425th District Court judge candidates

Mark Silverstone

Mark Silverstone was appointed to preside over the 425th District Court when it was created in 2007. He was elected to the seat in 2008. Prior to his appointment, Silverstone was an attorney with Sneed, Vine & Perry, P.C. for 33 years.

Q. Why are you running for 425th District Court judge?

A. I am running for re-election to continue to improve the family court system and serve the citizens of Williamson County. I want to preserve and continue the good work which I and my staff have done over the previous five years, remembering each day that it is a privilege to serve the citizens and to make certain that all things we do are first and foremost in the best interest of the children.

Q. What makes you the best candidate for the position?

A. I think my 33 years' experience practicing law together with five years on the bench with the 425th District Court gives me hands down more experience than anyone else. With the number of cases that we have in the 425th, there is no comparison to a year on the bench to a year practicing law. A year on the bench hearing cases every day, which we do, the experience comes very fast. There is no on-the-job training that I need. I've had it.

Q. What is the biggest issue facing the court?

A. One of the biggest issues is disposing cases in a timely manner. We dispose of as many cases that are assigned to us each year, in accordance to American Bar Association standards. That's a really difficult thing to do, and that's why we work hard every day. An issue that we, and all courts, have is pro se litigants, or people who do not have a lawyer. They are also a drain on our system. You can imagine trying to handle a legal matter with someone who doesn't have a lawyer and doesn't know anything about the legal system, but they want to be heard, and they have a right to be heard. It takes a tremendous amount of handling. In fact, right now, 44 percent of our total docket has at least one party representing themselves. It takes a lot of court staff time just to help get them through the process. With this in mind, I have developed a second uncontested docket that's specifically designed to dispose of their cases thus allowing time for parties with representation to be heard in a timely and efficient manner while still allowing the pro se litigants the same access to justice within a time frame that is controlled.

Betsy Lambeth

Betsy Lambeth started practicing law in Midland before moving to Round Rock. She took her first family law case in 1989 and opened her own private practice in 1997. She primarily focuses on family law.

Q. Why are you running for 425th District Court judge?

A. We need an experienced family trial attorney on this bench, and I believe families that are already in distress are not getting the judicial excellence and support that they deserve. I decided I couldn't sit on the sidelines and do nothing. I talked with a lot of colleagues, trusted friends and family, and I prayed a lot about it, and I decided that I just had to do this for the good of our county.

Q. What makes you the best candidate for the position?

A. I'm hardworking. I have knocked on over 7,500 doors in the last 95 days. I have traveled over 2,300 miles either on foot or in my golf cart, which is from here to Caribou, Maine. My experience—I have the insight that is crucial to making the decisions that are required in a family court. I am a conservative Republican. I have voted in the Republican primary since I was able to vote. I attended our county convention, and I am honored to have been elected as a delegate to the state convention. I am a parent. I've raised two kids as a single parent. I've been through those teenage years. I have stepped out with faith and courage to make this needed change in our community, and I hope voters will stand with me.

Q. What is the biggest issue facing the court?

A. I think probably two main issues: one, there is a certain amount of insight that you gain at working at something, no matter what it is. The insight that you gain being a family law attorney, you can't replicate that any other way than through experience. I think that insight that's crucial to making decisions in a family law court are missing in this court. We need an experienced family law trial attorney on this bench. The other issue is courtroom management. I've been practicing as a trial attorney for 26 years. As a trial attorney, you are in many different courtrooms and you see how many different judges command the courtroom and organize the courtroom, and without that trial experience, you just don't have the knowledge that is necessary to command the courtroom. It is very important to run the courtroom efficiently. In CPS [Child Protective Services] cases, you may have a courtroom full of CPS caseworkers, witnesses, attorneys, all of whom are being paid by the county, and you need to run your courtroom efficiently so you can save taxpayer dollars.


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