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Each year, the Collin County Bench Bar Association awards a Litigator of the Year Award.  This year I was honored to receive the 2012 Litigator of the Year award which was presented at the Bench / Bar Conference.

litigator2012Outline

Two categories of the award are given, County Court Litigator of the Year, and District Court Litigator of the Year.  Each of the local bar association nominates an attorney for the both the District and County awards.  The associations are the Plano Bar Association, Collin County Bar Association, Frisco Bar Association, and Collin County Young Lawyers.

At the conference, when the awards were announced, I was honored to hear that I was the only attorney nominated by each of the four bar associations for County Court Litigator of the Year. 

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Drunken moose ends up stuck in Swedish apple tree

By Per Nyberg, CNN
September 8, 2011 9:08 p.m. EDT

A moose got stuck in a tree after eating fermented apples in Saro, Sweden, Wednesday night.
A moose got stuck in a tree after eating fermented apples in Saro, Sweden, Wednesday night.
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About a month ago, I wrote an article Crime Victim Dies of Complications, detailing a certain tree planted in front of the courthouse to commemorate crime victims.  I took a picture showing that the tree had apparently died and been cut down.

I also found it interesting that no one puts up wrongly accused / convicted trees around the courthouse — that might actually cause a jury to think twice about convicting someone. 

.beforetreespaceaftertree

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I was upset to just hear that Collin County’s Law Librarian passed away recently. 

Lori Bull Dodds, who many of us came to know while frequenting the Law Library.  Lori was the assistant Law Librarian and took over for the retiring Director, Judy McCullough in 2009.

I was unable to find any english articles, but did find a Peruvian article, which translated related that she passed away from a heart attack in her tent.  "According to her husband Jeffrei Kin Dodds (54), her partner had died due to cardiac arrest due to the height of the area, which is about four thousand meters above sea level."

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dacLooks like Collin County doesn’t like David Allan Coe’s music as much as I do.  I just saw him play at Trees in Dallas not to long ago.  Might be his last visit to this area in a while.  Here’s the article from the Detroit News.

Country star to IRS: ‘Shove It’

Outlaw country star David Allan Coe might not want to "Take This Job and Shove It." He could use the money to pay off a $1.6 million tax bill, according to public records.

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Collin County New_Logo_TransRecently, a questionnaire was sent out to the candidates for Collin County Court at Law Judges along with the Justice of the Peace candidates.  The questions were put together by myself, the Collin County Observer, and McKinneynews.net.   Most candidates answered and below is their responses which all came in within the deadline we gave (one week).  If others return their answers, I will update this post to add them at that time.  I already know of one candidate, Shawn Ismail who we got mixed up with through email (sorry Shawn), and is planning on completing the questionnaire soon.

Collin County Courts at law hear criminal and civil cases.  A County Court at Law is court of general jurisdiction, hearing both civil and criminal law cases with a heavy emphasis on criminal cases. The criminal cases filed in a county court at law are misdemeanors — those criminal offenses that carry a maximum punishment, upon conviction, of not more than 1 year confinement in jail.

Civil jurisdiction in a County Court at Law is generally invoked in lawsuits that involve controversies up to $100,000.  A County Court at Law also has appellate jurisdiction over cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts.

Justice of the Peace courts hear Class C Misdemeanors (traffic citations, toll violations, truancy cases, public intox, bad checks, etc),and civil cases with a maximum of $10,000 in controversy.

The questions posed are  below:

1. What current or past judge do you most want to inspire your approach to judicial
excellence, and why?


2. What has been the greatest accomplishment in your legal career? In your personal life?

3. What, if anything, would you change to improve the procedures and efficiency of the
court you are seeking?

4. Do you feel that ALL citizens have equal and adequate access to justice in our
county? How would you improve that access?

5. Collin County tracks indigent defense dollars ordered by each judge. What effect
would that reporting have on your decisions to order that the county pay for a
defendant’s defense?

6. What do you perceive as the greatest obstacles to justice in Collin County?

7. Incarceration is the most expensive criminal sanction available. How would that fact
affect your sentencing decisions?

8. Without commenting on a specific case or type of cases, should Collin County
explore more or different types of alternative sentencing? What do you think works?
What would you like to try?

9. Recently a Dallas judge made the news when he replaced a white juror with a
minority one in a capital trial where the jury was all white and the defendant was not.
Do you believe it is important for a minority defendant to have a jury that contains
minority members?

10. When a judge’s sense of justice appears to be at variance to the strict application of
the law, what approach should an ethical judge take to resolve the conflict?

11. Do you believe that our system of partisan election of trial judges should be
continued? How can it be improved?

12. Tell the voters one thing about yourself that isn’t on any website, nor discussed at
any forum.

Below are the candidates answers:

County Court at Law #2
Jerry Lewis
Sharon Ramage
County Court at Law #3
Lance Baxter
Shajeel Khaleel
Stewart Matthews
Barnett Walker
County Court at Law #4
Chrysti Bryant
Linda Drain
Matthew Goeller
David Rippel
County Court at Law #6
Jay Bender
Terri Green
Don High
Shawn Ismail
Justice of the Peace, Prec. 3
Ray Flores
John Payton
Justice of the Peace, Prec. 4
Kelley Adley
Doug Reeves
Mike Yarbrough
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American Red Cross Pledges Initial $1 Million to Haiti Relief

Send a $10 Donation by Texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999

Editorial note: You can make a donation by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or click on the Donate Now button.

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I am proud to announce that our little blog is now syndicated.  Our articles can now be read in several of the Star Local News newspapers.  My article the Collin County Court shuffle ran in the McKinney Courier Gazette on Sunday.

Future articles should be available to read online in the opinion section of the online newspaper under "Star Guests."  I saw that fellow blogger and Collin County Observer’s writer Bill Baumbach also has many articles published by the paper.

The newspapers include:

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I have been told today from several sources that Collin County District Attorney John Roach will not be seeking re-election. I haven’t seen an official press release, but believe it is true.

His campaign website says it is being readied for the 2010 re-election campaign, but hasn’t been updated in a while.

You heard it here first.