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24th District Court Judge Republican Primary

May 20, 2012 at 12:20 a.m.

Jack Marr

Editor's Note: Early voting is May 14-25 for the May 29 general election. To help our readers learn more about candidates in the contested races, we will publish responses to the League of Women Voters questionnaire. Candidates Jack Marr and Chuck Cole respond today.

• NAME: Jack W. Marr

• AGE: 62

• CITY/COUNTY OF RESIDENCE: Victoria, Victoria County

• OCCUPATION: Attorney for 37 years

Background and Qualifications:

Business and Law Degrees from Texas Tech University. Since 1975 have practiced Civil, Family, and Criminal Law in Victoria, handling over 2,000 cases. Board Certified as a Family Law Specialist. Numerous awards for legal excellence. Avid hunter and sportsman. Married for over 40 years, with 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Why are you seeking this office?

Choosing judges is important, as poor choices when electing judges lead to the denial of justice. A judge who has meager knowledge of the law or inadequate trial experience will invariably make mistakes and unjust rulings. I am the only candidate for this position who has the full range of trial experience, legal education, and professional training to effectively fulfill the duties of District Judge. The judges' bench is no place to "learn as you go", and with over 35 years of legal experience, I have the knowledge and wisdom to apply the law fairly and justly.

What is your judicial philosophy regarding how you would apply U.S. and Texas constitutional law to the facts of cases before you?

I believe strongly that our Constitutions mean what they say. I took a solemn oath as an attorney to support them, and will keep my word. I see the U.S. and Texas Constitutions as the supreme law of the land, and laws that violate them should be void. I believe in strict constitutional interpretation, and am offended when judges "interpret" our Constitutions based on their personal ideology. These Constitutions guarantee all citizens due process of law, and it is the duty of judges to listen carefully to the facts of each case, and apply the written law to those facts.

How do your past professional and life experiences qualify you for this office?

I worked my way through college, and have never been afraid of hard work. I have over 35 years of hands-on courtroom experience, having tried Civil, Criminal, and Family Law cases. I am the only candidate who is Board Certified as a Legal Specialist, and as a husband, father, and grandfather, I understand the importance of the law to our families. I have handled over 2,000 cases, and received numerous awards for legal excellence. I am a Fellow of the College of the State Bar, and have been recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly Magazine continuously since 2005.

What are your thoughts on changing to a system that elects judges in a bi-partisan fashion?

Such changes could have merit if they also included requirements that candidates possess verifiable qualifications to hold the judicial office they seek. Our current system does not help voters determine the true qualifications of judicial candidates, and the judges' bench is no place for "on the job training". Changes to the system should encourage voters to seek valid information regarding candidate qualifications. Until such changes occur, party affiliation will continue to be a factor for many voters. Voters should look critically at the qualifications of candidates, and be wary of those who suddenly switch party affiliations at election time.

• NAME: Chuck Cole

• AGE: 53

• CITY/COUNTY OF RESIDENCE: Victoria, Victoria County

• OCCUPATION: Attorney with Cole, Cole & Easley, P.C. for 18 years

Background and Qualifications:

I am a 4th generation resident of Victoria County. I have been married to Danna for 27 years and have four children and one brand new grandson. I am also the Volunteer Youth Director for LifePointe Fellowship Church since its inception in 2008.

Why are you seeking this office?

Those who have been blessed by a society have a duty to give back to it. Luke 12:48 states, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." This community has been wonderful to me and my family, and over the years I've worked with a variety of civic and charitable organizations. Becoming a grandfather for the first time was a life-changing moment, however, and it made me realize I have a responsibility to ensure our justice system remains strong for future generations.

What is your judicial philosophy regarding how you would apply U.S. and Texas constitutional law to the facts of cases before you?

I am a strict constructionist committed to providing a courtroom with an even playing field where everyone is treated equally and with respect. I believe in the Rule of Law, which means that cases will be decided on their merits. The courtroom is no place for activist judges who want to write or apply the law to conform to their personal or political beliefs. Serving as a judge is a privilege which must be honorably exercised, so I will seek to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly in service to my fellow citizens.

How do your past professional and life experiences qualify you for this office?

For 17 years, the courtroom has been my office. I love the law, but it only works if we have conservative judges who strictly interpret it as it is written. I have handled more than 1,000 cases, including more than 70 cases before juries in Texas courtrooms. I am a partner in the Victoria law firm of Cole, Cole & Easley, P.C., and I was recently named a "Texas Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly magazine. I earned a B.B.A. from Baylor University and J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston.

What are your thoughts on changing to a system that elects judges in a bi-partisan fashion?

I am opposed to non-partisan judicial elections.

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