Meet the Primary Candidates: Judge — 431st District Court

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On March 3, voters will go to the polls to select their nominees for political office at the county, state and federal levels.

The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries become their respective party’s nominees for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election.

Early voting for the March 3 primary elections runs from Tuesday, Feb. 18 to Friday, Feb. 28.

Should results require, a Primary Runoff Election will be held on May 26, with early voting from May 18 to May 22.

Find more voter information on the Denton County Elections Administration website at www.votedenton.com or Secretary of State website at www.votetexas.gov.

The Cross Timbers Gazette emailed questionnaires to candidates in selected contested Primary Elections. Returned questionnaires are listed by office in alphabetical order, unless there’s an incumbent (*) up for re-election.

Judge in the 431st District Court

Incumbent Jonathan Bailey is not running, and neither are any Democratic candidates.

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

Cannon Cain

Cannon Cain

Age: 49

Community of Residence: Lantana

Current Occupation: Attorney

Education Background: The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, VA; Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT – JD; Montana State University, Bozeman, MT; and, BS Physics Interdisciplinary with Chemical Engineering

Previous Public Service: I served as a Judge Advocate for the Texas Army National Guard and the National Guard Bureau for eight years. I began as the Brigade Judge Advocate for the 36th Sustainment Brigade as a First Lieutenant. I was subsequently hand-selected to be a Regional Manager for the National Guard Bureau Special Victims’ Counsel Program. As a Captain, I was awarded The Joint Service Commendation Medal for my work with the survivors of sexual assault, including child survivors.

Why are you the best candidate for this elected position? I have been a Texas licensed attorney since 2002. During that time, I have gained legal and relevant life-experience in a wide-range of arenas. I started in a large law firm in Dallas exposed to high stakes insurance litigation. When I passed the Patent Bar Exam on my first attempt, I took a position as In-House Patent Counsel for The Brinkmann Corporation. I spent several years as an independent field landman and as a title opinion attorney in the production of natural gas for Texas-based producers. During this time, my son was born as a severe premature baby, which taught me all the life lessons that the study of law cannot. I then began my military career. It is this wide breadth of experience that this Court needs in its Judge.

What do you see as the biggest issue and your solution if elected? Denton County needs its judges to be independent and impartial, as contemplated by the Founding Fathers and the Constitution. In addition, Denton County judges need to exercise the judicial temperament and integrity that will encourage the confidence of the people in the judicial process. I think that my experience, philosophy, and temperament best fit these needs. I will endeavor every day on the bench to serve as a competent steward of the hopes and expectations of all of the people of Denton County.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? No

Candidate Website: cannoncainfortexas.com

Candidate Facebook: www.facebook.com/CannonCainfor431stDistrictCourtJudge

Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson           

Age: 59

Community of Residence: Plano

Current Occupation: Adjunct Professor and Attorney

Education Background: I graduated Valedictorian of Everman High School then went to UT Austin, where I finished in the top one-percent of my class with majors in Economics, Accounting, and Business in the University of Texas Business Honors Program. I attended law school at Texas Wesleyan (now Texas A&M) where I also     graduated in the top one-percent. For the past ten years, I’ve served as Adjunct Professor of Law teaching at Texas A&M University Law School, in addition to being a practicing attorney.

Previous Public Service: I am the Denton County Republican Party’s First Vice Chair of Finance. My wife (Pam Johnson) and I are active members of eight local Republican Party clubs and we served as Delegates to the Texas Republican Party State Conventions in 2018, 2016 and 2014. I was awarded the Denton County GOP Chairman’s Award in 2018 for outstanding volunteer service.

Why are you the best candidate for this elected position? The 431st is a general jurisdiction Court. I’ve handled criminal cases involving felony assaults up to murder. I’ve done more than 100 business cases. I am the only candidate who has District Court    trial experience in all three major areas that this court covers [business, family and criminal]. And, I’m the only candidate who has not previously voted in a Democrat Party primary. I am a life-long conservative Republican, with the experience this court needs.

What do you see as the biggest issue and your solution if elected? The District Court dockets cover a broad range of different types of cases and needs to be effectively     managed by a person with broad executive experience. Solutions include: I would hold hearings to resolve motions for summary judgment early in cases where appropriate and, additionally, apply my experience in business to incorporate efficiencies in all court processes.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? No

Candidate Website: jim-johnson-campaign.square.site

Candidate Facebook: facebook.com/JimJohnsonForJudge

Derbha Jones

Derbha Jones

Age: 57

Community of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: Attorney

Education Background: Juris Doctorate (2001) Texas Wesleyan School of Law (now known as Texas A&M) School of Law; B.S. Radiologic Technology (1984) Northeast Louisiana University; Board Certified– Family Law; Board Certified– Child Welfare Law State Bar of Texas Child Welfare Law Section; Legal Aid of Northwest Texas;          Denton Housing Authority; CASA Denton County; Probate Pattern Jury Charge Committee Member; Former Member – State Bar of Texas Child Abuse & Neglect Committee; and, Former Republican Precinct Chair – Denton County – Precinct 1000

Why are you the best candidate for this elected position? I am currently one of only 16 attorneys in the State of Texas who are Board Certified in both Family Law and Child Welfare Law. I have represented clients in jury trials and hundreds of trials before the Court, in complex family law matters, termination of parental rights, and more. I am the only candidate qualified to serve as an attorney who represents abused and neglected children in Denton District Courts. As an adjunct professor, I taught Family Law and Mediation at TWU-Denton. I should be chosen for this position based on my consistent courtroom experience and expertise, my reputation of preparedness, high standard of ethical behavior, along with the temperament to serve as Judge of the 431st Judicial District Court.

What do you see as the biggest issue and your solution if elected? The greatest challenge is keeping the docket moving along, while also ensuring that litigants have adequate time to present their case, and maintaining knowledge of the changes in the law. I would address those issues by setting time constraints in the presentation of cases in proceedings where appropriate and ensure that I continue to remain knowledgeable of changes in the law through research and studies.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? No

Candidate Website: derbhajonesforjudge.com

Candidate Facebook: www.facebook.com/derbhajonesfor431st

George Mitcham

George Mitcham

Age: 52

Community of Residence: Northlake

Current Occupation: Attorney

Education Background: BS university of Texas at Dallas 1999; JD Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, 2004

Previous Public Service: US Paratrooper, 1986-1993; Carrollton Police Officer, 1995-2002; Denton County District Attorney’s Office, 2005-2014

Why are you the best candidate for this elected position? The 431st is a general jurisdiction court and I’ve been involved in criminal, family and CPS cases since 2006, which gives me the experience necessary to handle every aspect of the primary duties of this particular court.

What do you see as the biggest issue and your solution if elected? The biggest issue is the pace of litigation in the district courts and my solution will be to use mandatory mediation, scheduling orders, and dismissal dockets to keep the cases in the court moving.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? No

Candidate Website: Georgemitcham.com

Candidate Facebook: facebook.com/George-Mitcham-for-Judge

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