The Election is over and as with every sweep we have new judges who will take the bench in January. Here is a list of the new Judges in Fort Bend and Harris County who will hear civil cases. Congratulations to all the new Judges. Thank you to all the candidates who ran for office. Your hard work, dedication and service is greatly appreciated.
New Judges in Fort Bend County and Harris County as of January 2019
Fort Bend County District Court Judges
240th Frank J. Fraley
268th R. O’Neil Williams
458th Robert L. Rolnick
Fort Bend County Court at Law Judges
#3 Juli Mathew
#4 Toni Wallace
#5 Teana Watson
#6 Sherman Hatton, Jr.
Harris County District Court Judges
55th Latosha Lewis Payne
113th Rabeea Collier
157th Tayna Garrison
180th DeSean Jones
182nd Danny Lacayo
189th Scot “Dolli” Dollinger
190th Beau Miller
234th Lauren Reeder
269th Cory Sepolio
270th Dedra Davis
281st Christine Weems
295th Donna Roth
Harris County Court at Law Judges
#1 George Barnstone
#2 Jim F. Kovach
#3 LaShawn A. Williams
#4 William “Bill” McLeod
Early Voting Period: October 22 – November 2, 2018
Election | November 6, 2018
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2 Steven Kirkland D.
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 4 R.K. Sandill D.
Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 Jeff Brown R.
Court of Appeals:
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 2 Jane Bland R.
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 6 Harvey Brown R.
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 7 Julie Countiss D.
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 8 Richard Hightower D.
Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 9 Peter Kelly D.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 3 Jerry Zimmerer D.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 4 Marc Brown R.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 5 Martha Hill Jamison R.
Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 6 Margaret “Meg” Poissant D.
District Clerk Annie Rebecca Elliott R.
Fort Bend County District Courts:
District Judge – 240th Judicial District Chad Bridges R.
District Judge – 268th Judicial District John “Hawk” Hawkins R.
District Judge – 328th Judicial District Walter Armatys R.
District Judge – 458th Judicial District Ken Cannata R.
County Clerk Laura Richard R.
Fort Bend County Court:
Judge, County Court-at-Law No 1 Chris Morales R.
Judge, County Court-at-Law No 2 Jeffrey A. McMeans R.
Judge, County Court-at-Law No 3 Tricia Krenek R.
Judge, County Court-at-Law No 4 Amy Mitchell R.
Judge, County Court at Law No. 5 Harold Kennedy R.
Judge, County Court-at-Law No 6 Dean Hrbacek R.
Every few years we have the opportunity to elect our people who will represent us and in Texas those who may at some point decide our future either due to a civil dispute or a criminal matter. I believe in our judicial system and know that there is not a better way in existence to resolve disputes than through a jury trial presided over by a fair and impartial judge.
We as Texans have the right and responsibility to elect our judges. So how are you supposed to know which judge should get your vote? Maybe you should just vote straight ticket if you don’t know because that person “must think like me if they are in my same political party”? What do you do if more than one person is running for the same judicial position in the same party? Maybe by who has the name that sounds familiar or sounds more Texan or American? Maybe by the time you get to the judicial elections you are so tired of trying to figure it out that you just quit there? All of these “ways” of deciding who is the person who may be the judge deciding your case happen. They are all not only wrong but a dangerous. There have been elections in the past few years the counties around us in which the least qualified of all the candidates was elected because of one of these reasons. We have lost great judges from both parties due to a straight ticket vote swing one way or the other.
It is hard for me to make a determination on which judges I would vote for who hear strictly criminal or family cases as I only handle civil cases. Before I vote on those positions, I ask friends of mine who practice before those courts as well as do my own research to decide who I should vote for. In this election, as in elections past, I have created a list of the various courts along with who I recommend for the position. I have also listed what party they are affiliated. As an aside I understand why the people running for judge need the backing of a political party as it is expensive and time consuming to run a campaign, but once the general election comes I believe the judicial elections should just list the candidate without party affiliation and making it where any straight ticket vote would not register for either candidate.
When I hear judicial candidates proudly state that they are against lawsuits or for any particular organization for group (whether it be to limit recoveries, for locking people up, etc.), I have to wonder if they are planning on following the law or trying to make it from the bench “Judicial Activism” is the familiar term.
I know what some of you are thinking: You are supporting particular judges and want us to vote for them because they rule for you? While that would be great, it is not the case. In fact almost every one of the sitting judges, despite my brilliant arguments, has ruled against me or made a ruling which negatively impacted a position I held at least once. So why would I support them? Why not just vote for a particular party? I support these individuals because I have practiced before them, seen their work, read their opinions (or those of whom they are running against) and want the best judicial branch of the government we can get. I want a judiciary which treats everyone as equal and not as a statistic to appease their supporters and donators.
So how do you determine who you should vote for in the judicial elections? Glad you asked, here are my 5 Rules for Selecting Judges:
Five Rules for Selecting Judges
One: VOTE. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.
Two: Ask attorneys who practice before the Judges and Justices who they would support and why.
Three: Read their propaganda (I mean mailers). Any decent ones are going to list the candidates’ accomplishments and biography. Here is what sends up red flags for me. Any candidate who touts that they are going to be tough on criminals, get rid of frivolous lawsuits, be more republican or democratic than their opponent, etc., etc. I know that political parties are a necessity for the backing and support of candidates (including judges) but I want an elected official who is fair to all. I want a judge who is going to have one job and that is to enforce the laws as they exist and treat everyone equally. I want a judge who believes in the innocent until proven guilty and not one who brags about putting people in jail or being tough on crime. If you enforce the law then usually the right thing happens, if you have an agenda then run for congress and not the bench. Do some investigation on the candidates before you vote on someone who may impact your life greatly in the future.
