Editor’s note: In a guest column published Feb. 17, Sherry Sylvester, senior communications adviser to Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, criticized the appointment of Bret Griffin as judge in the 212th District Court. She criticized Griffin’s connections with Tony Buzbee, whom she described as a “notorious personal injury trial lawyer.”
I, personally, have no active cases in the 212th District Court. I am supporting Judge Bret Griffin for judge of the 212th because I know him as someone who will do what is right.
I am impressed by Bret’s service as a felony prosecutor, as well as his work defending and prosecuting civil cases.
I, like most every lawyer who has an active trial practice, legally donate money to judicial candidates who I believe, regardless of party affiliation, will be fair, honest and impartial.
As an example, I have donated to Judge John Grady’s campaign; he is a county court judge, and I consider him a very good one. I have also supported many of the sitting district court judges in Galveston County.
Galveston County is presently blessed with very good judges. During my career, various judges whom I consider friends have ruled against my clients’ interests.
It doesn’t hurt my feelings. All I ever ask for from a judge is a fair hearing, a prompt ruling and a firm trial date.
Those backing candidate Pat Grady have used my support of Judge Griffin as a reason Judge Griffin should not be elected. The argument is that, if I am for Griffin, then Republican voters should be against him.
That argument is ironic because in May of last year, Ms. Grady also sought my endorsement, money and support. I told her no and wished her luck; I had nothing negative to say about her then and still don’t.
Now, I’m told that Ms. Grady is being supported by an Austin special interest PAC that has chosen to attack me, personally.
I am not seeking office. I’m just a lawyer who represents clients in court, many times after horrific and life-changing accidents.
I am also a former U.S. Marine infantry and recon officer; I can withstand political attacks. I won’t apologize for representing injured workers or homeowners cheated by their insurance company.
What troubles me about the PAC attacks is the inherent assault on the 7th Amendment right to trial by jury within them.
The Austin PAC that now supports Ms. Grady is funded by the insurance industry. Its entire mission is to close the courthouse doors and end all civil litigation.
No judicial candidate should support interference with the right to trial by jury. The 7th Amendment is critical to our ability to govern ourselves as citizens.
Finally, any judicial candidate who publicly states — as has Ms. Grady — that she won’t take contributions from attorneys who represent injured workers or policy holders has already established grounds for recusal as being partial and biased. Every injured worker and everyone cheated by their insurance company should be treated fairly by the court, just as every employer, or insurance company should also be treated fairly.
Tony Buzbee lives in Friendswood.