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District Judge, 113th Judicial District

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    Rabeea Collier (Dem) Managing Partner, The Sultan Law Firm

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    Cooke Kelsey (Dem) Attorney

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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?

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?

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

Education/Degrees J.D., Thurgood Marshall School of Law; B.A., University of Texas at Austin
Professional Experience I have been practicing law for 11 years, unlike my opponent who has been practicing for 3 years. Through my work, I have effectively represented individuals, non-profits, and small and large corporations in courthouses across Harris County.
Community Involvement I have served on the board of the Association of Women Attorneys, Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association and numerous small business boards. For over a decade, I've mentored young men and women interested in the legal profession.
Campaign Phone (713) 940-0663
Twitter @RabeeaCollier
Trials are about giving the parties an opportunity to present their case to a community of their peers. As judge, I am committed to ensure that everyone gets their fair day in court. I plan to be well-versed in the parties' arguments and facts to a degree that will inspire confidence and competence. I will ensure that all parties have sufficient time to present their case and are treated with respect and dignity, free from prejudice and bias.
It is important to me that litigants that may come before me are confident that they are getting a fair and unbiased judge to preside over their proceeding. The American Bar Association, in their guidance, has noted that the fact that a lawyer in a proceeding, or a litigant, contributed to a judge's campaign does not in of itself disqualify a judge. However, the size of the contributions, the degree of involvement, timing of donation, the issues involved, and other factors may raise questions as to the judges' impartiality. In light of this guidance and my strong belief in avoiding the appearance of impropriety, I intend to recuse myself in these instances as the circumstances warrant.
At any given time a Harris County district court manages a trial docket of approximately 1,400 - 1,800 cases. For this reason, it is critically important that Harris County elects a candidate that has jury trial experience to ensure cases are heard in a timely manner. I am the only candidate in the Democratic Primary for the 113th Civil District Court that has tried a case to a jury to verdict in district court. In fact, I have tried cases to verdict as an attorney for both, plaintiffs and defendants. As such, I have a balanced perspective and the experience on day one to get a case ready for trial.
Education/Degrees Bachelors Degree, University of Texas at Austin, 1999 Law Degree, University of Texas School of Law
Professional Experience I am a litigator focused on complex civil disputes. During & after law school, I worked in federal & state courts, managing 200+ cases and drafting opinions, Prior, I spent a decade in the nonprofit world advocating for education and equality.
Community Involvement I have helped launch two nonprofit education organizations and currently am on Scenic Houston's board. For years, I worked as a homeless and refugee services coordinator and led a hurricane relief team. I have also been a volunteer music teacher.
Campaign Email cooke@kelseyforjudge.com
Campaign Website http://kelseyforjudge.com
Campaign Phone (832) 341-6001
Fairness and impartiality are essential qualities for a judge. Judges must give every litigant their day in court, listen fully to each side, and apply the law fairly. Civil courts, however, are inaccessible to many litigants due to high costs, long delays, and language barriers. As a judge I would insist on unrepresented parties being immediately referred to adequate counsel and implement long-ignored recommendations from the office of court administration for improving court efficiency and fairness. Having worked in three courts managing large dockets, I know we can do better. Access to justice is a constitutional right, regardless of one's background or financial resources.
The current system of financing and electing judges is less than ideal. My campaign contributors in this race are primarily friends and family, rather than attorneys who might practice before me. Judicial candidates have to comply with the contribution limits and required disclosures set out in the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act, and I certainly will do so. Ultimately the system must change, although I'm not sure a closed-door appointment or patronage system is the best answer. I believe judges should be held accountable to informed voters and not simply those who give them campaign contributions.
As a litigator, I am often frustrated by the slow pace at which cases proceed through the civil justice system. It costs the parties too much money and delays resolution of disputes. As a judge, I will work to ensure that cases proceed through the system as smoothly and timely as possible.