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Collin County – County Court Q&A Answers

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   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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