Montgomery County 221st Judicial Election CandidatesWritten by: Chris Print This Article
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)
Just recently it’s come out that Judge Suzanne Stovall won’t be running for re-election as a judge in Montgomery County, Texas. She’s been repeatedly criticized for her judicial decisions and actions as discussed in a previous article. According to Incumbents gain opponents with last-minute filings published just a few days ago, Suzanne Stovall didn’t file an application to run for re-election:
“There’s always some last-minute surprises,” Wilkerson said. “We have some very competent and qualified candidates. I’m delighted with the caliber of the people in a couple of judge races (CCL No. 2 and state District Court 221st). County residents will have difficult decisions to make.”
Scott Golemon, Lisa Benge Michalk, John Devine and David O’Neill are the candidates running for the 221st state District Court.
Judge Suzanne Stovall did not file to run for re-election.
Rumors are that Judge Stovall wants to retire, but she hasn’t publicly stated why she’s not running. So now the voters in the district have a choice from four candidates in the March 2, 2010 primary election. However, very little information is available on how they view the important function of family law judge. Voters need more information on this matter to make a good choice to ensure that Stovall’s replacement will be a more fair and competent judge.
Political Parties and Family Values
All four candidates are Republicans. You might think that Republicans would be family centered with their frequent rhetoric about family values. But the Republican Party, just like the Democratic Party, has a very poor track record of protecting the rights of families from abuse by the government and family law courts. I’ve discussed that previously in my article Republicans Fail to Offer Family-Friendly Policy Choices. While I very much doubt that Democrats are doing to step up and push for family law reform, I’m somewhat surprised that Republicans have not done so. Some have suggested they don’t because they are just as beholden to self-interest and money-grubbing from federal coffers via Title IV-D child support and “family services” funding as father-hating feminist-aligned Democrat extremists.
For your information, I don’t consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. In my view, all of the mainstream political parties in the United States have failed to adequately address family law reform and are contributing to the demise of our children’s futures while they spend countless dollars and hours agitating over less important issues.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties have fielded candidate after candidate for major political office in national and state elections who have no real family values. The parties have fielded models for parental alienators like Sarah Palin. They have fielded advocates for false criminal accusations and deprivation of due process protections (especially against fathers) like Joe Biden with his frightening domestic violence law track record. They have backed state candidates who want courts to be required to legally ignore emotional abuse against children like California’s Jim Beall.
Mainstream political parties to date do not protect many families and children. Instead they engage in hate-mongering and destruction, often over unusual and extreme cases such as child abduction and murder by a stranger over which they can scare people into voting away their civil rights by electing people who want government to ruthlessly dominate society. Parents are far more often involved in child abduction because of poor family law courts, but that is glossed over because it doesn’t have the scare value for the politicians to use to manipulate the public.
People who have been following our website know that family law is a very important function for the courts. Judges who do a good job can protect children and families from psychological and financial devastation and harm. Those who do not may create a nightmare from which the children will never recover, leading to parental alienation, parental abduction, and even murder as recently seen in the Fontaine case in Orange County, California.
221st District Judges Handle Many Case Types
The Texas 221st District is a mixed court meaning judges serving in it handle a variety of cases, unlike many other jurisdictions in which judges are specialized into criminal, civil, family law, probate, and other types of law. Therefore family law is a major function of these judges.
Yet it appears that none of the candidates have substantial family law experience. As many know, family law judges have the power to destroy families and ruin the lives of children and grandchildren. Yet there has been little said by the candidates about family law and how they would approach it. Stovall looks like she may be a poor judge, but there’s always the chance of electing somebody even worse.
Many law-abiding citizens are likely to encounter one of these judges only through a family law case. It would behoove them to start pressing the candidates for information on how they would handle such cases. So far, there is very little information available on this important question.
Candidate Lisa Michalk
Candidate Lisa Michalk talks about how 95% of the caseload is criminal and that means she’s uniquely qualified for the job because of her experience as a criminal prosecutor. If I was a voter in the district, I’d want to hear about her opinions on family law and how it should be handled. I wonder if she as a prosecutor would simply tow the accuser and government lines and whack falsely accused parents with restraining orders, no child custody, and set up the kids for parental alienation. In this video below, Lisa comes off as a respectable person. But she says basically nothing about the family law function, one for which Judge Stovall has been often criticized.
Lisa Michalk, Candidate for Texas 221st District Judge
Candidate John Devine
John Devine is another candidate for the judicial office. He talks about his experience as a judge on a juvenile court and success reducing recidivism by juvenile offenders. But does he understand that poorly handled divorces are often a direct cause for kids becoming juvenile offenders in the first place? What would he do to keep children of divorce from becoming troubled youth?
