1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
My name is Diane Bull, and I have been the presiding judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law #11 since 1995. I’m running for re-election for my 5th 4-year term of office. It has been my honor to serve this community for nearly 16 years as judge. My full bio is available at www.dianebull.com.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
County Criminal Court at Law #11 is a criminal court where Class A and B misdemeanor cases are heard. There are 15 Criminal Courts at Law in Harris County and together we handled approximately 84,000 cases last year. We hear primarily DWI, domestic assault and numerous drug cases, as well as vehicle burglaries, theft and vice cases.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
As a long time judge, former prosecutor and wife of a retired HPD officer, I am deeply concerned about the safety of our community and the fair administration of justice. I have presided over many thousands of cases and hundreds of jury trials. I have hundreds of hours of specialized judicial training that makes me uniquely qualified for this position. As our community expands and changes, so must the courts adapt and meet new challenges. Harris County ranks highest in the nation in DWI fatalities. This is an unacceptable statistic. To this end, I and some of my colleagues have created specialty DWI Court caseloads, in addition to our regular dockets, to intercede and address high risk offenders. Presently, my court has the largest such caseload in Harris County. These courts have been tremendously successful locally and nationwide and must continue.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
I am an honors graduate of Texas A & M, and a graduate of Baylor Law School. I was an Assistant District Attorney for 5 years, and for the next five years served as staff counsel for local police organizations and as a solo practitioner of criminal law. In my over 25 years experience practicing criminal law, I have personally tried nearly a hundred jury trials, have presided as judge over thousands of cases, hundreds of jury trials and innumerable contested matters. For more than 15 years, I have consistently maintained one of the lowest and most current dockets in Harris County. I have hundreds of hours of specialized judicial training and am a 2007 graduate of the Texas College for Judicial Studies. I have received numerous awards, honors and recognition for judicial excellence from local law enforcement organizations, charitable organizations, and victims‘ rights organizations such as MADD and Crime Stoppers. I have chaired the Houston Bar Association’s IDEA Committee, which sends doctors and lawyers to local schools to educate youth about the dangers of drug use. I presently serve on the Budget Board for our judicial region and am Chairman of the Harris County Bail Bond Board. I won the Houston Bar Association’s Judicial Qualification Poll and also their Judicial Preference Poll. I am passionate about my court and committed to fair and efficient administration of justice.
5. Why is this race important?
Many people may feel that misdemeanor cases are not serious. This is a dangerous misconception. These courts are vitally important because so many of our offenders are between the ages of 17 and 25. An offender’s appearance in county court is often our first and best opportunity to intercede to prevent recidivism in this high risk age group. This is particularly true in DWI cases where the potential for tragedy is so great. If appropriate action is not taken in these courts, defendants all too often return again and again until they “graduate” to felony crime. It is essential to have an experienced, dedicated and well-trained judge in these important courts.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
I believe I have been a good steward of this court for the past 15 years, and am committed to continuing to provide a fair, courteous and efficient court. Experience, qualification, training and dedication make a difference in these important courts.
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