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District Judge, 281st Judicial District

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    George Arnold (Dem) Attorney, Partner at Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, L.L.P.

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    Christine Weems (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 Baylor University, B.A. 1989; Baylor Law School, J.D. 1992; Licensed by State Bar of Texas since 1992; Admitted to practice in all State and Federal Courts throughout Texas.
Professional Experience For the past 25 years I have represented individuals, small businesses, corporations, and insurers in civil litigation in Harris County and throughout Texas in State and Federal courts. I have been lead counsel in 1,289 cases just in Harris County.
Community Involvement Texas Bar Foundation Fellow, Northwest Assistance Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, HBA AIDS Outreach, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program, LegalLine, Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Human Rights Campaign, Houston Bar Association
Campaign Phone (713) 942-5800
I will not set arbitrary time restraints for trial proceedings. I will respect the time requests made by attorneys, as they have spent many months preparing for trial and they know the amount of time needed to adequately present their client's case to the jury. I will not run a “gotcha” courtroom where discretionary procedural deadlines take precedence over substance. I believe cases should be decided by juries based on the merits of the case and not on procedural gamesmanship or maneuvering.
Campaign contributions will have no influence or impact in the courtroom. I am not seeking this judicial position to further an agenda nor do I ever want to be perceived as a partisan, biased or activist judge. I hope to earn a reputation as a fair and empathetic judge who works hard and is patient, courteous and respectful of everyone. I will require equal treatment of everyone in the courtroom regardless of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. I will always strive to avoid saying or doing anything that might diminish the public trust in the court system. This judicial position is accountable to all people of Harris County and is expected to honorably serve all people of Harris County, not campaign contributors.
The maxim that "justice delayed is justice denied" is always present in my mind. Consequently, I recognize that it is my responsibility as a judge to closely monitor the court's hearing docket and trial docket to ensure all cases, large and small, are promptly addressed and allowed a timely trial. My goal is to make certain that any party requesting a hearing receives it within 14 days of the request. Additionally, I commit to communicate with counsel for the parties when setting trial dates and first allow counsel an opportunity to jointly submit their requested trial date before the court unilaterally sets the trial date. Ideally, this system will allow cases needing less time for development to obtain earlier trial settings and still allow larger, more complex cases adequate time for development based on the input of counsel who are most familiar with the needs of their particular cases. Speedy trial settings, however, should never usurp sufficient time for proper case development.
Education/Degrees BA University of Texas at Austin JD South Texas College of Law
Professional Experience I am a 17 year civil litigator that is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law. I have mostly represented individuals in personal injury and homeowners claims, but also have handled breach of contract, antitrust and other corporate claims.
Community Involvement I am a founding member of Cone Man Running Productions - a Houston area nonprofit theatre company dedicated to producing original work and winner of Houston Press' 2017 Mastermind Award for our contributions to Houston culture.
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Campaign Website
Campaign Phone (281) 773-3642
If a party is pro se - particularly on a potentially complicated matter, I would make sure that they are aware of all of the resources at their disposal - like Texas Volunteer Lawyers, law school clinics and other legal aid options. If they are represented by counsel, I would ensure that all lawyers had the opportunity to present their case and to the extent necessary - preserve their error. I'm not afraid to make difficult rulings - even those that might get overturned - as long as they are the result of the parties getting the opportunity to fully make their position clear and there is thoughtful consideration on my part before ruling. I won't hesitate to ask for additional briefing if necessary in order to fully understand all of the positions made before deciding.
I have made it clear that those who donate are not buying my rulings - they are donating to help ensure an experienced and fair judge makes it onto the bench. Partisan politics aside, most litigators care more about making sure that their judge will let them try their case fairly then bringing bias to the table. Favoritism and having a reputation for it only causes you to get overturned by the appellate courts and gives people reasons to ensure you don't make it to a second term.
I will endeavor to be prepared for all hearings and therefore spend the time with the lawyers clarifying things not made clear instead of having them rehash what is already in their motion. I will timely rule on all motions whether set for hearing or submission so that the parties will be able to take whatever course they need to in response and keep their cases moving. I also grant agreed and unopposed motions unless the case is so old that the parties need to a firm deadline in order to settle the case or try it. I also intend to try as many cases as possible so that a trial date is not an empty threat but a deadline by which the cases need to either get resolved or go before a jury. Yes cases get continued, but when the attorneys are aware that a judge will not hesitate to call you to trial, it is sometimes the motivation some parties need to either settle it or try the case.