1. Who are you, and what are you running for?
I am Judge Rory R. Olsen. I am seeking reelection to Harris County Probate Court Number Three.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
Probate Court Number Three hears traditional probate matters: decedent’s estates; guardianships; matters relating to trusts; and lawsuits incident to an estate. In addition, Probate Court Number Three also hears mental health commitment cases and medication petitions filed upon prisoners in the county jail who are awaiting transport to a state mental health facility because they were either found by a criminal court to be too mental ill to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.
3. Why are you running for this particular bench?
I am seeking another term. I have had the great pleasure of being the judge of this court for almost a dozen years and am seeking another four years. Originally, I ran for this particular bench because it does mental health cases. During my time on the bench, I have been innovative in seeking solutions to the problem of an ever increasing flow of proposed mental health patients and a limited number of hospital beds. In these endeavors, I have worked with the HPD to help them launch their crisis intervention team and have worked with several other law enforcement agencies to enable me to hold the medication hearings for prisoners in the Harris County Jail. These hearings have shortened the time that patients spend in custody awaiting final disposition of their cases, which has reduced the costs to the taxpayers. I have received recognition and endorsements from many police related organizations including P.O.L.I.C.E., Inc and the HPOU.
4. What are your qualifications for this job?
In addition to my law degree from Duke University, I also hold an M.B.A. from U.N.C., a Master of Laws in Taxation from S.M.U. and recently was awarded a Master of Judicial Studies from the National Judicial College. I have spoken and written extensively on various aspects of probate and mental health practice. I have taught at both the National Judicial College and at the law school at U. of H. My professional experience in the area encompasses more than thirty years, the last dozen of which have been in my current position.
5. Why is this race important?
Inheritances, guardianships and mental health matters are important to everyone, since we all have friend and relatives who die, become incapacitated or may need psychiatric care. Probate Court Number Three is an efficient court, maintaing the smallest docket of the four statutory probate courts in Harris County. In addition to these matters, by law the judge of Probate Court Number Three is also the administrative judge of the courts dealing with mental health cases. Between the traditional probate matters and the mental health issues, the judge of Probate Court Number Three has responsibility for wisely administering a budget of two million dollars of taxpayers money.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
People should vote for me because I have the education, knowledge and experience to keep Probate Court Number Three functionally smoothly. My opponent lacks these things. Indeed, she is unknown the probate bar and as of the beginning of this year, the records of the Harris County Clerk’s office did not show her having done any probate work in Harris County. The choice is clear: education; knowledge and experience versus a lack of these things. It would be foolish to turn over a two million dollar budget to someone lacking experience in these areas.