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Judicial Q&A: George Barnstone

(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.)

George Barnstone

George Barnstone

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

My name is George Barnstone, and I am running Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 10.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This court hears A & B misdemeanors.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I am running for this bench because I want to change the pipeline for mentally ill vagrants who are arrested for minor misdemeanor charges and sent to the Harris County Jail. The mentally ill need appropriate treatment, not imprisonment where they don’t receive adequate care.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have been an attorney for twenty years, and I am a member of the College of the State Bar.

5. Why is this race important?

This race is important because it is an opportunity to bring new blood with new ideas on how to treat the mentally ill who are arrested for minor criminal charges. Many of those who live on the street are mentally ill. My opponent is part of the machine that has imprisoned people who need help. The way we treat those who are weakest and can’t defend themselves is a very poor reflection of us as a society and the criminal justice system. Shockingly, the largest mental health facility in the state of Texas is the Harris County Jail.

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

People should vote for me in the primary because we cannot afford monetarily or morally to continue the mass incarceration of those who are in need of treatment.

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