472nd District Court Judge [Temp lock for review]

8,580 Views | 50 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Antoninus
Its Not Rocket Surgery
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Just a week before primary early voting starts and there isn't a thread on this race. This is a new district court set up by the state legislature in 2023.

Please keep the discussion civil and don't get the thread locked.

Candidates are:

Jennifer Hebert
Campaign website: https://jennforjudge2024.com/

KBTX Interview: https://www.kbtx.com/2024/02/06/meet-candidate-jennifer-hebert/

WTAW Interview:



Jerrell Wise
Campaign website: https://judgewisefortexas.com/

KBTX Interview: https://www.kbtx.com/2024/02/07/meet-candidate-jerrell-wise/

WTAW Interview:
A Net Full of Jello
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Jennifer Hebert gets my vote. That bench does civil and juvenile cases and Hebert has extensive work with both having served as the juvenile chief in the DA's office and currently serving as the civil chief. Her specialities have made her perfect for this court.
HWY6_RunsBothWays
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Jerrell has my vote. Former law enforcement officer who saw a need in the legal system. He's got a great family, has a solid head on his shoulders, and is a really great guy!
ZoneClubber
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As a practicing civil trial lawyer with most of my cases being transferred to the new 472nd District Court, we need to keep Judge Wise in that position. So far he has been efficient in moving cases, making expedient rulings and conducting his courtroom. His civil law experience outweighs a candidate from the criminal side of the docket.
George Costanza
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Definitely preferring Wise so far.
Tibbers
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Jennifer is a special person with a tremendous heart. That's what is entirely needed for that very important court. She has my vote instantly.

Wise is a good dude but this is special bench that requires something more than his experience, while amazing, has shown.

Both would be great as both are wonderful candidates and people.
FarmerKeith
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I don't think the previous commentary about "great family" applies much in this debate as both candidates have top tier supporting casts.

Jennifer Hebert is definitely the best candidate for the job. She is a highly experienced, objective, and brilliant legal mind who has been working towards this position for nearly two decades. Her judicial philosophy is strictly patterned after Antonin Scalia (I believe she actually spent time learning from him personally early in her career). As as constitutionalist, that is a needle-moving data point.

As a matter of crowd sourcing for additional insight...I have found it equally compelling that every single Bryan or CS policeman I visit with about this topic will tell you (off the record) that they absolutely love Jenn. Front line endorsements from informed and non-biased public servants of that nature are far more valuable to me than attorneys who will likely be representing clients in the court they're seeking to staff.

Respectfully...Greg Abbott put Judge Wise in this current role w/o consenting anyone in the county. I really don't like Austin inserting itself into local politics.

Judge Wise is a nice man and I have nothing against him personally, but I think Jenn is the better choice for keeping Brazos County on the straight and narrow path in this nationally acrimonious time. We need proven constitutionalists on the court at every level. For Brazos County, that person is 100% Jennifer Hebert.


Bryanisbest
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The handling of the Juvenile cases is the most important job of this new court. Hebert has significant experience in this area. Wise has none. Hebert was also the civil litigation lawyer for the DA's office. She gets my vote.

I am concerned how Wise received this appointment by the governor when absolutely no one locally knew about it or had any input. This is unprecedented.
Broncos
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Wise is easily the best candidate to keep the job. As others have said, he has been efficient in moving cases and has a great background for the position.
Its Not Rocket Surgery
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ZoneClubber said:

As a practicing civil trial lawyer with most of my cases being transferred to the new 472nd District Court, we need to keep Judge Wise in that position. So far he has been efficient in moving cases, making expedient rulings and conducting his courtroom. His civil law experience outweighs a candidate from the criminal side of the docket.
I'm in the process of deep diving all of these races, but I'm going to comment here. It appears that Ms. Hebert has a pretty significant amount of civil experience listed on her website. According to her site, she practiced civil law for 7.5 years and is also listed as the Civil Division Chief at the DAs office, so it appears she has quite a bit of civil law under her belt.

Mr. Wise states his civil experience came from working at Daniel Stark. I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that DS is strictly a personal injury firm. Granted that is civil work, but it is a specialized type of civil work. I wish he had included timelines on the site since it doesn't state anywhere how much time he has working on the civil side. It doesn't look like he's been licensed as long as she has. I can't speak to how well he conducts his court.

