puts out in support of candidates who give him money. His petty game is to attempt to slander his candidate's opponent into submission.

My friend, Big Jolly, over at Lone Star Times has written several times about the unfortunate presence of Lowry in the political system, but yet you still find candidates who are so desperate to get their names in front of Republican voters that they go to him.

My position on dealing with candidates who go to Lowry is pretty simple -- if you want to lose my vote really quickly, get him to endorse you. I would strongly encourage anybody who is running for judge to stay away from him just for the sake of your own integrity.

I hope that any thinking voter that reads this would also vote against any Lowry candidate, as well.

In my opinion, each and every judge who takes the bench should have integrity, and going to a political snake oil salesman like Terry Lowry is pretty much screaming out that you lack it.

But, that's the problem with partisan politics being involved in criminal law. It spawns people like that.

Over the two years that I've run this blog, I've had several people suggest to me that I ought to start running advertisements on it and making some money. I'm all in favor of making money, but I've never wanted to turn the blog into a money-maker, because it would limit my ability to freely write my opinions.

I know that about half of you guys agree with me and the other half doesn't, but I guarantee you that you are getting my opinion unadulterated by somebody paying me.

For what that's worth.

I'll be starting up my coverage of the contested primary races shortly.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Finalized Field (Updated)

With yesterday's filing deadline for the 2010 Judicial Elections, we now know who all is running for what bench in the Harris County Courthouse. Some rather, um, interesting candidates are Lloyd Oliver (who is currently under felony indictment), former Civil Judge Sharolyn Wood (who has no criminal experience but apparently really really liked being a judge), and former-Judge Janice Law (you've got to read this article to get an idea of how that would be). Not to mention there are a whole host of candidates that I've never heard of in my life.

I'll be looking at the individual races as we move closer to the March primary, but for now here's an overview. (NOTE: For the official lists of Republican Candidates click here & for the official lists of Democratic candidates click here).

In the meantime, mark your calendar for March 2nd for the primary. Don't complain if you don't vote, and don't forget that Pat Lykos' greatest campaign strength was apathy.

So, here are the races:

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 1 -- Judge Reagan Helm is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidates:
Defense Attorney Peyton Z. Peebles
Defense Attorney Paula Goodhart
Former Judge Mike Wilkinson
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Beverly Melontree
Defense Attorney Louis McWherter
Defense Attorney Anthony Limitone

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 2
-Republican Candidates:
Incumbent Judge Bill Harmon
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Mary Connealy Acosta
Miles J. LeBlanc

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 3 -- Don Jackson is not seeking election
-Republican Candidates:
Defense Attorney Cary Hart
Former CIVIL Judge Sharolyn Wood
Defense Attorney Joe Licata
Natalie Flemming
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Judith Snively
Defense Attorney Lloyd Oliver

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 4 -- Judge Jim Anderson is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidates:
Attorney/Former HPD Officer John Clinton
Former Judge Janice Law (seriously, read this article)
Defense Attorney Jackie Gifford
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Al Leal

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 5
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Margaret Harris
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Alfred "Bud" Valdez

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 6
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Larry Standley
-Democratic Candidate:
Ft. Bend Assistant District Attorney Denise Spencer

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 7
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Pam Derbyshire
-Democratic Candidate:
Sheila Acosta

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 8
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Jay Karahan
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Eugene Newsome

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 9
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Analia Wilkerson
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Juanita Barner
Defense Attorney Silvia Pubchara-Munoz

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 10
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Sherman Ross
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Grant Hardeway
Defense Attorney Lori Chambers Gray

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 11
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Diane Bull
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Mark Diaz

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 12
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Robin Brown
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Robert Cardenas
Cheryl Harris-Diggs

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 13 -- Judge Mark Atkinson is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidates:
Assistant District Attorney Don Smyth
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Palmer
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Dennis Slate
John V. O'Sullivan

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 14
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Mike Fields
-Democratic Candidates:
Lee Harper Wilso

COUNTY COURT AT LAW # 15
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Jean Spradling Hughes
-Democratic Candidates:
Antonia Ingverson

180th DISTRICT COURT -- Judge Debbie Stricklin is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidates:
Assistant District Attorney Marc Brown
Defense Attorney Emily Munoz
Danny Dexter
-Democratic Candidates:
Defense Attorney Lori Gooch
Defense Attorney Darrell Jordan

182nd DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Jeannine Barr
-Democratic Candidate:
Brandon Dudley

183rd DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Vanessa Velasquez
-Democratic Candidate:
Michael Gomez

184th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Jan Krocker
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney/former Judge Jay W. Burnett

185th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Susan Brown
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Vivian King

208th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Denise Collins
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Loretta Muldrow Johnson

209th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Michael McSpadden
-Democratic Candidate:
Kathy Cheng

228th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate
Incumbent Judge Marc Carter
-Democratic Candidate
Defense Attorney Harris Wood

230th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate
Incumbent Judge Belinda Hill
-Democratic Candidate:
Assistant County Attorney Garland McInnis

232nd DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate
Incumbent Judge Mary Lou Keel
-Democratic Candidate
Defense Attorney Greg Glass

248th DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Joan Campbell
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Jim Sullivan
Defense Attorney Trent Gaither

262nd DISTRICT COURT -- Judge Mike Anderson is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidate:
Assistant District Attorney Denise Bradley (formerly Denise Nassar)
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Thomas Berg

263rd DISTRICT COURT
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Jim Wallace
-Democratic Candidate:
Defense Attorney Alvin Nunnery

313th DISTRICT COURT (JUVENILE) -- Judge Pat Shelton is not seeking re-election
-Republican Candidates:
Defense Attorney Glenn Devlin
Attorney Fred Wilson
-Democratic Candidates:
Marc Isenberg
Natalie Oakes
J. Anthony Referente

314th DISTRICT COURT (JUVENILE)
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge John Phillips
-Democratic Candidate:
David Longoria
John Stephen Liles

315th DISTRICT COURT (JUVENILE)
-Republican Candidate:
Incumbent Judge Mike Schneider
-Democratic Candidates:
Keith Branch
Bill Thursland

Happy (Belated) New Year!

Last year at New Year's, I posted that I had gone to Florida to make the damn year of 2008 end an hour earlier. It was a rough one.

This year, I headed out to West Texas to make 2009 last a little bit longer, because it was a hell of a lot better year than its predecessor. Apparently life as a Member of the Defense Bar agrees with me.

I realize that 2009 was not quite as a good of a year for some of my friends.

So, here's to hoping for a great 2010 for everybody involved.

Win, lose or draw, I'm sure it's going to be an interesting one.