Candidate Answer #10 Executive Order

Unfortunately, the manner in which you have worded the question would require me, as a judicial candidate, to indicate how I would rule in a specific case that would come before the 9th District Court.  Therefore, my answer would violate the Judicial Conduct Code’s prohibition against that.
Nevertheless, these actions of the federal government, in this hypothetical scenario, raise serious issues under the 10th and 11th Amendments in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.
 
You have also asked about the ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White.  In that case, which I have discussed in a couple of candidate’s forums previously, the Supreme Court held that the “announce clause” in the Minnesota Judicial Conduct Code was a violation of the First Amendment rights of free political speech of candidates for judicial office.  The “announce clause” prohibited candidates from “announcing his or her views on disputed legal or political issues.”  
 
The “announce clause” would prohibit me from announcing to you that:
*I am Pro-Life, which I am.
*I am Pro-Gun Rights, under the 2nd Amendment, which I am.
*I am Pro-Marriage and do not believe there is such a thing as “same-sex marriage,” which I am.  I believe the liberal national media has grossly mis-interpreted the holding in the Obergefell decision, as I explained at the MC Eagle Forum candidates’ forum.
*I have been a limited government conservative for 40 years (longer than one of my opponents has been alive).
*I have been a Republican activist for 40 years.
*I have been a member of the NRA for 38 years.
*I wrote a plank that appeared in the State Republican Platform that required government at all levels to reduce expenditures in proportion to disposable income of taxpayers.
*I have fought for Pro-Life language in the Republican Platform since 1976.
 
Thanks to the Republican Party versus White decision, I am permitted to announce those political views.
 
What I cannot do, however under the Judicial Conduct Code is to make pledges or predictions of my conduct in office regarding potential cases that would suggest that I am pre-disposed in those cases.  Judicial Conduct Code Canon 5(1)(i).  Respectfully, the problem is with your question, because you have framed it as a specific factual scenario.  That’s why I answered the question with my philosophy but did not provide you with a direct answer as to how I would rule.  I hope you will forgive me for that.
 
I am seriously committed to reforming the Courthouse.  I hope that voters will support me, as I will be fast, efficient, and independent.  I will follow the law (as evidenced by my answer to your question).

Candidate Answer #9 Ethics

First question:
I would discuss my concerns with my peer.  If the peer did not take appropriate corrective action and if the unethical conduct violated the clear provisions of the Judicial Conduct Code (as opposed to those provisions of the Code which are ambiguous or already-declared unconstitutional), I would have an ethical duty to report the conduct to the Judicial Conduct Commission.  I would do so.
Second question:
Yes.

Candidate Answer #8 Transparency

 

Government should not have to pay the expense of the indexing and tallying but should make all three available.  I favor all three.

Question #1 Civil Asset Forfeiture.

View ‪Civil Asset Forfeiture in 60 Seconds

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett said “A generation ago in America, asset forfeiture was limited to wresting ill-gotten gains from violent criminals. Today, it has a distinctive ‘Alice in Wonderland’ flavor, victimizing innocent citizens who’ve done nothing wrong.”

Please reply with your view of the proper application of Civil Asset Forfeiture laws in general in Texas

and explain how your view will affect your policy as an elected official.

 

Response:

 

I agree with the 2014 Texas Republican Party Platform on this issue. More specifically, (1) asset forfeitures should only occur if the State has proven that the assets are criminal contraband “beyond a reasonable doubt,” (2) the law enforcement agencies or their parent agencies should never enjoy the fruits of asset forfeitures, because that creates an improper incentive for enforcement actions. I agree with Justice Willett’s dissent in the El-Ali case.

 

My views will not likely affect my “policy” as an elected official. I believe that trial court judges should follow the law, strictly construe the law, and only examine original intent if there is an ambiguity in the wording of a statute.

 

Question #2 The Nature of Law

During Texas 84th legislative session State Representative Mark Keough introduced HB 3184 a bill seeking to import the civil law process of mediation into criminal law. The law applied to some first time misdemeanor and felony offenders. The bill passed though the legislative process but failed to become law on veto by Governor Greg Abbott who stated “Making amends with the victim of a crime does not absolve the criminal of his legal debt to the State.”

Do you agree with the Governor? What is the purpose of law from your point of view as a Legislative/Judicial/ Law Enforcement official? Who is it intended to protect?

What should be the role or effect of private judging companies (such as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service) in the judicial or incarceration system?

(answer should be based on elected office sought.)

 

Response:

 

Yes, I agree with Governor Abbott on this issue.

 

The purpose of criminal law is to punish offenders so that crimes will be less likely to occur in the future and to provide retribution for society.

 

Private judging companies should not be involved in the incarceration system. In civil and family cases, however, I would encourage mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, because that is the policy of the State of Texas, as the Legislature determined.

 

Question #3 Filming the Police

With the advent of smartphones and amateur journalist blogging the filming of public interaction of law enforcement with the public has grown exponentially. The existence of these digital records can have a significant effect, either positive or negative on investigations and conduct of law enforcement as they go about their duties.

One recently proposed bill sought to create a misdemeanor for filming within 25 ft.

Police agencies are responding by drafting new policies that address the legal issues for the public and the members of law enforcement. Recently, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. and Pct 5 Constables Office attended a NPPA Conference in advance of developing a policy for Montgomery County.

As a Lawmaker, Law enforcer or Law Judge,

What elements must a good policy include and what role should the public play in its development and implementation?

 

Response:

 

Citizens should have the right to record those events as long as the act of recording does not interfere with a criminal investigation or arrest.

Question #4 Overcriminalization

Q4:  What do you think about the relationship between overcriminalization and the growing prison population in Montgomery County (Sheriff) or Texas (Judges) or The United States (Congressmen)?  What response should society have to overcriminalization and prison overcrowding?

 

Response:

 

There is little, if any, relationship between prison overcrowding and “overcriminalization.”

 

Society should support our law enforcement officials in performing their functions, because, ultimately, our prisons would be less crowded, if we consistently and expeditiously applied laws to convicted offenders.

 

There’s a lot of other things, as a society, that we need to do to address this problem. Government is not always the answer.

 

 

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