From what I've been able to gather, both of these candidates are good people with great families. I don't think this one is going to be or should be decided on personality.
InsAgentCS
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Jenn is a proven, true conservative with extensive experience especially in juvenile cases which as stated above, is a big part of this new court.

I'm generally happy with Abbot, but anytime someone from established state govt. appoints someone for a position (unelected) I'm going to be leery of it. I'm sure Wise is a nice man, but Jenn I think is the best choice for the job.
ZoneClubber
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Bryanisbest said:

The handling of the Juvenile cases is the most important job of this new court. Hebert has significant experience in this area. Wise has none. Hebert was also the civil litigation lawyer for the DA's office. She gets my vote.

I'll disagree that the juvenile docket is the most important, and I think all of the parties and attorneys before the court on the civil cases would disagree also. The number of civil cases and complexity of the cases far outweigh the juvenile proceedings. It's just a reality that most of the voting public doesn't know much about the judges at any level (state, courts of appeals, S. Ct.). It's helpful to hear from folks that have dealt with judges as attorneys or parties.

Both are good candidates and good people.
Bryanisbest
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ZoneClubber said:

Bryanisbest said:

The handling of the Juvenile cases is the most important job of this new court. Hebert has significant experience in this area. Wise has none. Hebert was also the civil litigation lawyer for the DA's office. She gets my vote.

I'll disagree that the juvenile docket is the most important, and I think all of the parties and attorneys before the court on the civil cases would disagree also. The number of civil cases and complexity of the cases far outweigh the juvenile proceedings. It's just a reality that most of the voting public doesn't know much about the judges at any level (state, courts of appeals, S. Ct.). It's helpful to hear from folks that have dealt with judges as attorneys or parties.

Both are good candidates and good people.

Bryanisbest
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Bryanisbest said:

ZoneClubber said:

Bryanisbest said:

The handling of the Juvenile cases is the most important job of this new court. Hebert has significant experience in this area. Wise has none. Hebert was also the civil litigation lawyer for the DA's office. She gets my vote.

I'll disagree that the juvenile docket is the most important, and I think all of the parties and attorneys before the court on the civil cases would disagree also. The number of civil cases and complexity of the cases far outweigh the juvenile proceedings. It's just a reality that most of the voting public doesn't know much about the judges at any level (state, courts of appeals, S. Ct.). It's helpful to hear from folks that have dealt with judges as attorneys or parties.

Both are good candidates and good people.





I agree that both candidates are good people. The rights of children charged with criminal offenses are more important than adults' or a company's money and property. Both areas are important. Children are more important
oldag76
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To those who started this thread and those who have posted points of view with facts, THANK YOU.Any salient thoughts on Republican Precinct Chair?
Bryanisbest
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ZoneClubber said:

As a practicing civil trial lawyer with most of my cases being transferred to the new 472nd District Court, we need to keep Judge Wise in that position. So far he has been efficient in moving cases, making expedient rulings and conducting his courtroom. His civil law experience outweighs a candidate from the criminal side of the docket.



Civil court lawyers and parties to civil suits are grappling over money and real estate. Juvenile cases are about the lives of children who are accused of crimes. Juvenile cases are far more important. Sure, most lawyers take issue with my statement and they will do so on this thread.
ZoneClubber
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Bryanisbest said:

ZoneClubber said:

As a practicing civil trial lawyer with most of my cases being transferred to the new 472nd District Court, we need to keep Judge Wise in that position. So far he has been efficient in moving cases, making expedient rulings and conducting his courtroom. His civil law experience outweighs a candidate from the criminal side of the docket.



Civil court lawyers and parities to civil suits are grappling over money and real estate. Juvenile cases are about the lives of children who are accused of crimes. Juvenile cases are far more important. Sure, most lawyers take issue with my statement and they will do so on this thread.

Not trying to argue. I'm very involved in juveniles in need in this community. The great majority of the juvenile cases are handled between the lawyers, advocates and the state with minimal involvement by the court.

