Friday, February 1, 2008

Election Season Blues

Primary season's in full swing in Brazos County, Texas. The most significant race effecting clients is between two Republican candidates for the County Attorney spot. The County Attorney prosecutes misdemeanor level cases like DWI, marijuana possession, family violence, suspended license cases, and the like. The contenders are Shane Phelps and Rod Anderson.

Anderson was hired by out going prosecutor, Jim Kuboviak, in 1986 and was appointed first assistant five years later. He made an unsuccessful bid for judge of county court at law in 1990.

Phelps ran for Travis County District Attorney in 1996 and 2000. He lost both times. Look here for the media coverage. Phelps moved to Brazos County in 2001 and joined the District Attorney's Office. He ran for the 272nd Judicial District Court seat in 2004 and lost.

Concerning Phelp's run for the County Attorney spot, Kuboviak said here:
. . . he doesn't believe Phelps has the same passion for the post that Anderson does.

"He [Phelps] just wants to run for something to get some power," he said. "He knew he couldn't beat Travis Bryan, his boss [Bill Turner] already had an opponent, so that was the best thing he could run for.

"If Phelps was interested in misdemeanors, he would have been involved in misdemeanor prosecution, but he hasn't. I think the citizens of Brazos County deserve to have somebody who cares."

In campaign literature on his website, Phelps makes the following promises to voters:
[To] Lead by example by trying cases. Insist on the highest standards of ethical conduct by assistant prosecutors. Train assistant prosecutors to be the most professional and best prepared lawyers in the courtroom.
All this tit-for-tat is making it hard to get work done at the courthouse. The misdemeanor prosecutors are on pins-and-needles, shouldering this scrutiny and believing Phelps will fire every last one of them if he's elected. They are tired and afraid of making mistakes making them look lenient. Their settlement recommendations have become harsher and they are less willing to work with defendants on simple things like court date resets.

Everyone's got the election season blues. If Anderson wins the primary - things should get back to normal - a good thing for my misdemeanor clients. If Phelps wins? Well, it'll be pure hell until next January.

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