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Candidates for 410th District Court discuss case efficiency

Candidates for 410th District Court discuss case efficiency - Your Houston News: News
Candidates for 410th District Court discuss case efficiency
By Beth Marshall | Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:55 pm

Candidates for 410th District Court discuss case efficiency

Court efficiency was an important topic for 410th state District Court judge candidates during a forum hosted by The Woodlands Republican Women Wednesday at The Grand Palace in South Montgomery County Wednesday.

Chuck Meyer, Jennifer James Robin and Kristen Bays are running in the March 1 Republican primary to replace retiring Judge K. Michael Mayes.

The 410th is a general jurisdiction court that takes on various types of cases. While Meyer and Bays believe this suits the court, Robin, an associate judge in the specialized 418th family law court, believes specialization would be a smart move.

“You’re going to hear from my opponents that they don’t want to change anything about this court,” Robin said. “They want to continue to employ the same policies and procedures that have failed and have led to backlog in this court and somehow expect a different result.”
Robin continued by directly referencing an instance in which Bays reportedly said district courts specializing in certain cases are more efficient.

“The idea that I’ve been saying that I would change nothing about this court is really incorrect,” Bays said. “The reality is the court does need to change in terms of its efficiency, in terms of the way it handles the cases that it has, but in no event should this court ever deviate from being a court for we, the people.”

Meyer said that in his 27 years as an attorney, he has had the opportunity to work with various aspects of law.

“You want a judge on the bench that, when there is a civil matter that comes along, they’re able to understand the root cause of the problem,” he said. “I’ve been involved with executive decision making for a long time – decision making under stress and decision making where the stakes are incredibly high.”

Robin said she is one of 12 attorneys in Montgomery County board certified in Family Law, adding that nearly half of the pending cases in the 410th are family law-centric. “I am here to work and use the skills and knowledge that I have acquired as the associate judge of one of the most efficient courts in Montgomery County, and put this court to work again.”

Something all three candidates could agree on was that the number of prisoners in Montgomery County awaiting trial is too high.

“We have 700 people sitting in the Montgomery County Jail waiting on their cases to be tried,” Bays said. “That’s $50 per person, per day. That’s $35,000 a day. There’s only one solution to that problem, and it’s not to move the 1,171 criminal cases in the 410th down the hall, or to eliminate them all together and have this court not help out with that.

“It’s to get them tried. That’s what I can do, that’s what I will do, and really, ideally, that’s what you want in a judge – someone who can and someone who will.”

Meyer commented that he thinks the overcrowding is “not necessarily a legal problem. That’s an administration problem.”

“I chose to run for the 410th because it is not running at full capacity,” Robin added. “It has policies and procedures that are contributing to inefficiencies, low productivity, overcrowding our jail, and increased costs to taxpayers.”

Bays, who has practiced law for 22 years, reiterated that this court needs to handle any cases the people of Montgomery County presents. “What you need is someone who has experience in all of the types of cases that the 410th handles, not just one of them, or even two of them – all of them.” Bays said.

“My opponents are going to try and distract you with unsupported numbers … and try to make this race about one single issue – court specialization – which, frankly, is determined by the board of judges or the administrative judge, not by the winner of this race,” Robin said.

Pol. adv. paid for by Jennifer Robin Campaign in compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.
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