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/.
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:
- Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS);
- Texas personal identification card issued by DPS;
- Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS;
- Texas handgun license issued by DPS;
- United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph;
- United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph;
- 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 Election March 1, 2016
Early Voting Period: February 16 – 26, 2016
Republican Judicial Election Recommendations–
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–
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.
It’s my party and I’ll blog if I want to. Since I can’t seem to find a party I like, I decided to create my own. I actually had some other names for the party, but the cool ones were already taken, so I decided it is My Party. If you wish to join – you’re in and the name works because it will be your party (wait??- no ok, when it is your party and you tell people about it — you will tell them it is My Party so we are still good!!) Acknowledge your affiliation with My Party by forwarding it to others letting them know about My Party. At some point we may need to have a convention, which will probably consist of a grill and keg and selection of candidates.
My Party Platform
Flat tax everyone pays same. The dollar you earn is the same why not the tax. If you want to pay more great the tax form will have a line for additional contribution.
Pro-life if you don’t want a baby there is a way to avoid it.
Congress — If you pass a law then own it. If you really believe Obamacare is what’s best for the country then it should apply to you.
Obamacare should not require anyone to pay for contraceptives or abortion if they oppose it morally or religious.
Congress — Once you leave congress your salary ends. You’re not working for the country so you shouldn’t be getting paid.
If your title or job description has the title czar in it – it’s over. USA does not equal USSR. We elect not create positions by fiat.
Every agency should have a justification of its job and need.
Tort reform we have it – they are called juries. They hear the evidence and are in the best position to determine what is just –As in justice. An artificial cap on damages only impacts cases which have been shown to be requiring a verdict to correct harm.
No cap on salary if you can earn it through hard work power to you, but don’t be a hypocrite and support tort reform. Either you are for a free market or you aren’t
There is no “the problem was Bush, Obama, etc., etc.” The problem is America’s. Stop whining about what happened and start changing what is happening and what is going to happen. There is plenty of blame to go around so let’s move forward and do what has to be done.
Brent Carpenter – It’s My Party
The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ~Ronald Reagan
Two things people claim are a certainty –death and taxes. Let me start with a disclaimer — I am not an expert on taxes (or death), and welcome comments by anyone who can help me out. Here is the question/problem –What is the justification for having different income levels paying a different percentage of tax and why should your estate have to pay taxes on what you made (and probably paid taxes on) while you were alive? How is that fair? If I and three buddies go into a store and each get a soda which cost a dollar why should I pay $1, while my buddies pay $1.25, $1.40 and one actually gets it free because of a rebate. It’s the same soda, we are all getting the same thing for our money, how is that different than paying more based upon how much you make? The person that makes more than me isn’t getting any greater benefit from the government and the person paying less isn’t getting any less so why the difference? We elect representatives who all seem to say the same thing, we need to change the tax structure, etc., etc. Then why haven’t they done it? Why are we paying billions of dollars to bail out companies, fund “art” exhibits that show Jesus covered in ants and other pork barrel projects which continue to increase our debt? Why is it ok for “our” representatives to spend our money on things which not only do I not want or need, but am morally opposed to? Where are our representatives when these appropriations are being made, why are they not taking a stand then and there rather than telling me I will be fighting to stop this wasteful spending, etc. If all of those elected officials that tell us they will do something actually did it then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. How can it be that almost everyone of them say they do not support x,y or z, but then apparently by some miracle something gets passed which they did not approve. Here is a suggestion – stop talking — start doing. If you are going to pass a law make it mandatory that it impacts you, the congress and senate in the exact same manner as it will impact those you represent. Do away with your private health care, retirement fund, travel allowances, etc. and make do with the same things you believe are good enough for the rest of us. I want you to explain to me how a graduated tax structure makes any logical sense (other than to provide you with more money to spend on things I don’t want and to dole out to your friends and contributors) and explain to me why the government needs to tax a person their entire life and when they die tax their estate. What benefit is that person getting from the government at that point? They are dead. There is no benefit to them and they are no burden on the government. What is the justification to tax the estate? I realize I am just a small town country lawyer, but I could really use some enlightenment here. I welcome answers. Real answers, not just “I hear you and I with your continued support we will make these changes” speech. How about forwarding this to all those in congress and the senate and let them answer these questions. These should be easy answers for them as they constantly vote on tax issues. I assume they would be proud of how they vote and why they voted the way they did, so why not have them answer the questions and post their answers for everyone to see. If they agree or disagree with a graduated tax system they can explain the benefit of their position to us. If they agree or disagree with an estate tax they can explain the benefit of their position to us. I know some of them will say I fought against it but lost the vote, but put me back in there and we will get them next time. How about this – put down in writing what you actually believe, stand by it, do what’s right and let the rest take care of itself. But like I said in the beginning what do I know — I am no expert and just a small town country lawyer, so help me out with some explanations here.