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Sandra McKenzie: Candidate says she has best level of experience

By BY SANDRA McKENZIE
Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:27 a.m.

Sandra McKenzie is running as the Democratic candidate for 24th District Judge.

Crossroads voters take seriously their voting responsibilities; and, in local races - which affect their daily lives - vote the candidate and not the party. Crossroads voters know that district judges should be elected not on party affiliation but on trial experience, personal character and legal, ethical and moral convictions.

Voters recognize that judges must follow the law, ignoring political trends, special interests, and party cronyism. Furthermore, judges are the interpreters of facts before the courts. As a mediator and an attorney with 27 years experience, I challenge my opponent's statements about my qualifications, as well as his characterizations of the judicial responsibilities associated with the district courts. In October, my opponent argued in a Houston fundraising letter that 70 percent of all court cases filed in the district were family law cases. However, Texas' Office of Courts' Records reveal that only 42 percent are family law cases; the other cases are civil or criminal. Furthermore, a significant percentage of the family law cases were handled by an associate judge.

My opponent, a divorce attorney, has limited legal experiences, rarely arguing cases before a jury. Indeed, his legal experience rests mostly with motions and non-jury trials. In 2011, only two divorce cases resulted in jury trials in the district. Presenting arguments to a judge during a divorce docket does not equate to jury trial court room experience. Court records reveal that about 87 percent of the civil jury trials in our district are general civil cases - not divorce. Unlike my opponent, I have extensive courtroom experience as a civil litigator, arguing complex cases not only before judges, but also before juries; not only in the district, but also across the state. In my practice, I have represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of cases. Such experiences are required for a district judge, who makes sure that the lawyers follow the rules of evidence and procedure during jury trials, non-jury trials and motions. As a litigator and mediator, I know the rules and will work to streamline the process to save litigation costs and time.

I take issue with my opponent's campaign statements, when he said that a district judge is the "most powerful man in America . and he can take your life, liberty, property and children."

My opponent's pronouncements are simply untrue. Being a judge is not about power - it is about service. A judge must pronounce decisions, which are both consistent with the law, as well as juries' findings. Every judicial ruling is subject to higher courts' review.

The 24th District Judge presides over civil, criminal and family law cases in six diverse counties. Such responsibilities require that the district judge have broad legal experiences, not just in one area of the law. I bring the courtroom experience of a civil litigator who has mediated family cases and handled criminal cases. Furthermore, I bring real life experiences, not only as a wife, rancher and businesswoman, but also as a working woman raising a grandchild. I offer a common-sense approach - sensitive to peoples' needs - but firmly applying the law to facts, equally to all. I believe that district judges should work to reduce court costs, save tax dollars and encourage settlements. As your next district judge, my core values will continue to inform my opinions: love of God, family, the rule of law and the people of Texas will be ever-present in my decision making.

I ask for your vote on Nov. 6. Put party politics aside. Vote for the most qualified.

Vote Sandra McKenzie for District Judge.

Sandra McKenzie is the Democratic candidate for 24th District Judge. Voters can contact her with questions or comments at sandra@SandraMcKenzie.com.

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