Many of the civil cases involve folks in our community and their lives and livelihoods, businesses and futures. No need to try to marginalize. The court can be much more involved in these cases
Bryanisbest
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ZoneClubber said:

Bryanisbest said:

ZoneClubber said:

As a practicing civil trial lawyer with most of my cases being transferred to the new 472nd District Court, we need to keep Judge Wise in that position. So far he has been efficient in moving cases, making expedient rulings and conducting his courtroom. His civil law experience outweighs a candidate from the criminal side of the docket.



Civil court lawyers and parities to civil suits are grappling over money and real estate. Juvenile cases are about the lives of children who are accused of crimes. Juvenile cases are far more important. Sure, most lawyers take issue with my statement and they will do so on this thread.

Not trying to argue. I'm very involved in juveniles in need in this community. The great majority of the juvenile cases are handled between the lawyers, advocates and the state with minimal involvement by the court.

Many of the civil cases involve folks in our community and their lives and livelihoods, businesses and futures. No need to try to marginalize. The court can be much more involved in these cases



The judge decides a lot of things in juvenile cases: whether to release the child to await trial or continue him in custody till his trial, what disposition will be assessed, if treatment is required what treatment facility in Texas would best meet his needs (these are places he will not be able to leave during treatment), what psychologist he will be required to attend, how long he will be on probation, will he be required to take medication if an expert recommends, who to appoint as his attorney, will he be sent to be incarcerated in a Texas Youth Council Detention facility for years, is the allegation(s) true or not true beyond a reasonable doubt on a judge trial, make rulings during the trial on evidence, preside over a jury trial if requested by the child, who should be appointed as his lawyer and on and on. If the lawyers settle juvenile cases with a disposition agreement the judge must decide if that agreement is in the best interest of the child. There are many more kinds of judge decisions in a juvenile case. Yes, the lawyers do get together and settle cases in civil as well as juvenile court. The judge has a greater roll in juvenile cases to approve or disallow the plea agreement. The judge never ever turns down a settlement in a civil case unless a juvenile has been injured and those are rare.

Juvenile cases are far more important to society than civil cases. Civil cases are more important to the lawyers because Plaintiff lawyers get a percentage of the money awarded if they go to trial. Defense lawyers in civil cases get paid far more if there is a trial.

Jennifer Hebert is more qualified for the job because of her juvenile and civil experience.
RunSilentRunDeep
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Very, very few juvenile cases actually are heard in District court. Brazos County has a Juvenile Court Referee that is charged with handling detention hearings and most other hearings, except jury trials. The 472 District Judge would only have a juvenile before that bench when the juvenile objects to the Juvenile Referee or requests a jury trial.

There have been a handful, at most, of juvenile jury trials in the past many years.

The "civil" division of the DA office is primarily for handling asset forfeitures. The County Attorney represents the county on civil matters.

Judge Wise handled many cases involving juveniles and minors as his time as the Bryan Municipal Judge.

He is very competent in presiding over the 472nd bench.

He has my vote.

agharrier
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I have talked to a couple of folks with knowledge in the DAs office and have to disagree about the number of juvenile cases that will be heard by the 472nd as well as your characterization of the importance of them.

Here is what I have learned about the new court:
  • Any time a juvenile attorney objects, the case will be heard in the 472nd.
  • Anytime the State seeks to certify a child as an adult (which is happening more frequently due to increases in juvenile violent crime), the 472nd will hear the case.
  • Anytime there is a juvenile jury trial, the 472nd will hear the case.
  • But possibly even more importantly, the judge of the 472nd sits on the juvenile board, which provides guidance and oversees the juvenile probation department and the juvenile magistrate. That role cannot be understated.

This court also hears CPS and family law cases. Are you saying that these cases aren't important either?
In my opinion, this court needs a judge with actual experience in more than one area of law the court will cover. Jennifer has vast experience in civil, family, and juvenile law, in addition to her criminal law experience.

