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Judicial Q&A: Randy Roll

(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 2016 Election page.)

Randy Roll

Randy Roll

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

I am Randy Roll, former judge of the 179th Criminal District Court. I am now running in the Democratic Primary for that court.

I am a former teacher & translator. Originally from Port Arthur, I have lived in Houston since 1974. I have been practicing Criminal Law for 28 years.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

This felony district court hears only criminal cases. From felony assault to murder, drug cases, theft, burglary, sexual assault and many more.

The penalties for felonies began with State Jail Felony punishable by not less than 180 days in State Jail Facility nor more than 24 months. 3rd degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in the penitentiary (TDC), 2nd degree 2 to 20 years, 1st degree 5 to 99 years.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I was the judge of this court (179th) from 2009 to 2012. I brought innovation and new administration to the bench. I was the first to require attorneys handling DNA to have special knowledge and training. Reformed the grand jury makeup to reflect the county’s diversity. Instituted new bond procedures for 1st time offenders. The present judge more than doubled the docket that I left, this has slowed the judicial process where defendants now must remain in jail much longer than before to have their day in court.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have 28 years experience with criminal law exclusively. More than 110 trials to verdict. I have a good work ethic. In the 4 years I had this bench, I took only 8 days vacation. We worked longer hours than other courts and reduced the wait for trial from years to 3 months. I was never reversed on any trial.

5. Why is this race important?

We need to put fairness back in the courthouse. Of the 37 judges there, we have only 3 Democrats. Everyone should have the same opportunities from the court. Presently that is not the case. Hispanics and African Americans face different standards of justice from an all Republican judiciary. We Democratic judges pushed through and supported the Public Defender’s Office against the wishes of the republican judges.

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

I have a track record as a sitting judge. I followed the law and gave everyone equal access to the court. I was never reversed by the appellate courts and that is a singular accomplishment among the 22 felony judges. We had the most multilingual court of the 22. I am fluent in Russian, German, French and Spanish. I reformed, the Grand Jury makeup, DNA use in court, and popularized bond specific cases and pretrial bonds. I want to continue these reforms that have suffered under an almost all republican judiciary. I am the best candidate in the primary to institute these reforms. In the Democratic Primary, voters should support me because of my deep Democratic Party roots as evidenced by my long term (since 2002) involvement in the Democratic party, my history of running as a Democrat and my extensive contribution of time and money to Democratic Party causes.

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