Articles Posted in Politics

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Always nice to see the Dallas Morning News reporting on Collin County justice issues.  (Even nicer when they quote me). 

This case was first reported by the CCO, and then a lengthy response and explanation of the law was made by me

Basically, the guy wanted to plea guilty and let the judge punish him.  The DA refused to allow that, which left him but one option.  Plea Not Guilty, and elect the judge to sentence him. At that point, there is a sham trial, which involves about 60 citizens (in this case, possibly 240 citizens, because there were 4 charges), a judge, bailiff, prosecutor, and defense attorney who could all be doing better things with their time.  After the sham trial, the judge sentences the defendant, just like he was asking for in the first place!

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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.

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     Recently, a collaborative effort was made to get a questionnaire answered by the candidates for Collin County District Attorney.  All candidates in the Republican contested primary returned our questionnaire.  (The Democratic candidate has not responded).DAseal

     I thought one way for me to add my commentary is to take what I see as the best answer from each question (sometimes shortened), and post them here.  As was promised to the candidates, the full text of their answers appears at the bottom of this article.

     I hope none of the candidates take my comments too personally.  I consider all three friends.  This is a great race because it is not about who is qualified versus who is not, but rather which is the best from three qualified candidates.  _______________________________________________________________________

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Recently, we sent out 10 questions to the DA candidates. I will go back and analyze some of the answers soon.

Unfortunately, my blog platform is having problems, and I am not able to edit these post very well right now. As soon as it’s back up, I’ll add more. Below is the first article by the Collin County Observer publishing those answers. —

District Attorney candidate questionnaire responses

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With the current election season in full swing in Collin County, many Judicial and District Attorney candidates are vying for the endorsement of local community groups.  I find this process fascinating.  The hope, of course, is that if you as a voter share the same ideals as these groups, maybe you will vote for the candidate as well.

I have been noticing candidates touting some of these endorsements, and I’m not positive what to make of all of these groups. I assume the law enforcement groups (Police Associations), are choosing candidates they either know personally, or think will be pro-law enforcements having criminal law backgrounds. But some of the other groups perplex me more.

I have started to wonder not only what affect these groups may have on voters, but also the strength and legitimacy of these groups. Assuming all groups are legitimate, I wonder how many a)members comprise the group, and b)who makes the endorsement decisions? If a group is 3 members large, is touting their endorsement really any better than listing 3 local attorneys who support you? Or if a group is 1,000 members, but just the president decides on the endorsement, is that a strong endorsement?

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Although I have mostly been writing about Collin County politics, I thought I’d add an article that came out recently on the District Attorney race in Denton County.  (Frisco is a mixture of Denton and Collin!)

Local attorney Brent Bowen is challenging the incumbent in the Republican primary.  Below is an article from the Dallas Morning News.

Candidates tout experience, heritage in DA race

12:04 AM CST on Sunday, February 7, 2010

By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer

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Coming Soon!  A 10 Question and Answer session with the candidates for Collin County District Attorney.  This Q&A is a collaborative effort between myself and the Collin County Observer (CCO).

In the next couple of days, we will be sending out 10 questions to the candidates for DA.  I think it will be helpful to see where the candidates stand on several of these issues.  Because I am a criminal defense attorney who practices in the county, I have tailored some of the questions to reflect important issues to practicing attorneys.  The other questions, with the help of the CCO are more geared towards the average voter who will not have much direct contact with the Judicial System.

The candidates will be given the questions in writing, and have several days to respond.  I will post their answers here on the blog.

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Recently, several candidates for the Republican primary came to the Allen Area Patriots club to discuss the race for Collin County District Attorney.  Videos of the candidates were uploaded to youtube, and I have added them here to the blog.  A big thank you to "mopenshaw" whoever you are.You can read bios of the candidates on my previous post HERE.

JEFF BRAY

GREG WILLIS

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Recently, the Collin County GOP held their draw for ballot placement on the upcoming primary.  It has been said that ballot placement can affect votes.  “Position effect is found to account for a bonus of 0.7% to 5.2% of the precinct-level vote share per position on the ballot.”  Below are the placements for some of the candidates on the ballot.  Below that are some links and articles on the effects of ballot placement.  The entire list of candidates and their placement on the ballot can be found on the Collin GOP website.

District Judge, District 219

• Scott J. Becker

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With the politics season on the rise, I have been getting tons of mail from people running for office and asking for money.  I think one of the best  ways to ensure you wont be getting a contribution is to send a letter to me like this:

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Yes, please address it to "Hunter Benavides" at the Collin County District Attorney’s office, but use my private practice address.  Perfect!  Make sure to put in a form letter with it as well.