As for asset forfeiture being the only thing the DAs office does civilly, I can speak to this topic personally given my interaction with them and you are misinformed. The DAs office responds to their own civil issues including subpoenas, deposition requests, and open records requests. They also litigate injunctions such as gang and nuisance abatement. If memory serves, about 2 years ago, they (Jennifer specifically) shut down a bar in downtown Bryan and helped clean up another one through a nuisance abatement action. Remember Bar 69? There's a reason it's not there anymore.
Bryanisbest
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agharrier said:

I have talked to a couple of folks with knowledge in the DAs office and have to disagree about the number of juvenile cases that will be heard by the 472nd as well as your characterization of the importance of them.

Here is what I have learned about the new court:
  • Any time a juvenile attorney objects, the case will be heard in the 472nd.
  • Anytime the State seeks to certify a child as an adult (which is happening more frequently due to increases in juvenile violent crime), the 472nd will hear the case.
  • Anytime there is a juvenile jury trial, the 472nd will hear the case.
  • But possibly even more importantly, the judge of the 472nd sits on the juvenile board, which provides guidance and oversees the juvenile probation department and the juvenile magistrate. That role cannot be understated.

This court also hears CPS and family law cases. Are you saying that these cases aren't important either?
In my opinion, this court needs a judge with actual experience in more than one area of law the court will cover. Jennifer has vast experience in civil, family, and juvenile law, in addition to her criminal law experience.

As for asset forfeiture being the only thing the DAs office does civilly, I can speak to this topic personally given my interaction with them and you are misinformed. The DAs office responds to their own civil issues including subpoenas, deposition requests, and open records requests. They also litigate injunctions such as gang and nuisance abatement. If memory serves, about 2 years ago, they (Jennifer specifically) shut down a bar in downtown Bryan and helped clean up another one through a nuisance abatement action. Remember Bar 69? There's a reason it's not there anymore.


This ^!
agharrier
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A friendly reminder that early voting begins TOMORROW (Tuesday, February 20).

Visit https://www.brazosvotes.org/ for early voting locations and times.
jwj
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I have had no personal or professional interactions with Judge Wise I have had professional interactions with Hebert I support Judge Wise
jim james
agharrier
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I have had positive professional interactions with Mrs. Hebert and none with Mr. Wise.

I support Jennifer Hebert.
CSMC2014
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I've had interactions with both.
My vote is for Jennifer Hebert. She will have a professional court and uphold Texas/Brazos County expectations and values.
RunSilentRunDeep
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Thank you for mischaracterizing my post. I in no way implied juvenile cases are not important. I only properly characterized the very low percentage of juvenile cases that will actually be heard before the District bench instead of the juvenile referee.

And CPS cases are heard by the East Texas Child Protection Court which can hear everything up to and including jury trials. So, very rarely ever go before the District Court where filed.

And big thumbs up to Jim James for posting his name and not a "handle".
Tibbers
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I voted for Hebert and I encourage all of you to do so as well. She's a good one!
Its Not Rocket Surgery
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Arguments aside over just how much juvenile work this court is going to see, Ms. Hebert still seems to have a clear advantage in experience. I was able to catch both sides speak at a lunch forum, and while Mr. Wise noted he had worked with youth; he didn't tout any juvenile legal experience. Ms. Hebert also bests him on civil and criminal law as far as I can tell. I can't speak to family law experience for either. Both seemed they would be adequate enough to run a courtroom. Ms. Hebert seemed really knowledgeable on process and the law.

This actually feels like voting for the greater of two strengths rather than the lesser of two evils like so many races do and that is refreshing, but Ms. Hebert has won my vote.
jwise
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I appreciate the thoughtfulness going into this conversation.

I have worked with and 'lived' juvenile and family law my whole life. My parents were foster parents, caring for over 68 children while I was growing up. I worked with youth in my local church, worked at Los Hermanos Boy's Ranch while at A&M (placement facility for kids in CPS and Juvenile justice), mentored juvenile offenders at TJJD in Giddings, and I have raised five kids!

I worked with juveniles for six years as a police officer, handled juvenile defense cases as an attorney, and have had a juvenile docket for the last two years as the Bryan Municipal Judge.

As for how I got appointed, I applied online, was interviewed by the governors appointments team, including the general counsel, and was hired/appointed. There was nothing "political" about it.

