Judge Schneider decisively wins HBA poll

Inexperienced, unknown opponent only gets smattering of votes.

HOUSTON – Judge Michael “Mike” Schneider won a staggering 72 percent of the votes in the recently released Houston Bar Association 2010 Judicial Preference Poll. His opponent in the race for the 315th Juvenile District Court – an inexperienced bureaucrat with zero experience practicing juvenile law – managed only a small number of votes.

The HBA results showed that Judge Schneider won a larger percentage of votes than candidates in races for Harris County’s nine family district courts, one domestic violence court and two other juvenile district courts.

The results also showed Judge Schneider, a Republican seeking his second full term in the Nov. 2 General Election, is one of the strongest vote-getters among the county’s long list of district court judges.

“Of course, the only poll that matters is tallied Nov. 2,” said Judge Schneider. “But I am extremely grateful to the bar for this victory. I hope the fact I was chosen by attorneys who actually practice in our juvenile courts helps inform voters on the importance of things like experience. When you’re facing an unknown lawyer in an election who has no experience practicing juvenile, child protective or family law, this kind of vote of confidence is gratifying.”

Gov. Rick Perry first appointed Judge Schneider to the bench in 2006 – the year he later won his first term. Since becoming the presiding judge in the 315th, Judge Schneider has presided over roughly 15,000 cases, including scores of complex jury trials involving a mix of family, criminal, juvenile and civil law.

Before coming to the bench, Judge Schneider had tried more than 200 contested cases in every juvenile and family court in Harris County. He also supervised lawyers with thousands of such cases pending in local juvenile and family courts as the former Deputy Division Chief in the Children’s Protective Division of the Harris County Attorney’s Office.

Judge Schneider has been praised for his innovative approach to reform and problems facing the juvenile justice system. Earlier this year, he received more than four times the number of “qualified” and “well-qualified” votes than his Democratic opponent in the HBA’s Judicial Candidate Qualification Questionnaire. That high score again demonstrated the bar’s appreciation for, among other things, Judge Schneider’s steady and intelligent handling of complex cases, especially those involving child custody and protective issues.