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Victoria County Court-of-Law Judge takes on new judicial assignment

By Gheni_Platenburg
Dec. 23, 2011 at 6:23 a.m.

Weiser

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Figuring out a way to make the judicial system more accessible to economically disadvantaged people is just one of the issues Victoria County Court-at- Law No. 1 Judge Laura Weiser hopes to tackle during her time on the Texas Judicial Council.

Weiser was appointed to the Texas Judicial Council on Dec. 6 by Wallace B. Jefferson, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, according to Supreme Court miscellaneous docket 11-9238.

This appointment is to fulfill the unexpired term of Judge F. Alfonso Charles, which expires Feb. 1, 2013, according to the docket.

Weiser's appointment makes her the only court-at-law judge serving on the council, which is composed of other judges, legislators and citizen leaders.

"I was very pleased the chief justice thought about me. Being from a smaller county, we feel sometimes that the larger counties get more attention than we do. It's nice to be able to offer the perspective of a smaller county and put that into the mix too," said Weiser, 52. "I was delighted to accept."

The Texas Judicial Council is the policy-making body for the state judiciary.

Created in 1929 by the 41st Texas Legislature, the council studies methods to simplify judicial procedures, expedite court business, and better administer justice.

It also examines the work accomplished by the courts and submits recommendations for improvement of the system to the Legislature, the Governor and the Supreme Court.

Her appointment to the council is the latest feat for the Victoria judge.

The Denver native earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Houston Baptist University in 1980. She taught in both the Houston and Alief school districts.

Wanting a change, she enrolled at the University of Houston Law School, where she graduated in 1985.

Weiser's first legal job came in 1986 when she began working as a law clerk for the Law Offices of Frank S. Buhler.

She later went on to work as an attorney for the Law Offices of Cole, Cole and Easley and Coastal Bend Legal Services before joining the Victoria County Criminal District Attorney's Office as a prosecutor in 1988.

About two years later, former Victoria County Court-at- Law No. 1 Judge Jerry Garrett began encouraging Weiser to look into the judiciary.

"I thought he was pretty optimistic," said Weiser. "I was 31 and female and that is unusual for Victoria and the judiciary, but I was fortunate enough to win the election."

She took the bench in 1990.

In addition to presiding over civil, criminal, mental, juvenile and probate dockets, Weiser has also spent her time working on the juvenile justice commission for the judiciary, and in the early 2000s, served as the elected chair of the judicial section of the state bar and chair of the Texas Center for Judiciary.

Reaching back to her teaching roots, she has also served as both a faculty member and faculty advisor for the Texas College for New Judges for about 10 years.

"You never really lose that love of teaching. I've been lucky enough to continue to teach in different ways," said Weiser.

She added laughingly, "It's a great way to meet all the new judges. They look at me as the old, grizzled veteran."

Other members of the council include Sharon Keller, presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and vice chair of the council; Kelly Moore, a judge in the 121st Judicial District; Senators Chris Harris, R-Arlington, and Jim Jackson, R-Carrollton.

"Instead of just focusing on problems at hand, we anticipate what the problems and issues will be in the future so we can be ready to meet them," said Weiser. "I'd like to work myself out of a job in that way, but I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon."

Weiser's other accolades include being named South Texas Woman of the Year in 1998 and receiving a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas in 2006.

"I'll try to make Victoria proud," said Weiser.

When the mother of two adult children is not making major judicial decisions, she said she enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham novels, traveling and spending time with her newly retired husband.

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