Reader Responses: Readers offer endorsements for GOP primary runoff, May 25, 2014

Published on Saturday, 24 May 2014 23:02 - Written by


In the pending race for judge of the Smith County Court at Law, there has been some talk about who is a constitutional conservative. The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is a national organization that has as one of its purposes the preservation of the right to trial by jury. Mike Patterson is a member of ABOTA and was the 2007 president of our East Texas Chapter. ABOTA’s foundation has sponsored an award-winning educational program called Justice By the People, which brings to life the Constitution and our jury system. This interactive program allows students to learn about the jury system and the Bill of Rights, as well as other important aspects of our Constitution. Mike was instrumental in having several area school systems incorporate this program into their middle school curriculum. Mike’s actions, as the old saying goes, speak louder than words.

Mike Patterson’s active commitment to the preservation of the Constitution is, along with several other reasons, the reason why I am voting for him.

Trey Yarbrough




Informed, conservative voters are deeply aware that we must be vigilant in every election, making sure we do everything possible to elect men and women to public office who are true constitutional conservatives. It is no secret that to win most local Smith County offices, candidates must run on the Republican ticket. Some run under a Republican banner simply because they could not be elected if they ran as Democrats.

As conservatives, we believe justice should be tough, fair, and swift. When courts fail to move cases along, they waste the time of victims, jurors and law enforcement officers.

After fully vetting the county Court at Law candidates, we believe Jason Ellis to be an experienced attorney and an able former prosecutor. We believe he knows what it takes to run a court efficiently. If elected, he will eliminate excessive hearings and continuances that slow down justice and cost more. He will move the docket to clear out the backlog of cases, saving time and tax dollars. He will also help keep our county safe by making himself available at all hours for officers who need warrants reviewed day and night.

The other candidate — Mike Patterson, who is a nice and smart man — has not tried a case in the courtroom for over 17 years and has not tried a criminal case in over 30 years. The County Court at Law is primarily a criminal court since over 65 percent of the cases are criminal-related. The Code of Criminal Procedure, the Texas Penal Code, and the Rules of Evidence have been amended countless times since 1984. In addition, many important state and federal appellate court decisions have impacted criminal law since 1984. Finally, public records show Mr. Patterson donated thousands of dollars to Democrats. Contributions to Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill White, the Democratic National Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign demonstrate support for and acceptance of liberal values we cannot support.

JoAnn Fleming

Grassroots America/

We The People



I have known Mike Patterson for more than 30 years. He is a man of integrity and is committed to serving the community in which he lives. Most importantly, Mike’s legal experience and maturity clearly set him apart from his opponent. I hope you will join me in voting for Mike Patterson for County Court at Law Judge.

Connie Seale




Mike Patterson has my vote for Judge of the County Court at Law. I have known Mike for more than 20 years and have served with him on numerous occasions including both Tyler 21 and Tyler 1st Strategic Planning Committees. He has been a trusted and dedicated volunteer in our community for a long time and with his knowledge of law, there is no doubt that he will make a great judge. Join me by voting for Mike Patterson on May 27.

Bob Garrett



I am honored to endorse and recommend Jason Ellis as our Republican nominee for election as the next judge of the county court at law of Smith County, Texas.
I am a lifetime conservative Republican, a lawyer, a retired district court judge, and served as a county court at law No. 2 judge of Smith County. I know that Jason is the best candidate in the Republican runoff election to serve our community. Jason has the intelligence, education, experience and honest commitment to conservative Republican beliefs. Jason also has the dedication to do hard and honest work as a fair judge who will well serve our community.
I have known Jason’s opponent for many years. Mr. Patterson has for decades been involved in supporting and working for Democrat ic candidates and providing financial support to the Democratic National Committee. I believe that all judges must be open and honest to protect the rights of all individuals before the courts no matter what political party those individuals support. However, I do believe that judges, in particular, should be clear to the voters about their political ideology and party identification. Voters need this information to decide which candidate will best serve the interest of justice and law in our community. Jason Ellis is exactly that type of open, honest and conservative person who represents the core beliefs of the Republican Party.
I ask the voters in the 2014 Republican Party primary runoff, on Tuesday, to join me in voting for Jason Ellis for judge of the county court at law.
Cynthia Stevens Kent

I am not typically politically active, however I felt motivated to write a letter regarding the election for judge of the county court at law. Simply put, I support Jason Ellis for judge of the county court at law. He is conservative, committed, and talented. Jason’s conservative values are well known, practiced, and cannot be questioned. Tyler is his home and the law is his chosen profession; Jason strives to improve both in the role of judge for the County Court at Law — and I believe he will do it. 
I am a family law practitioner and I regularly practice in the county court at law.  I have a vested interest in this election and I can say without hesitation that Jason is an excellent candidate for the bench. My personal and professional relationship with Jason has not been lifelong — only years — however, that fact speaks volumes for the man, himself. In the relatively short time I have known Jason, I quickly and easily came to the resolution that he is a man of high moral character. I believe that he has the values and character that the bench requires. I look forward to practicing in front of Jason Ellis as the judge of the county court at law. If you have any questions about my support for Jason, just call me. I have many more good things to say about this honorable man.
Beau T. Sinclair