Conroe, February 7 – The race for District Judge of the 284th District Court, Montgomery County’s only full-time civil district court, between Kristin Bays and Jo Ann Linzer broke into an argument about the number of cases the two candidates have tried in their experience. Throughout the electoral contest, Bays has emphasized that she has been a full-time civil attorney during her entire 25-year career as an attorney. Linzer has practiced criminal law during her 16 years as an attorney.
Linzer has run several advertisements on social media and made several comments in candidate forums that she believes Bays has tried less than ten trials in her career while Linzer has tried over one hundred trials. Bays has responded that, in actuality she has tried hundreds of civil trials, while Linzer has tried very few, if any civil cases.
On Thursday, February 1, 2018, at the Lake Conroe Area Republican Women’s candidate forum, Bays addressed the issue directly:
“Experience is invaluable for this bench, which is why Ms. Linzer has announced in eblasts and on Facebook that I have fewer than 10 trials. Here’s what you need to know. That’s not true. That’s a manipulation of statistical data which is designed to mislead and misinform you. Put it in perspective. If I did the same research from the same database for Ms. Linzer, I could tell you that she has never prosecuted a single case and I can tell you that, because all of those cases are tied into the elected district attorney and not the assistant district attorneys who work those cases. So I could stand here and tell you that. But I won’t, because it’s not true. I have hundreds and hundreds of civil cases and a lot more of them than 10 have gone to trial. My shortest trial lasted 3 days, my longest 6 weeks. The smallest recovery $7,290, the largest $116 million dollars. I haven’t just handled these cases. I haven’t just tried these cases. I’ve excelled at it and distinguished myself at it, which is the reason for the endorsements I’ve received in this race…”
Bays has explained – repeatedly – that the electronic case filing systems in Grimes County, where Linzer practices, and in Montgomery County, where Bays has focused her law practice, usually only list the name of the attorney in charge of the case. Bays has further explained that in many cases that she and her husband attorney J. Randal Bays have handled, the Bays & Bays law firm has listed Bays’ husband’s name first by tradition, even where Kristin Bays actually tries the case or acts as the lead attorney.
Similarly, the District Clerk usually classifies criminal cases under the name of the elected District Attorney in each county. Therefore, a review of Grimes County criminal court records would show that Linzer has tried almost no cases.
The “sage” of Montgomery County, Bill O’Sullivan, also the Treasurer of the Texas Patriots PAC, which has recommended Bays in March 6 Republican Primary Election, issued the following statement to The Golden Hammer yesterday:
“I was at a Candidate Forum last week where Kristin Bays race was on the program. Her opponent, who spoke last when Kristin had no opportunity to rebut, did the equivalent of a political drive by shooting. She stated that Kristin had only been involved in ten trials in her career. I have known Kristin for a few years. Kristin is also an Appeals Attorney.
“Appeals Attorneys have a special talent which is the ability to recall past cases and apply or rebut them to the case being appealed. That usually comes from questions brought by one or several of the Justices hearing the case. That talent of Kristin’s was recently demonstrated when one of her cases was appealed all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court. To create more pressure, the Case was argued at the Baylor Law School in front of the Law Students, the Faculty and invited guests. I was able to watch that Argument on tape.
“Kristen is such a natural at this because of her talent of recall. I believe she should and will sit on an appellate bench some day. Perhaps even the Texas Supreme Court. When I heard the ten trial statement from Kristin’s opponent, I made it a point to ask Kristen how many times Kristin had argued appeals in front of various Courts. She advised me that she’s argued 47 times. It’s hard to imagine the number of ten as put forth by Kristen’s opponent as accurate. It isn’t.
“I am familiar with talented Attorneys having had as clients over 25 years of business the largest Law firms in Texas, California, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. I dealt in their Insurance needs including Malpractice. As such, I had to deal with their Managing Partners and their General Counsels.
“Finally, Kristen’s client in that Baylor argued case was an Attorney accused of wrongdoing. Attorneys when they get in trouble hire the most talented Attorneys they can get. They are known as Lawyer’s Lawyers. Kristen is that.
“So what we have here is a deeply knowledgeable Attorney, with the capacity to quickly draw on cases that involve the interpretation of the Law and is highly respected in the Legal Community. We also have someone who loves and respects the Law. We have a Judge. That Attorney is now running for a Court that specializes in her practice area, Civil Law. It is because of this that I personally endorse Kristin Bays to be elected Judge of the 284th District Court.”
Civil litigation tends to be substantially more complex than criminal litigation, because there are far more variations in both law and procedure. That’s one of the reasons the Montgomery County District Courts have segregated out civil cases to three courts which specialize in civil litigation: the 284th District Court (full time civil); the 410th District Court (civil and family law cases); County Court at Law Number Two (probate and civil cases).
Linzer may be correct that she has tried over 100 criminal trials. Unfortunately, the Code of Criminal Procedure is substantially difference from the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Criminal attorneys usually stay within the criminal field, while civil attorneys usually stay within their field.
Linzer’s comparison of trial is, therefore, both grossly inaccurate and a comparison of apples to oranges.