I have endorsements from the leading criminal attorneys (including Jim James) in Brazos County, including those who practice juvenile law. I have the endorsements from nearly every family law attorney in town, and endorsements from the top civil attorneys as well.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Jerrell Wise

PS- I'm also endorsed by nearly every conservative leader in Brazos County, and I'm endorsed by the True Texas Project (grassroots conservative statewide organization.)

Restored full post after review. Thanks -Brandon
DuckyBent
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By far the best beard in politics today. Me and my family are voting for Judge Wise!
FarmerKeith
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Thanks for jumping in Judge Wise…I definitely respect that. Since you're open to questions, I'll tee up a few.

1. You mentioned that you have endorsements from nearly every family law attorney in town. I think I've seen two that you've listed. Given the encompassing language, are there others that aren't listed?

2. You mentioned having endorsements from attorneys practicing juvenile law. I don't see any local names posted that regularly practice juvenile law. Since this has been an issue of debate prior to your arrival on the thread, can you please elaborate?

3. The exemplary servant leadership of your parents is truly worthy of their being celebrated. Thank you for your servant leadership with engaging with young people as well. While I honor all of that, assisting foster children is not juvenile law experience. Am I missing something? Just trying to keep the main thing the main thing with the specific type of highly relevant experience, given the nature of this particular judgeship.

restored. -brandon
jwise
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I am actually at the juvenile justice conference right now, and there is an entire session about the intersection of CPS and Juvenile justice! My experience is with WORKING WITH juveniles, not just prosecuting them. That's my whole point. I've done everything other than prosecuting kids (arrest, detain, defend, adjudicate, etc…)

The most important part of presiding over juvenile cases (and family cases involving kids) is using good judgment and doing what is JUST (legally correct), RIGHT (not just lawful, but what is the right thing to do), and FAIR (to treat others other respect and dignity and consider how their life experiences are different than yours.)

My experience has been incredibly useful in hearing juvenile cases for the past 2.5 years.

Family law attorneys: Anne Cofer, Robby Neal, Amy Banks, Gaines West, Jana Foreman, Stephanie Imbrie, etc… I'd have to go back and look at the nearly 200 endorsements to see who else practices family law.)

Juvenile Attorneys: Ray Thomas, and I think Craig Greening, Craig Greaves, Mark Maltsberger, Shane Phelps, and Cameron Reynolds also take juvenile cases. While Patrick Gendron, Louis Gimbert and Donnie Andreski have not endorsed me, go talk to them and ask them who they support. I'm trying to think who else practices juvenile law. Truth is, this court doesn't hear many of those cases.

The only large group of folks who haven't endorsed me is the DAs office (where Jenn works) and those married to ADAs! They are a unified voting block and do not go against their own!

Jerrell Wise
Class of '99
Challenger 17

PS- I could drone on and on about my experience, but I think it's more important to note that the Bryan Mayor and the entire Bryan City Council (my former bosses at the Bryan Municipal Court) ALL endorse me! They know what I did for the city, and want me to do it for the County as well.

restored. -brandon
Its Not Rocket Surgery
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I'm going to step in here for a minute Judge Wise. You have listed a few prominent names here that do not appear on your formal endorsement list as far as I can tell. Perhaps you are suggesting these people are supporters and not endorsements? I say this because I was told two of them were supporting your opponent and one of them confirmed as much to me when I talked to them face-to-face about this race. There appears to be some disconnect here.

I understand that the Bryan mayor has endorsed you and I think that makes sense given your history. I'm going to hold my comments on what I think of the Bryan mayor though.
FarmerKeith
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That is the detail I was looking for…Thank you.

As I cogitate on the substance of your otherwise quality response, I am distracted by the potential appearance of some sort of back handed jab in your closing remark. Is there a good reason to single-out a candidate's family in any way in your closing argument in a public forum?

Both sets of families were defended and declared off limits earlier in the thread, yet you declined to reciprocate that courtesy in the close-out to answering a fair question.

This is Texags so some people choose to rant, but the intention of this thread was clearly meant to hasten civil discussion. Subtle low blows in any context are not a good look.
cslifer
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I have to be honest, if the Bryan mayor is endorsing him that tells me everything I need to know. I am out.
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