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3 Things that Define March in Texas

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Judicial Election Recommendations – Part 4

Judicial Election Recommendations – Part 4

Early Voting Period: October 24 – November 4, 2016

Election | November 8, 2016

 

Judicial Election Recommendations

 

Supreme Court:                                                                                Recommendation (if any):

 

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3                                                Debra Lehrmann                              R.           

 

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 5                                                Paul Green                                         R.           

 

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 9                                                Eva Guzman                                       R.           

                               

Court of Appeals:

 

Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals                                           Sherry Radack                                   R.           

 

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 2                                    Kevin Jewell                                      R.

                               

Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 4                                       Evelyn Keyes                                     R.

               

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 9                                  

                                     Tracy Elizabeth Christopher        R.                Peter Kelly                                         D.

    (Place 9 has two excellent choices both of whom I like and respect so either one is great)

 

Fort Bend County District Courts:

               

District Judge – 240th Judicial District                      Chad Bridges                                     R.

 

District Judge – 387th Judicial District                      Brenda Mullinix                               R.

 

District Judge – 400th Judicial District                      Maggie Jaramillo                            R.

 

District Judge – 434th Judicial District                      James H. “Jim” Shoemake          R.

 

District Judge – 505th Judicial District                      David Perwin                                     R.

 

Fort Bend County Court:

 

Judge, County Court at Law No. 5                                Ron Cohen                                          R.

 

Fort Bend County Sheriff:                                               Troy Nehls                                          R.

 

Fort Bend County Attorney:                                           Roy Cordes                                         R.

 

 

 

Harris County District Courts:

               

District Judge – 11th Judicial District                         Kevin Fulton                                      R.           

 

District Judge – 61st Judicial District                         Fredericka Phillips                          D.

 

District Judge – 80th Judicial District                        Larry Weiman                                   D.

 

District Judge – 125th Judicial District                       Kyle Carter                                         D.

 

District Judge – 127th Judicial District                       R.K. Sandill                                        D.

 

District Judge – 129th Judicial District                       Michael Gomez                                D.

 

District Judge – 133rd Judicial District                      Jaclanel McFarland                        D.

 

District Judge – 151st Judicial District                      Mike Engelhart                                  D.

 

District Judge – 152nd Judicial District                     Robert K. Schaffer                           D.

 

District Judge – 164th Judicial District                      Alexandra Smoots-Hogan            D.

 

District Judge – 165th Judicial District                      Debra Ibarra Mayfield                   R.

 

District Judge – 215th Judicial District                      Elaine Palmer                                    D.

 

District Judge – 333rd Judicial District                      Joseph “Tad” Halbach                   R.

 

District Judge – 334th Judicial District                      Grant Dorfman                                 R.

 

 

Harris County District Attorney:                                  Kim Ogg                                               D.

 

Harris County Court:

 

Judge, County Court at Law No. 1                                George Barnstone                           D.           

 

               

 

 

 

Who are you voting for?  Part 2

Who are you voting for? Part 2

 R or D – Why you shouldn’t pull the straight ticket for Judicial Races.

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? 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 dangerous. There have been elections in the past few years in 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. That list will be posted as part 4 of this series.  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 or be for locking people up), I have to wonder if they are planning on following the law or trying to make law 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 a particular judicial candidate 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 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. I want a judiciary which treats everyone as equal and not as a statistic to appease their supporters and donators.

For information on how to get registered to vote or to make sure you are registered to vote click here https://carpentercarpenter.com/blog/who-are-you-voting-for-part-1/.

 

Who are you voting for? Part 1

Who are you voting for? Part 1

No one if you are not registered to vote.  In Texas, the deadline to register is October 11, 2016 for the November 8, 2016 elections. If you know you are not registered to vote you can go to this link – https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/vrapp/index.asp and get registered.  To confirm you are registered go to this link – https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do, and make sure all of your information is correct. Once you are registered make sure you have proper ID with you when you go to vote.  There are seven forms of ID which are approved.  They are:

  1. Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS);
  2. Texas personal identification card issued by DPS;
  3. Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS;
  4. Texas handgun license issued by DPS;
  5. United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph;
  6. United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph;
  7. United States passport.

So once you are registered to vote, and have your ID ready to go vote, how do you know where to go?  Go back to this link https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do, fill out the information and click enter and on the next page, click on the link under upcoming elections.  It will give you voting precincts where you can vote.  I would suggest that you avoid the last minute rush and take advantage of early voting from October 24th – November 4th

        So who are you going to vote for??  The next blog will address straight ticket voting.  A quick preview – don’t do it.

