Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Harris County Family Courts- Major Changes are Coming in 2011

In November, 2010, Harris County voters are going to make major changes that will impact families for the future of the Harris County Family Courts.

All the Family Courts have contested elections this year!!

The following 4 judges are retiring/leaving the bench:
245th Judicial District Court - current judge leaving benc
308th Judicial District Court -- current judge leaving bench
309th Judicial District Court -- current judge leaving bench
311th Judicial District Court -- current judge leaving bench

The courts where the judges have opponets are:
246th Judicial District Court
247th Judicial District Court
257th Judicial District Court
310th Judicial District Court
312th Judicial District Court  -- Robert Hinojosa won this judicial seat away from David Pharr 2 years ago and David Pharr is trying to regain this seat.  However, David Pharr is stationed overseas in the military so he is unable to actively campaign for this judicial position.  (His political campaign is very quiet since he cannot do anything while on active military duty.)  It will be interesting to see how many votes he gets & will show that the general public has no idea who they vote for -- they vote for the party -- not the candidate. 
This is the first time in approximately 10 years that the family courts are looking at such a "sweeping" change! 

But, we could have a total of 9 NEW family court judges if all the judges up for re-election do not win their seats! 

I doubt that all 9 judges will be replaced but it could happen.  At the present time, all the judges are Republican except for Judge Hinojosa (312th). 

If a huge Democratic sweep occurs, a lot of faces are going to change in the Family Law Center! 

If you don't know, Harris County is now a majority of minorities.  Many Republicans (behind the scenes) are nervous about this election and its outcome.  They are worried if there is a large voter turn-out. 
The new judges will take the benches effective January 1, 2011. 
Therefore, 2011 is going to be a very "interesting" year in the Harris County Family Courts.  No one can predict how the new judges will handle their dockets. 

From past experience, it takes awhile for a new judge to settle into their bench and develop a real feel for the courtroom.

Did you know that new judges have to go to "judge school" to learn to be a judge?  Yes, it's true.  Several years ago, some bright sole determined that even an experienced attorney needed to learn how to be a Judge so judge school was started.  The judges claim it is a very "enlightening" experience.  They have to learn a things that most attorneys never come in contact with -- such as identifying mentally illness or the reality of getting around in a big city via public transportation.

Therefore, if you are planning on having a contested matter in the Harris County courts, I would immediately file your case and attempt to get it settled BEFORE December 31, 2010.  After January 1, 2011, there will be many new faces at the courthouse and probably many new policies and procedures.

Interesting Tidbits:
Only 2 candidates are Black - Sandra Peake and Bill Rice.
Only one candidate is Hispanic -- Robert Hinojosa.
It appears all the rest of the candidates are White.
I could be wrong -- if I am -- I apologize! 

Did you know that Houston has more diversity that New York City?  Yes, it's true.  It's unfortunately that our family courts do not reflect this diversity.  I would think that we would have at least one Asian person running.  I'm wondering how many of these people speak Spanish?

I was sorry that some very fine candidates got "cut" at the primary level.  There were just too many candidates running this year in the primaries.  It seems that everyone "threw their hat" into the ring this year with so many judges leaving the bench.  Unfortunately, some fine potential judges did not get the chance to advance to the finishing line.  It's a loss for people of Harris County.

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