Four: Select who you would want to decide your case if everything went wrong, if you had to sue someone or were sued or if you were charged with a crime. Is that judge you are voting for someone you would want sitting up on the bench?
Five: You are allowed to take information into the voting booth. After you have done your research and made your decisions, make a list and take it with you when you vote so you don’t get forget who it was you decided on for the position of the ballot and make sure you finish the entire ballot.
Tomorrow we will post our recommendations.
Last Day for Early Voting – Friday, March 2, 2018
Fort Bend County Judicial Election Recommendations
District Attorney – 268th Judicial District Cliff Vacek
Fort Bend County District Courts:
District Judge – 240th Judicial District Chad Bridges
District Judge – 268th Judicial District John “Hawk” Hawkins
District Judge – 328th Judicial District Walter Armatys
District Judge – 458th Judicial District Ken Cannata
Fort Bend County Court:
Judge, County Court at Law No. 1 Chris Morales
Judge, County Court at Law No. 2 Jeffrey A McMeans
Judge, County Court at Law No. 3 Harold Kennedy
Judge, County Court at Law No. 4 Amy Mitchell
Judge, County Court at Law No. 6 Dean Hrbacek
District Clerk: Annie Rebecca Elliott
County Clerk: Laura Richard
Fort Bend County Treasurer: Bill Rickert
Justice of Peace Precinct 1, Place 2: Mary S. Ward
Today, August 31, 2017, is the deadline to submit a storm insurance claim to be processed before a new law takes effect that impacts claim repayment.
The information below addresses who is affected and what action is needed.
Do I need to do something today, August 31, 2017?
- If your property has incurred storm damage from Hurricane Harvey, and you intend to file a storm insurance claim with your insurance provider, YES. This does not generally apply to TWIA, Federal Flood claims or auto claims.
What exactly must I do today?
- You must submit a claim under your policy today. Below this post is an example that you can use to contact your insurer. I recommend mailing and emailing it to your agent and insurance company if possible.
What will happen if I don’t do that today?
- You will lose certain rights afforded under the current law. Overall, claims filed under the new law may see less compensation, longer lag times and more red tape during the process.
- Provisions of the new law may be disadvantageous to you. The new law includes a change to interest rate on damages, which will reduce compensation for losses (from 18% to 10%). That means less money to help you repair and recover. The new law also includes a 60 day allowance for your insurance company to “reconsider” the claim if it makes an inadequate or denial of your claim. That means the possibility of a dragged out process while you wait for what is owed to you, and what is necessary to begin your recovery.
Who can help me if I still don’t understand or am unable to file my claim today, due to circumstances related to my current situation?
- At this point, the best thing to do is mail and email your claim with whatever information you have to your agent and insurance company.
- If you are unable to complete this today, reach out to your network to see if they can assist you with composing and sending the message. You may also contact me, and I can connect you with appropriate resources or information.
- There has been no indication that insurance companies plan to be lenient with the implementation of the new provisions, even given the ongoing storm.
EXAMPLE OF LETTER/EMAIL TO INSURANCE COMPANY
Re: Storm Claim
1111 Flood Zone, Houston, Texas 77
Policy # (if known)
My property located at (WRITE YOUR SPECIFIC ADDRESS) was damaged due to the recent storm. While I am unsure of the total amount of damage, the following is what I am aware of at this time: LIST WHAT YOU CAN. ie: 6 inches of water in my first floor, damaging furniture, personal belongings and structural elements of the house such as flooring, wallpaper, utilities…
Submitted on August 31, 2017
Our blog generally focuses on legal issues which impact our clients, but sometimes it is good to take a break and step back and reflect on other topics, like why we love living in Texas. It is March in Texas which, for me, means:
- Bluebonnets – “Bluebonnets of Texas they bloom in the spring…” do you know the rest of the poem? If you are from Texas, you probably do. And you probably have at least one photo of you, your significant other and kids in the Bluebonnets. Go ahead and find the picture now, it’s probably one of your favorites. That is, until you take a new one this year. One of our favorite fields is on HWY 71 between Houston and Austin. When you find a great field, let us know.
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – It’s time to break out the boots and hat and head to Rodeo, where everyone gets to be a cowboy for a day. I’m a huge Rodeo fan and I hear they even have some fairly decent singers show up. If you really want to take it up a notch, get a duster to go with your hat and boots. If you don’t know what a duster is – well maybe you’re just visiting.
- Houston Dynamo – It may not be on your list, but as a family that has been playing, coaching and refereeing soccer for several decades, it is definitely on ours. If you haven’t been, you really owe it to yourself to make it to at least one game to see our local pro soccer team. If you don’t understand the game, no problem. The fans are great about explaining what is going on without attitude. 3 quick notes: The field is called a pitch, the game is called a match and anytime your player goes down just yell “are you kidding me – how is that not a foul.” You will be high-fiving new friends in no time.
It wouldn’t be March in Texas for me without these three things, and we wouldn’t be successful without our Texan (it is a state of mind) friends and clients.
This month we will be celebrating by giving away Rodeo and Dynamo tickets (you are on your own with the Bluebonnets). To enter the giveaway, share favorite things that define Texas in March in the comments below. We love hearing what others enjoy about Texas, and are excited to share some of our favorite activities with y’all. We would also love to see your best pictures of Bluebonnets, the Rodeo and Dynamo so post them here under comments or on our Facebook page.