Here I go again, stepping into a race down at the Harris County Courthouse. But when you block out all the noise in the race for Judge of the 179th District Criminal Court, Kristin Guiney stands head and shoulders above her opponent.
This is a nasty race for two reasons. One is the passion that comes from the people that work at the Harris County Courthouse and can’t imagine that anyone would disagree with them on anything. The second is that Kristin’s opponent in this race, Lana Shadwick, is a long time participant in Republican Party circles. And the people in those circles are just as passionate as those that work in the courthouse in that if you haven’t been working side by side with them to get Republicans elected, you shouldn’t be running for office.
The combination of these two passionate camps leads to one of those races that you really want to steer clear of if you aren’t in either camp. But, as luck would have it, we do have a vote and we must make a choice because there are only two people in the race, one from each camp. And as I said above, if you can block out the noise coming from the two camps and just review their qualifications, it is clear that Kristin Guiney is the right choice.
So then, what are their qualifications? Here is a table of their education and work history:
But, many say, Kristin Guiney has spent most of her career with one employer, the Harris County District Attorney’s office, while Lana Shadwick has had a variety of jobs. Shouldn’t a judge have a broad range of experience?
Well, only if all things were equal. This is a criminal court and Lana Shadwick simply doesn’t have the experience necessary to judge criminal cases. She has never prosecuted a criminal case and has only has a handful of criminal cases in which she was the defense attorney. That is a far cry from Kristin Guiney’s experience in the criminal justice system. Let’s look at Kristin Guiney’s career at the HCDAO:
- Supervise and train prosecutors assigned to court
- Responsible for the handling of all capital cases
- Appointed by First Assistant to Committee on Discovery Procedures
- Prepare arrest and search warrants
- Prepare and present cases to be taken directly to Grand Jury
- Present probable cause to magistrate on felony and misdemeanor cases
- Prosecuted cases involving physical and sexual abuse of children.
- Worked closely with the law enforcement personnel and therapists from the Children’s Assessment Center
- Tried over 80 jury trial cases including four non death capital cases
- Spearheaded committee and prepared presentations for Proposals to Commissioners Court requesting additional personnel and salary increases
Her opponent simply cannot match that in her career. Those first two are especially important because it shows that Kristin Guiney was well respected by her peers and her supervisors.
For this voter, it is important that a criminal court judge understand capital murder and the death penalty. Although I wish that Kristen hadn’t given Terry Lowry $11,075 this cycle, the least I can do is point you to her interviews with Terry on capital punishment. I don’t like a lot of what Terry does (okay, most) but the truth is that he is a pretty decent interviewer of candidates for judicial positions. He asks the right questions and gets out of the way so that the candidate has free rein to answer them So I urge you to listen to Kristin Guiney talk about capital punishment.
- Kristin Guiney – Terry Lowry Part 1
- Kristin Guiney – Terry Lowry Part 2
- Kristin Guiney – Terry Lowry Part 3
- Kristin Guiney – Terry Lowry Part 4
Her opponent lists a capital murder appeal on her website that she claims to have handled, but I cannot find any supporting documents for that claim. Criminal District Court judges exercise daily discretion in serious cases that directly impact public safety. The discretion extends from setting bonds to approving plea bargains, supervising probationers, conducting jury trials, and assessing punishment. Because she has never handled a criminal case in a trial court, she has no experience with bail, reviewing search warrants or any knowldege of probation programs. How can she possibly be expected to handle hundreds of cases a month? The position of judge should not be a learning on the job experience.
Look, I like Lana, I really do. She is funny, smart, and has a smile bigger than Texas. If she were running for a family court judge position, I’d support her in a heartbeat. But she isn’t running for a family court bench.
For this criminal district court bench, it is clear to me that Kristin Guiney is the clear choice. I hope you take the time to study the two candidates in this race because if you do, and can block out the noise, I think you’ll agree with me.