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Judicial Q&A: Allecia Pottinger

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. You can see all of my interviews as well as finance reports and other information on candidates on my 2014 Election page.)

Allecia Pottinger

1. Who are you and what are you running for?

I am a wife and mother who has practiced law as an attorney in Harris County and its surrounding counties for over 18 years. After becoming the staff attorney for the NAACP in 1997, I was later elected the legal program director for the organization. In 1997, I started working for the NAACP as the staff attorney and later became their legal program director. Currently, I am a hearing examiner for the Texas Education Agency and an independent practitioner who founded the Lindsey Pottinger Law Firm, PLLC, which specializes in Family Law.

I’m running for judge for the 280th District Court of Harris County, which hears all of the domestic violence cases in the county, and issues protective orders.

The desire I have is simply to be an honest and fair judge, and to work for the people of the community in which I serve. I am vehemently against any form of domestic violence, and seek to issue protection to families in need, offer opportunities for those cemented in the cycle of violence, and fair solutions for the parties involved in these circumstances.

I believe that every judge should care about the people they serve, be fair, and listen to their concerns!

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The 280th Judicial District Court of Harris County is solely responsible for all of the civil domestic violence cases in Harris County and only those types of cases.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I have a passion for those who are abused, downtrodden and disenfranchised. I can’t think of any other court where my service as a judge would impact people whom I have a passion for. Further, I have been dishearten by a consistent decrease in numbers of domestic violence cases brought before the court since the current presiding judge has been on the bench.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have been practicing law for a little over 18 years and 60% of my practice has been in the area of family law. Equally, I have had experience of hearing cases as an administrative law judge for the Texas Education Agency and issuing decisions on the cases I have heard. This experience has prepared me for this opportunity.

5. Why is this race important?

In 2012, there were 38,490 incidents of domestic violence reported in Harris County.

  • 26% of all Texas female intimate homicides occurred in Harris County in 2012.
  • 30 women were killed in 2012 in Harris County due to domestic violence.
  • In 2009, the Houston Police Department alone tallied 27,214 reported incidents of domestic violence.
  • The most recent year for which complete area- and state-wide data is available is 2009. Law-enforcement agencies in Harris County received 41,506 reports of domestic violence.

However, these numbers are not reflected in the amount of cases that flow through the 280th District Court at this time. The numbers are so low that this court doesn’t warrant having an associate judge which is what most family law courts have in this county. This means that more needs to be done to ensure that this court is sensitive to the needs of those who will come before this court seeking help. It also means that the court needs to create an atmosphere that is conducive to more attorneys desiring to practice before this court on a pro bono basis so that more victims can be served.

6. Why should people vote for you in the primary?

I am the candidate who has integrity, cares about the people she serves and will be fair. I am not swayed by public opinion, but only what is right. I strive for justice, and am not afraid to administer it as swiftly as possible. My desire is for the victims who will potentially come before me; not for political gain. I want those who step into my courtroom to know a decision will be reached based on the facts; not conjecture or presupposition, or biased opinion.

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