University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas ~ Juris Doctorate, May 2005. Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois ~ Bachelor of Science in Speech, June 2000
Civil Litigation. In the last 11+ years, I have practiced in real estate law, employment law, contracts law, wills and trusts, probate law, insurance, and personal injury. I have mostly represented individuals and families.
Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association, Cultural Arts Board of Bellaire, Bellaire Young Mothers, Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Houston Bar Association, Houston Durga Bari Society.
I will take every action available to me to ensure that all litigants have their voices heard in my court, regardless of their background, race, income level, or education. Equal access to the courts is of fundamental importance. I would work to create a system in my court to inform litigants who may need representation, but may not be able to afford it, about lawyers who take cases pro bono. I would also appoint attorneys ad litem and guardians ad litem to any parties who require such assistance, provide translation services, and work to increase diversity in the jury system to ensure that everyone is welcome at the courthouse. I will be fair and equitable and treat everyone who enters my courtroom with dignity and respect. I believe appearing at the courthouse as a juror or as a litigant should be part of civic engagement and I look forward to educating the citizens of Harris County about how they can be a part of the civil justice system and continue to improve it.
In our system, being a candidate must be differentiated from sitting on the bench. I believe part of my responsibility as a judge is to even the playing field between the parties and ensure that every litigant has the opportunity to make their case at every stage of litigation. Doing so will ensure impartiality and a fair outcome. As a jurist, my education, the depth and breadth of my legal experience, work ethic, and my ability to consider all points of view, will allow me to ensure that all litigants have their day in court.
It will be paramount to adhere to timelines set by the court and communicate efficiently with litigants. It will also be helpful to simplify the assignment of trials, some of which can be done via telephone or e-mail rather than calling a large docket of cases to the court and using an inordinate amount of time to communicate as a group rather than on a case-by-case basis. These procedures will be set out in writing and available on the court's website. Flexibility will also be key, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey while the courts are sharing space. Finally, open communication between the court's staff and the litigants will resolve many of the issues that lead to delays.
SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW, Houston, Texas, JD May 2003; THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, Austin, B.A. May 2000
Experienced trial attorney and former public servant; Founder Sepolio Law; Harris County District Attorney's Office; Law offices of Fanaff, Hoagland, Clark & Gonzales.
Texas Bar Association Grievance Committee Panel; Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee; National Organization for Women; Hispanic Bar Association of Houston; LULAC; HTLA; HLA; NAACP; HCDLA; STCL Hispanic Alumni Association
I have 14 years of experience handling almost every type of case that the 269th hears. I have over 100 jury trials including civil, criminal and civil appeal. I represented over 1000 civil clients, including plaintiffs and defendants, where I fought for the rights of working-class people, small-business owners and corporations. When I served as an assistant district attorney I fought for victims and defendants alike while freeing the wrongfully accused. I am honored by my reputation for fairness in all matters. My experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants ensures impartiality and practical knowledge of issues both sides face in court. I learned that the trial judge's primary purpose is to provide a safe, fair, and equitable venue for litigants to resolve their disputes. Judges must keep their thumbs off the scales of justice. I respect the will of the jury and cherish their work as great equalizers in our justice system. Only experience can bring justice.
The contributions I received to date are from both sides of the trial bar. Plaintiff attorneys and defense attorneys support our efforts to bring experience, equality, and justice to the 269th. I am honored that my reputation for fairness is reflected by receiving endorsements and contributions from such a diverse group. If any litigant in the 269th requests information regarding whether their opposition has donated to my campaign and if so how much, that information will be provided. I will follow the law regarding recusing myself from cases in which one side had contributed disproportionate support to my campaign. I will make decisions based on the law and the merits and not based on donations or politics. As a rule I will not accept contributions from litigants who have cases pending in the court. We want all litigants to know justice will be served in every case. Once elected I will work to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
Throughout my career I argued thousands of motions and tried over 200 cases. During this time I evaluated the performance of over 100 trial court judges, studied judicial temperament and learned best practices for managing a trial court. I love the law and once elected am dedicated to spending the hours required to prepare for hearings, trials and rulings. I will be timely and not require litigants and attorneys to wait on me. I will eliminate the practice of unnecessary court appearances. Appearing in court forces litigants to incur costs for attorney’s fees, parking and increases courthouse crowding. I will allow matters to be heard on the submission docket rather than requiring all matters to have oral hearing. I will allow participation by telephonic appearance when appropriate. I will not require litigants to appear for docket call in person just to receive a trial date. I will limit my instructions in jury selection to avoid wasting time. I will not delay justice.