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Q&A: County Court at Law #1

Advocate News asked both candidates the same questions to help voters with their choices November 6. Answers are printed in the order in which they were returned. 

Brandy Hallford (R)

What prompted you to run for Judge of County Court at Law #1?

I wanted to serve my community on this bench because I have the experience to adjudicate the hard cases that come before this court and administer justice fairly.  It is crucial to have the right judge properly oversee the Child Protective Services’ cases, protective orders, and criminal cases that this court handles.  My father taught me that you have to work in the trenches before you can truly understand a job.  Prior to being judge of this court, I had been a litigating attorney throughout my 21-year career.  I am well-versed by having been a prosecutor and defense attorney, represented individuals in obtaining protective orders and represented the State, parents and children in CPS cases.  Children are vulnerable and they need a judge who understands how rulings impact their lives. I dedicated my career to representing abused children of all ages with different needs and have advocated for their safety and proper care. My legal experience has been invaluable while I have been serving as judge of this court.

What are your qualifications and/or background for this position?

My broad legal experience has fully prepared me to be the judge of this court which handles criminal, family, protective orders and Child Protective Services’ (CPS) cases. Prior to serving as Judge, during my 21-year legal career I gained experience in each of these areas.  I handled thousands of cases, and obtained extensive jury trial experience.  I committed half my career as a prosecutor defending victims, and served as the Criminal Division Chief for the Williamson County Attorney’s Office.  My law practice focused on representing abused children, Veterans, individuals in criminal and family law matters.  As a trial attorney, I studied the law and successfully conveyed it to a jury.  I have a solid foundation in the rules of evidence which is vital to making just and fair rulings.  My extensive legal experience has given me the tools needed to effectively serve.  I understand the people, issues and needs of this court.

Why should voters choose you over your opponent?

I hope to earn your vote because of my legal experience, passion for our community, and passion serving as your judge for this crucial court that affects children’s safety. My husband and I have lived, worked, and raised our four children in Williamson County. We also are community volunteers dedicated to helping those in need.  I served on the Board of Directors of the Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center, I serve as a Board of Director for Senior Access, I am a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Blue Star Mothers who honor Gold Star families.  I am dedicated to knowing each CPS case—the needs of each child and making sure he/she is receiving proper care in the foster care system. The courtroom should be a place where prosecutors and defendants are treated with respect, and cases are heard in an unbiased environment.  I know the importance of people having their voices heard, the law being followed, treating people with respect, and having a level playing field for all who find themselves in the judicial system.

Don Morehart (D)

What prompted you to run for Judge of County Court at Law #1?

In 2017, the previous Judge in County Court at Law #1 decided quietly to resign before the expiration of her term of office. Only certain well-connected individuals in the local Republican Party were privy to this decision. The inescapable purpose behind this secrecy was to arrange the appointment of a Republican to this Court without having to suffer the possibility that the voters might want a free and fair election. This is unacceptable to me. Still, even after a contested General Election became required due to the existence of two candidates for this office, three local Republicans appointed their pre-selected candidate to the fill out the retired judge’s term of office so the appointee could run as an incumbent.

What are your qualifications and/or background for this position?

Having worked in the Law since 1988, I have conducted hundreds of jury trials in the areas of criminal complaints, family relations disputes, child protection matters, and civil litigation. More than just advocating for all sides of every equation, I have personally been a victim of crime, as have members of my family, and have been mistreated by the Justice system. I have  suffered malicious attacks by government officials. I know what its like to suffer the indifference of family court Judges when action was required. These professional and personal experiences give me a unique perspective on the Justice System, and how to make it better.

[Edit: Advocate News removed Mr. Morehart’s third response because it did not conform to our publication’s conventions regarding negative and/or unsubstantiated information about an opponent.]


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