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Judge, County Civil Court at Law No. 2

CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Theresa Chang (Rep) Judge, Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 2

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    Jim F. Kovach (Dem) Attorney

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    Stanley Santire (Dem) Trial Attorney & Mediator

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    Erin Swanson (Rep) Attorney at Law

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Biographical Information

What will you do to ensure that all parties involved in cases before the court will have an opportunity to have their interests adequately represented and considered?

What will you do to ensure that cases before your court are heard in a timely manner?

How will you ensure impartiality in your court given the current system of financing judicial campaigns, which allows donations from those who may later bring cases before your court?

Education/Degrees M.S. Cheminal Engineering, Texas A&M University System J.D. South Texas College of Law Houston
Professional Experience Experienced trial judge who has tried hundreds of bench trials and jury trials - 20 years in prosecuting or resolving civil suits. - Assistant County Attorney for 10 years & Division Chief at County Attorney’s Office - Harris County District Clerk
Community Involvement Chang has served on Commission for Lawyer Discipline Board of Directors, State Bar of Texas & Asian American Bar Assoc. Board of Regents, UH System President, Asian Chamber of Commerce President, Texas Executive Women Board, American Leadership Forum
Campaign Email Theresa@JudgeChang.com
Campaign Website http://JudgeChang.com
Campaign Phone (713) 526-3399
It is extremely important to me that the Constitution is guarded and individual rights are protected. I published local rules and court procedures on the court’s website and with the Houston Bar Association for the benefit of attorneys and general public, I grant continuance for the party to seek counsel or to respond to a dispositive motion, or for another trial date if good causes were found. I give ample time to the attorneys or the pro-se litigants to argue about their case to the jury or to the bench, but still keep the docket going for other cases.
To me, it is essential that the cases in Civil Court #2 are resolved in a fair and speedy fashion. I’m blessed to have an excellent team including court coordinator, court reporter, clerks and bailiff. My team is constantly watching our cases and moves them for various court settings to make sure the attorneys are diligently prosecuting or defending their cases with service and discovery. Since I took the bench in 2012, I and my staff have experienced different settings of the trials/motions to develop the current optimum operating system of County Civil Court #2. Now, our docket is set to maximize the usage of 5 working days, so the cases are tried either to the jury or to the bench as soon as they are ready to be tried. As a result, I have resolved 4000-5000 lawsuits each year and reduced the court docket by 45%.
I strive to be an impartial and fair Judge. I understand my decisions impact people and their lives. My rulings are made by following the law and interpreting the law as written, regardless whether the party or the attorney has financially contributed to my campaign or not. Accordingly, less than 1% of the cases resolved in my court went to appeal by either party. I am the best rated County Court at Law Judge in the most recently released Houston Bar Association Judicial Poll, in every category, including categories such as “follow the law,” “demonstrates impartiality,” “rules decisively and timely,” and “work hard and is prepared.”
Education/Degrees Kingwood High School Class of 1983. Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin - December 1986. Doctorate of Jurisprudence from University of Houston Law School - May 1991
Professional Experience I was licensed by the State Bar of Texas and the Southern Dist. of Texas Federal Court in 1991. I have practiced law in Houston, Texas for 26 years. I have been lead counsel on thousands of cases and I have successfully tried over 100 cases.
Community Involvement I am a member of the Rice Military Civic Club and former Board Member of the Crestwood Area Civic Club near Memorial Park. I am the former Board Chair of Legacy Community Health Services and The Montrose Clinic. Member of St. Anne's Catholic Church.
Campaign Email Jim@KovachforJudge.com
Campaign Website http://KovachforJudge.com
Campaign Phone (832) 654-9787
My goal is to make the Court available to people who cannot take off work and spend a whole morning driving downtown for minor procedural matters that could be handled more efficiently. I have practiced in the County Civil Courts at Law for 26 years, handled thousands of cases in this Court and seen the problems that prevent parties from having full access to the Courts. By working with the County Clerk and other Judges, we can improve access to the Court and make it efficient and user friendly.

First, I will require that the party requesting relief provide proof of notice to the other side before making any rulings.

Second, I will make rulings based on written motions when appropriate to eliminate the need for attorneys and parties to appear in the Courtroom on minor procedural matters.

Third, I will work with the County Clerk to implement a new hearing process for all lawyers and parties to appear remotely via Facetime, Skype or similar remote teleconference.
I will maintain an active docket status that requires updates on a monthly basis to make sure that all cases are moving toward entry of a final order. If the parties or lawyers want to keep the case open pending a settlement with a payment plan, but not enter a judgment which may harm the defendant’s credit score, I will move the case to a new “abatement status” just like I would do for cases put on hold because of a bankruptcy filing. These cases will be monitored quarterly and will be returned to the active docket or dismissed if the situation changes. I will work with the attorneys on both sides of the case to properly assign cases to the correct type of docket. Because I have handled thousands of cases in this court, I know that many lawyers like myself have been requesting this docket status.

