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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 2016 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 for Harris County Civil Court at Law # 1.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

A county civil court at law has jurisdiction in appeals of civil cases from justice courts in Harris County; exclusive jurisdiction in Harris County of eminent domain proceedings, both statutory and inverse, regardless of the amount in controversy.

In addition to other jurisdiction provided by law, a Harris County civil court at law has jurisdiction to:

decide the issue of title to real or personal property;
hear a suit to recover damages for slander or defamation of character;
hear a suit for the enforcement of a lien on real property;
hear a suit for the forfeiture of a corporate charter;
hear a suit for the trial of the right to property valued at $200 or more that has been levied on under a writ of execution, sequestration, or attachment; and
hear a suit for the recovery of real property.

Under the Texas Government Code, “a statutory county court exercising civil jurisdiction concurrent with the constitutional jurisdiction of the county court has concurrent jurisdiction with the district court in . . . civil cases in which the matter in controversy exceeds $500 but does not exceed $100,000 . . . as alleged on the face of the petition.” Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §25.0003 (Vernon Supp. 2009).

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I am running for Harris County Civil Court at Law # 1 to bring fairness and efficiency to the court.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I have been a lawyer for more than 20 years, and I have practiced in the county civil courts.

5. Why is this race important?

This race is important because this court affects consumers’ lives, and the judge needs to have an understanding and compassion for the debtors who appear in this court.

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

People should vote for me because I will bring a balanced approach to the bench and I have integrity. My Democratic primary opponent has voted in 2 of the last 3 REPUBLICAN primaries. His wife and law partner is running in the Republican Primary FOR THE SAME BENCH. They have admitted to the Houston Press that they planned this so that someone in the family wins the bench, and they don’t care how it happens.

The people of Harris County deserve better than this.

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