I am judge of the 129th District Court, a
lifelong Houstonian, and graduate of Rice University andthe UH Law Center. I care about our community and enjoyserving its people. I pledge to treat everyone with dignityand respect and to follow the law without agenda or bias.
Judges should aspire to see justice done in everycase. At the very least, this means that all parties shouldhave an opportunity to be heard and have their positionsconscientiously considered. In processing last-minute ap- peals, Courts should make reason-able accommodations to parties to
facilitate lings and argument so that every party has their day in Court.
Judges should recuse themselves when their impartiality in a par-ticular matter may reasonably be questioned or as required under the laws or rules of the state of Texas. Judges should also strive to avoid the appearance
of impropriety and work to maintain public condence in their ability to rule
fairly and without preference.
M I C H A E L G O M E Z ( D )
1ST COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 4Background:
I’ve served in this position for over a year.
I’m a former Baker Botts partner and for two years I
worked at federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. I gradu-ated from UT Law School with honors, and I’ve frequently presented and organized continuing legal education. I aman Eagle Scout.
Life-or-death circumstances can result in “last-minute appeals” requiring immediate review. The mainissues are identifying emergency circumstances and getting the information
to judges for prompt action. Our court accepts after-hours emergency lings.When the ofce is closed, phones
are still answered. Court staff andthe after-hours operators know how to contact me at any time. I am alwaysready to perform my judicial duties.
Recusals in appropriate cases are essential to preserve the integrityof the judiciary and to avoid appearances of impropriety. I will recuse in allcircumstances required under the Texas Constitution and procedural rules(see TRCP Rule 18b), including but not limited to cases in which I may have
a nancial or other material interest, or if I have personal knowledge aboutdisputed facts. I currently recuse in all cases involving my former law rm.
M I C H A E L M A S S E N G A L E ( R )
1ST COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 8Background:
For 25 years, I have been working as a Texas trial lawyer inmany types of cases involving a wide variety of issues. I have also handledappellate cases and worked for a Court of Appeals.
Most important is that the appellate justices carefully guard therights of the parties, and ensure that both the letter and spirit of proceduraland constitutional law is observed and followed.
If I have a conict of
interest that would cause me to be biased or prejudiced or either the appearance of impropriety or substantiveethical concerns are an issue, I would consider recusal appropriate.
R O B E R T R A Y ( D )
1ST COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 8Background:
I am the only candidate with judicial experi-
ence. I have served as a District Court Judge, and as a
Justice of the Peace. I have more than 8 years appellateexperience as an attorney for the Texas Court of CriminalAppeals. I currently practice administrative, juvenile, civiland criminal law.
One way to assist in the processing of last minute
appeals is to allow for electronic lings, however, beforethat may be accomplished; the procedures for electronic lings must be ap
- proved by the Texas Supreme Court. Another way to assist in the processingof last minute appeals is to assigna duty judge responsible for re-ceiving such matters and communicating duty judge assignments to litigants.Such procedures have been used successfully by courts for decades.
The obvious answer is that I would recuse myself from cases inwhich I participated as Judge, as a lawyer, or if I have a personal interest in acase. The larger issue arises from having an elected judiciary. Large contri-
butions from law rms are eroding public condence in the court system, yet
according to the US Supreme Court, recusal is not required, unless the contri- bution creates a risk of actual bias or prejudgment.
M E L I S S A G O O D W I N ( R )
3RD COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 4THE 3rd COURT OF APPEALS SERVES THE FOLLOWING TEXAS COUNTIES:Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Coke, Comal, Concho, Fayette, Hays, Irion, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, McCulloch, Milam, Mills,Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Sterling, Tom Green, Travis & WilliamsonBackground:
I am a board-certied appellate attorney and
have handled the types of appeals that make this courtimportant. I also teach appellate advocacy at UT LawSchool. Previously, I was an Assistant Solicitor General,representing Texas in criminal and civil appeals. I have beennamed a “Texas Super Lawyer.”
When handling last-minute appeals, the partiesand the legal issues must receive the same care and attentionas in any other appeal. At the same time, the court must notcause unnecessary delay. I wouldmove these cases quickly byworking tirelessly, deciding the cases on appropriately narrow grounds, andwriting succinct opinions. My experience advocating many cases in this verycourt makes me well-equipped to handle the court’s tight deadlines.
It is crucial that we keep the impartiality and integrity of our judi-ciary beyond reproach. The law requires a judge to step aside from decidinga case when his or her impartiality, whether or not actually affected, couldreasonably be called into question. I will follow that standard.
K U R T K U H N ( D )
3RD COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 4THE 4th COURT OF APPEALS SERVES THE FOLLOWING TEXAS COUNTIES:Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Brooks, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney,La Salle, Mason, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Menard, Real, Starr, Sutton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Webb, Wilson, Zapata & ZavalaBackground:
As current Justice on the Fourth Court of Appeals I have authored hundreds of opinions in criminaland civil cases. With eighteen years legal experience, Ihave worked as an Assistant United States Attorney,
corporate counsel, and rm attorney, handling litigation,
appeals, and multi-district litigation representing all sides.
Last minute appeals must be ripe, meaning thatall issues must have an order or judgment allowing for theappeal. The appeal must be jurisdictionally ripe and timely
led. Pre-mature lings are not permitted. Limited extensions of time are
granted in order to allow the partyto perfect the appeal. Generally,time extensions are granted for limited periods in the interest of justice provided there is not a history of abuse of requests.
I would recuse myself from cases in which a party to the case was aformer client of mine from within the last two years before I became a judge.I would also recuse myself from any case in which I or any immediate family
member had any conict of interest. I would recuse myself on a case to avoid
any appearance of impropriety.
M A R I A L Y N B A R N A R D ( R )
4TH COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 2Background:
Educated at SMU and Boston University School of Law,
former law clerk, and 17 years of actual courtroom experience, representing plaintiffs and defendants from individuals to large corporations, I offer themost fair and impartial resolution to the diversity of cases that come beforethe 4th Court of Appeals.
I hope to handle them by applying the law in the most fair and justway, keeping in mind that every voice should be heard and that the courtsshould be open to hear them as the law allows. My experience in the appel-
late courts as a brieng attorney, together with my litigation experience, lends
itself to more fair, reasoned andmeasured decision-making inresolving issues on appeal from the trial courts.
Recusal is necessary when my impartiality might reasonably bequestioned, especially if there’s any evidence of personal bias or prejudicetowards a party or counsel. For example, if a personal (or extrajudicial) biasexists, like when a family member is a party or has an interest affected by theoutcome. Recusal is necessary to avoid ruling on some basis other than whatis learned from the facts of the case.
R E B E C A C . M A R T I N E Z ( D )
4TH COURT CANDIDATE, PLACE 2