Unfortunately, the current system does lend itself to the appearance of impropriety because lawyers are allowed to donate to judicial campaigns. I support reasonable restrictions on how lawyers and law firms donate to judicial candidates. I also support procedures to have cases re-assigned and/or judges recused as appropriate to avoid any favoritism by judges. By limiting the amount of money a lawyer or law firm can donate to a judicial candidate the Texas Ethics Commission has attempted to address this issue.
Education/Degrees University of Houston - BBA University of Texas School of Law - JD Columbia University - post graduate international law. Hague Academy of International Law - international law
Professional Experience Chief Legal Counsel - Lockheed Aircraft International (5 years) Trial lawyer (30 years) Mediator (20 years) Naval Officer (6 years)
Community Involvement Chair-Economic Development Committee-Gov. Ann Richards Administration. Volunteer mediator Harris County DRC. VP & Board Ft. Bend DRC President and Board member Houston National Employment Lawyers Assoc. Founder, Peer Inst., 501(c)(3) for Texas A&M
Campaign Email stanley@santire.com
Campaign Website http://santireforjudge.com
Campaign Phone (713) 787-0405
1. With all litigants and lawyers be compassionate, practical, and independent. 2. In every case be attentive, clear and fair in all proceedings.. 3. Analyze and administer each case without any political prejudices concerning facts and law. 4. Ensure that pro se litigants are given good direction as to procedures and receive respect for them and their case. 5. Demand that all lawyers appearing before the court show respect for court staff as well as all other persons in attendance. 6. Ensure that all litigants, both pro se and represented, fully understand the availability of mediation including no-cost mediation for cases.where claims are under $100,000.

1. Early status conference for all cases. 2. Develop a reasonable docket control plan for each case and Insist that lawyers and litigants adhere to it. 3. Clear discovery deadlines 4. Organize a conference of lawyers who frequently appear in this court to get feedback on possible steps to improve efficiency. 5. Require showing of conference between counsels before any disputed matter is heard such as discovery disputes with specification of what steps taken to resolve the matter. 6. Clear guidelines on scheduling and time limits on motion hearings.
1. Campaign funding is a necessary aspect of a realistic campaign. However, my integrity must be trusted to not allow donations to influence me in my findings, actions or behavior as a judge. 2. Will develop a list of competent mediators without regard to donations made to my campaign and not treat mediation appointments as award for donations. 3. Strive to make all appointments such as receiverships and mediators based on competence and integrity without regard to political affiliation.
Education/Degrees Juris Doctorate, South Texas College of Law Houston Certified Mediator, Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution Bachelor of Arts with Honors, History/Political Science with minors in Marketing & Spanish, LeTourneau University
Professional Experience Former Prosecutor at Harris County District Attorney's Office (tried many jury and bench trials) Director of Compliance at Harris County Clerk's Office General Counsel for Tech Startup Contract legal work Clerked at Office of the Attorney General
Community Involvement Association of Women Attorneys Volunteer at hurricane shelters, food bank, & church Served on several boards Serve as volunteer mock trial judge Houston Young Lawyers Assoc. Leadership Academy South Texas College of Law Young Alumni Council
Campaign Email Erin@ErinSwanson.com
Campaign Website http://www.ErinSwanson.com
Campaign Phone (281) 506-2112
I will follow the law and be fair and respectful to all parties in my court. I will return integrity and respect to the court. I will listen to everyone. I will give everyone an opportunity to be heard and then rule based on the law.

I will offer information on organizations that do pro bono work to those who cannot afford representation. I would like everyone to leave my court knowing the judge cared and that they were treated fairly.
I will grant trial settings and not allow attorneys and parties to delay without good cause. Citizens should not have to spend a fortune and years of their life to have their day in court. As the only candidate in this race with extensive trial experience, I will be happy to let parties go to trial when needed. This clears the docket and expedites the process for citizens who deserve their day in court. I will also initiate an expedited docket for parties/attorneys with a brief matter in the court to get in and out quickly, rather than wait hours, costing clients money and clogging the courts. As a former prosecutor with hundreds of cases at a time, I am used to handling a large docket and making decisions.
I will rule based on the law, not based on who donated money. I am running for this court because I want to return integrity and the rule of law to the court. I am running a grassroots campaign, getting friends and neighbors to make small donations, rather than seeking out large donations from law firms that practice in there. I will serve all of Harris County and am accountable to the voters and taxpayers. I am passionate about people being treated fairly. When I worked as a prosecutor, sometimes I sought tough punishments, and other times I dismissed cases because someone was unfairly accused. That was the right thing to do. I will bring that experience, integrity, and judgment to the bench.