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Candidates for Texas Supreme Court, Place 4 respond to questions

Oct. 28, 2012 at 5:28 a.m.

John Devine

Editor's note: The Advocate is profiling candidates in the Nov. 6 election. This profile compiled by the League of Women Voters features candidates for Texas Supreme Court, Place 4.

• Name: John Devine

• Political Party: Republican

• Campaign Phone: 713-429-4141

• Website: devineforsupremecourt.com

• Email: john@devineforsupremecourt.com

What is your education and experience?

South Texas College of Law; Board of Civil District Judges Mass Torts Comm.; Board of Civil District Judges; Dist Judge, 190th Dist Court, 1995-2002; Special Judge, Harris Co. J.P. Courts, 2002-11; Harris County Juvenile Bd; Harris County Juvenile Justice School Bd; Texas Assn of State Judges; American Judges Association.

How do you maintain impartiality, given the need to raise funds for political campaigns?

In 1995, Devine was elected to the 190th Civil District Court. Devine is known for his fair treatment of the parties and lawyers appearing in front of him and for his fierce fidelity of both the U.S. and Texas constitutions and statutes.

The Texas Supreme Court oversees and controls rules and standards for the legal profession. What changes to the attorney disciplinary rules are needed to provide better protection to the public?

No Response.

How have you worked toward improving access to justice for all Texans and what role should the Texas Supreme Court play in ensuring access to justice?

John served eight years on the bench and compiled an impressive judicial record: Devine's court ranked No. 1 in reducing the court's case load. Devine's decisions were reversed in appeals court less than any other judge at the time. He has also been named the "Judge of the Year" by police organizations and awarded the title of "Texas Size Hero" by Focus on the Family magazine.

• Name: Tom Oxford

• Political Party: Libertarian

• Email: Oxford@waldmansmallwood.com

What is your education and experience?

The University of Texas, The University of Houston; Managing Attorney Waldman and Smallwood PC

How do you maintain impartiality, given the need to raise funds for political campaigns?

I do not accept campaign donations. A review of Texas Supreme Court decisions over the past 10 years would certainly indicate a reason for concern. The groups providing the funds seem to also be the groups benefiting from the court's decisions. Maybe that is just a coincidence?

The Texas Supreme Court oversees and controls rules and standards for the legal profession. What changes to the attorney disciplinary rules are needed to provide better protection to the public?

The rules are generally adequate as written. We do need more attention paid to conflicts of interest for judges.

How have you worked toward improving access to justice for all Texans and what role should the Texas Supreme Court play in ensuring access to justice?

I previously managed a nonprofit legal aid office that provided legal assistance to low income Texans. I am currently active in the Jefferson County pro bono program.

• Name: Charles E. Waterbury

• Political Party: Green

• Email: charles@waterburylawpc.com

What is your education and experience?

Baylor Law JD May 1992, Texas Christian University BS May 1989. Actively practiced law since 1992. Run my own law firm since 1996.

How do you maintain impartiality, given the need to raise funds for political campaigns?

Reject contributions from PACs of any kind.

The Texas Supreme Court oversees and controls rules and standards for the legal profession. What changes to the attorney disciplinary rules are needed to provide better protection to the public?

The present disciplinary rules are appropriate and provide protection to the public.

How have you worked toward improving access to justice for all Texans and what role should the Texas Supreme Court play in ensuring access to justice?

By representing individuals against insurance companies for more than 16 years. The Texas Supreme Court must return to focusing on protecting individuals rather than protecting entities that may provide subsequent employment opportunities.

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