Newly elected Bexar County judges face learning curve

'Blue wave' swept through courtrooms

SAN ANTONIO – When the newly elected State District Court, County Court and Appeals Court judges take office in Bexar County on Jan. 1, there will likely be an initial impact on efficiency.

"I think in most cases it will slow things down," said St. Mary’s University Law School Professor Geary Reamey.

Among the things, the new judges -- who were elected last week -- will be dealing with the mechanics of the job, including staffing and administrative duties.

"It is a concern," Reamey said. "I think it's offset, to some extent, by the fact that these folks are all going to be trying their best to do a really good job."

But, often it's with little or no experience.

The only requirement to run for a bench is to be a licensed attorney for five years and pay a $2,500 filing fee. No trial experience is necessary.

"I don’t think experience is everything," Reamey said. "Judging is a very complicated business, so temperament is terribly important in a judge."

A bigger concern, according to Reamey, is the way judges are selected, which is done through partisan elections.

He said, "It is very unsettling, the way in which we select judges."

But, Reamey noted, until the state Legislature comes up with a different way to do it, this is a situation with which Texas must deal.

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