 

Primary Judicial Recommendations (R & D) – Because it’s the only option at this point

Primary Judicial Recommendations (R & D) – Because it’s the only option at this point

 Primary Election  March 1, 2016

Early Voting Period: February 16 – 26, 2016

Republican Judicial Election Recommendations

Supreme Court:

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3 Debra Lehrmann

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 5 Paul Green

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 9 Eva Guzman

Court of Appeals: Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals Sherry Radack

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 2 Kevin Jewell

Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 4 Evelyn Keyes

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 9 Tracy Elizabeth Christopher

Fort Bend County District Courts:

District Judge – 240th Judicial District Chad Bridges

District Judge – 387th Judicial District Brenda Mullinix

District Judge – 400th Judicial District Maggie Jaramillo

District Judge – 434th Judicial District James H. “Jim” Shoemake

District Judge – 505th Judicial District David Perwin

Fort Bend County Court: Judge, County Court at Law No. 5 Harold Kennedy

 

Democratic Judicial Election Recommendations

Supreme Court:

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3 Mike Westergren

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 5 Dori Contreras Garza

Court of Appeals: Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals Jim Peacock

Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 4 Barbara Gardner

Justice, 14th Court of Appeals, Place 9 Peter Kelly

If a court is not listed then no recommendation is made for that party candidate.  That could be because I like the other party candidate better or I just don’t know them well enough to recommend them.   Also as a final disclaimer some of my recommendations for the general election may change depending upon the primary results and/or my learning more about the candidates who I don’t know as well.

Obama Death Panels –We don’t need them in Texas!! (Because we already have them!)

There has been a lot of talk and fear about the so called Death Panels which can decide whether a person should be denied life sustaining care even over the objection of the family.  It has been vilified as typical of “Obama care”.  Texas is leading the country as we have had these “death panels” for over a decade thanks to Tort Reform.  I thought it was a bad idea in 1999 and still think it is a bad idea.  Essentially it allows the physician or medical facility to determine that life sustaining care is inappropriate.  This decision can be over the objection and wishes of the family.

“The physician and the health care facility are not obligated to provide life-sustaining treatment after the 10th day after the written decision…”

“The patient is responsible for any costs incurred in transferring the patient to another facility.”

So imagine that your family member is in a car crash and lapses into a coma and the medical facility decides that there is no benefit to life sustaining treatment (the irony of “life-sustaining” care being of no benefit seems lost on them).  The committee (?) determines to end all life-sustaining care and gives you notice.  Now you have 10 days to find another facility to agree to accept your family member and if you can find one (after the current one has already decided it is futile {I am sure the economics of care have nothing to do with the decision}) you get to pay for any cost incurred in transferring your loved one. If you don’t agree, you have the option to file a lawsuit to stop them.  Do you really think that will be what you are thinking about as your loved one is essentially starving to death as they cut off life support.

The people who supported the law and are now fighting against health care will say, well that is different or just because it is the law doesn’t mean it will happen.  Harris County Texas — a patient identified only as “Willie” died after the hospital cut off all nourishment after giving the proper notice.  Probably the family didn’t care – wrong they tried to get him transferred but couldn’t find a hospital willing to take him.  Well he must not have had insurance –  1st should it matter, but he actually had plenty of coverage, but the let him die.  Texas Right to Life spokesperson Elizabeth Graham stated “Willie” was dehydrated and starved to death against the family’s desire (Thanks to Jeffrey Kreisberg).  So when you think it will not happen, it already has to someone with a family who wanted to keep him alive and had insurance. As far as I know, no such action has taken place in Fort Bend County, Texas – yet.

In the last election for governor of Texas, Perry was asked about this and he claimed he wasn’t aware of the law and would make it priority to get it overturned.

If you are concerned about “death panels” you should be because if you are in Texas it is not a possibility it is a reality and not because of the liberal democrats, but because of the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) group.  So be mad and take action against those who supported, sponsored and passed the bill.  Ask your representative if they are supporter of Texans for Lawsuit Reform and, if so, why they are in favor of these “death panels”.  I wonder if they will claim they didn’t know what they were supporting??

Finally, if you support (or know someone who supports) TLR I posted this question on Facebook – “What do you believe needs Reforming?”  I really would like some answers to that question.