Democratic Candidate Baltasar D. Cruz Files For The Texas Supreme Court
Cruz seeks to revise the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and rules governing judicial conduct to reduce litigation costs for all litigants, make the courts more accessible to the public, and prohibit judges from accepting political contributions from lawyers and litigants who have cases pending before them.
(AUSTIN) — On Tuesday, January 1, 2008, Dallas attorney Baltasar D. Cruz filed as a Democratic candidate for Place 7 on the Texas Supreme Court. Cruz, a 17-year lawyer and graduate of Harvard University and of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, issued the following remarks following his filing:
“The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which govern legal proceedings in all Texas civil courts, are issued and revised by the Texas Supreme Court. I am running for the Texas Supreme Court in order to substantially revise the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and the Texas rules governing judicial conduct to reduce litigation costs, make the courts more accessible to the public, and prohibit unethical judicial practices which are currently permitted and undermine the integrity of the Texas Courts.”
“I want to prohibit Texas judges from accepting political contributions from lawyers and parties who have cases pending in front of them. Incredibly, Texas judges are free to accept political contributions from attorneys and parties who have cases pending in their courts and some judges are known to actively solicit political contributions from lawyers who have cases pending before them! This is an obvious conflict of interest which is entirely indefensible and should be proscribed by the Texas Supreme Court.”
“I also want to require all Texas civil courts to implement submission dockets, whereby judges rule on most motions without having unnecessary hearings which impose substantial litigation costs on litigants each time their attorneys have to prepare for, travel to, sit in the courtroom waiting for, and traveling back from, routine non-evidentiary hearings at which judges often make no rulings! This will also force judges to actually read all motions and timely filed responses, which many judges frequently fail to do, instead of relying merely on attorneys’ oral arguments, and will permit judges to rule on motions without having to wait for superfluous hearings which, due to existing backlogs, often cannot be heard for weeks or months after they have been filed.”
“In addition, I want to require courts to publicly disclose on their websites the order in which cases are set on any given date so that lawyers can better determine the extent of trial preparation that is necessary for a particular trial setting. Currently, most courts do not disclose this information until the Thursday or Friday before a Monday trial setting! As a result, lawyers waste (and bill clients for) enormous amounts of time preparing for trial settings to which they have no realistic chance of being called to trial and are forced to repeatedly subpoena (and pay process servers to serve subpoenas upon) witnesses for multiple trial settings.”
“I further want to mandate that all Texas courts install internet video and audio links so that the public has meaningful access to all judicial proceedings, as these are supposed to be open to the public, with the exception that jurors’ identities, off-the-record bench conferences, and the images of child witnesses would not be broadcast.”
“These are just a few of the 24 ideas for judicial reform I currently have listed on my website at http://cruzforjudge.blogspot.com/.”
Baltasar D. Cruz is a graduate of Harvard University (A.B., 1987), where he majored in Government, and of the University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D., 1990). He has been practicing law (doing civil litigation) in Dallas County, Texas, since March of 1991 and has represented individuals and companies as plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of cases, including personal injury, construction, insurance, and other disputes. He has tried cases, written and responded to countless motions, prepared appellate briefs, and participated in hearings in Dallas and other counties throughout Texas. He has also served as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem for minors on eleven cases in Dallas County, to review proposed settlements and/or negotiate (as a fiduciary for the minors) the apportionment of settlement proceeds between adult and minor plaintiffs. Mr. Cruz is also an Eagle Scout and served on the national staff at the 1985, 1997, and 2005 National Boy Scout Jamborees, is a member of the Order of the Arrow, and played football (wingback, tailback and fullback) all four years he was at Harvard.