on the bench
their own name; saying it would be bad
for the child to have a name that is different from the mother's. They will take
a woman's child if she is living with another man while waiting for her divorce,
but ignore the fact that the husband is
living with another woman during the
same period. They hand down decisions
that do not follow the letter of the law,
and there is not a damn thing we can do
Judges have an unlimited amount of
power. "Just an unlimited discretion, especially in family court," stated a 20-year
veteran in family and tax law. "You just
cannot afford to alienate a judge in these
A tradition of mid-term retirements allows the governor to appoint virtually all
of our judges, and since less than 20% of
us vote in judicial races, voter disinterest
But another attorney asked "Why pick
on the only Mexican-American judge we
have? Sure he says a lot of patronizing
things but so do others, and he makes
"We do have a few good judges," remarked an attorney who added, "unfortunately some of them are running
against each other. I have great respect
for and support Salazar, his decisions are
equitable. He concentrates on the issues
before him, spends time on them, listens.
I also have great respect for Nell Hollo-
x way and I would support her in any
Three of the incumbents in this election are women. Ruby Sondock and Joe
Kegans are unopposed, but County Criminal Court Judge Alice Bonner has drawn
six opponents. "She is young, black, female and newly appointed," said one at-
"They are just up there playing God,
moralizing...they hand down decisions that do
not follow the letter of the law and there is not
a damn thing we can do about it."
practically guarantees a lifelong seat on
the bench. "This responsibility for judicial appointments is what makes our
choice of governor so important," emphasized one attorney.
It also explains the absence of Republican judges. "How long has it been since
we've had a Republican governor?"
The overwhelming odds against winning make Republican and Democratic
attorneys alike hard-pressed to raise the
75 to 100 thousand dollars it takes to run
a countywide judicial race. And there is
more at stake than the opportunity to be
judge. The law practice that is an attorney's livelihood may suffer serious repercussions. "How would you like to go,
with your client's life in your hands, before a judge whom you had tried to unseat in the previous election?" asked one
The only woman among the judicial
challengers is Nell Holloway, who is running in a Family District Court against
recently appointed Felix Salazar. One of
her supporters explained Holloway's fat
torney, "they consider her an easy
"Judges are closer to the electorate
than any other elected official," another
attorney pointed out. "Even if you never
enter a courtroom, never are party to a
divorce or a suit for damages in an accident, or a child custody hearing or a rape
trial, your life is nevertheless affected in
countless crucial ways by the decisions
handed down by our judges."
The legislature makes the law, but the
judges interpret it/ "State judges determine the reasonableness of legislative
classifications, decide whether a state regulation of business is arbitrary, rule whether the city council has exceeded its
authority, decide whether the governor
has the power to remove a local district
attorney, all vital roles in determining
who gets what, and when, where and how
they get it."
What makes a person want to be a
judge, to sit in judgment of other people
and have the responsibility for their lives
and destinies? "Ego. It's an ego trip." an-
"Courts are presumably run to expedite
cases, but they are really run for the
convenience of the judge."
ure to win an endorsement by the Association of Women Attorneys. "There were
just barely enough women there who had
not been put down by Salazar." She went
on to note that "the vote was split down
the middle, so there were just as many
women attorneys there who felt they
wanted to risk not supporting Salazar in
order to express their position against his
attitude toward women."
swered several attorneys flatly. One
attorney added, "sometimes an attorney
will want to run to knock out a bad
judge, and I respect that, we need more
of that; but generally, it's a real super ego
trip. It's a hell of a job, why else would
anyone want to be there? It's like why
would anyone want to be President of the
United States? Ego."
See Court Structure, next page
In a Wilderness Environment
Mountain, River, or Desert
P.O. Box 444
Austin, Texas 78767
The Texas Democratic Party Brings You
"ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT DAY"
After you vote in the Democratic Primary
May 6 to choose candidates for office, you have
another chance to influence government decisions.
ATTEND YOUR PRECINCT CONVENTION AT 7:15 PM
AT YOUR POLLING PLACE.
Here's what will happen at your precinct convention:
1. Call to order.
2. Make list of qualified participants—anyone in the
precinct who voted in the May 6 Democratic
3. Elect chair and secretary by majority vote.
4. Caucus or subdivide by support of issues or
5. Select delegates to Senatorial District Convention
(May 13). Each caucus representing at least 15% of
the participants elects its proportional share of
delegates and alternates.
6. Delegation must reflect political and ethnic makeup of precinct. Only 2/3's of delegation can be of
same sex. These delegates may go on to the State
and National Conventions.
7. The Convention ratifies caucus selections, conducts
any other business and adjourns.
8. Secretary files minutes of convention with County
Any Questions? Call 455-0381 or 522-0784
Paid for by Harris County State Democratic Executive Committee members.
PROFESSIONAL • EXPERIENCED • QUALIFIED
9 years legal, business and county government experience*
degrees in business administration, law • Harris Co. Justice of
the Peace • Director, Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce,
Co-Chair, Transportation Committee • Judicial Representative, Houston-Galveston Council on Law Enforcement •
Director, Riverside General Hospital • Director, Bay Area
Drug Abuse Committee • Harris Co. Precinct Judge, Democratic Executive Committee • Harris Co. District Attorney's
Office, U.S. Senate Intern Programs
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY SATURDAY, MAY 6
Headquarters; 2917 San Jacinto, 522-5816
Paid by Judge Mike Driscoll ( ampaign, 2917 San Jacinto, Houston, Texas 77004,
Red Adair, Chair, Charles L. Whynot, Treasurer