John Devine, Candidate for Texas 221st District Judge
Devine is also trying to make religion an issue in his campaign. That’s disturbing for an elected official who is supposed to understand separation between church and state.
Devine is also the only one of the four candidates who lacks an easy means to contact him via email. His website offers no means to send questions or comments nor any indication of an email address to contact him. All of the other candidates have done a much better job making themselves accessible to the public.
Candidate Scott Golemon
Scott Golemon has a background as a civil attorney. He mentions experience working with children as an attorney. He claims experience as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), often called a minor’s counsel attorney in other jurisdictions. His GAL experience involved CPS and personal injury cases. However, there is no indication of his experience or opinions regarding family law matters.
Golemon has provided many means to contact him and follow his campaign. He’s also provided the means to contact those involved in his campaign, thus creating the strong initial impression of being an open and publicly accessible candidate.
Scott Golemon, Candidate for Texas 221st District Judge
Candidate David O’Neil
David O’Neil says he’s done pro bono work in family law from 2003 to 2009. He also mentions family law in the speech below. While he appears to be a thoughtful and respectful speaker, he alarmingly dismisses family law almost as an afterthought, instead focusing on business law and international trade disputes as the way to differentiate himself. No doubt business law is important to many, but far more citizens find themselves in family law courts. If O’Neil wants to differentiate himself by focusing on international disputes, what does he have to say about international parental child abduction?
David O’Neill, Candidate for Texas 221st District Judge
All Candidates Virtually Ignoring Family Law
A January 7, 2010 article in the Houston Community Newspapers Online shows that none of the candidates are highlighting the importance of family law:
221st District Court
Candidates for the 221st state District Court also tried to differentiate themselves from each other.
“I beat my opponents on trial experience and involvement,” Scott Golemon, a civil trial attorney, said. “The 221st is a general jurisdiction court, not a criminal court. Who has served the community all these years? You’re going to find out it’s me.”
But Lisa Michalk, another prosecutor, said she is the only candidate for the 221st who has been a felony prosecutor.
“If a police officer loses his life in the middle of the night, who do you want to be the judge?” she asked. “I’ve worked on the Larry Swearingen (death penalty) case and other capital murders. This court is 95 percent criminal.”
John Devine, a former district court judge in Harris County who said he is a special judge for Harris County Justice of the Peace courts, said he has tried more than 300 jury trials and another 500 nonjury trials.
“On-the-job training is no place to start for this kind of court,” he said. “If you’re running for judge, who’s the only judge in this race? It’s me, and I’m running against three lawyers.”
All the candidates in the 221st race are competent and ethical, said David O’Neil, a business law attorney from The Woodlands.
“It’s hard to make a mistake in this race,” he said. “I have the greatest experience, with 27 years in law. I know this county, because I’ve lived here 26 years. I try cases all over the state.
“I would like to bring increased efficiency to this race.”
It’s very disheartening to see that all four candidates are essentially ignoring the important role of family law in the work they would be doing if they are elected. Family law is often one of the most difficult areas of law because it is dynamic. It’s not about a single serious crime or a several incidents of contract violations. It is about ongoing disputes that can often last decades and severely harm dozens of people in the process. In many ways, it is a more difficult area of law than criminal or civil practice which have more cut-and-dried standards and generally don’t have the same people returning to the court over and over again for many years regarding the same dispute involving the same parties.
We’re Pressing Candidates to Respond
Because we think that family law issues are central to the function of the courts and mishandling of such cases severely harms not only the children and parents but all of society, we’re going to be pressing the judicial candidates in the 221st District for their opinions in this area. We’ve sent the following email to them to encourage their discussion of the topic. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find an email address for John Devine or anybody on his campaign, implying that he may be the least open of the candidates to public questions and input.
As one of the four candidates to replace Judge Stovall in the 221st District, we’d like to get your input on the importance of family law and how you would approach decisions in a manner to protect the interests of children and families while minimizing the adverse impacts of false allegations in divorce, parental alienation, and high-conflict divorce. We’ve chosen to cover your election in part because of repeated comments about the poor decisions made by Judge Stovall in family law cases in her time as a judge and how so far none of the candidates to replace her are seriously discussing the important issues involving family law cases. The citizens of Montgomery County deserve to have competent judges who are experienced with perjury, contempt of court, and personality disorders in litigation that are typical of difficult family law cases.
Please feel free to respond via comments on our articles on your election, the first of which is at Montgomery County 221st Judicial Election Candidates. You’re welcome to comment directly on the articles or to correspond via email.
Looking for Voter Involvement
If you’re a voter in the 221st, please chime in with more details about these candidates and the questions you have for them. Perhaps we can collectively convince them to discuss family law matters so that you’ll have a new judge to replace Suzanne Stovall who is more fair and competent at handling difficult family law disputes.