Issue: No. 69                                                                             July 6, 2016
Click here to download an updated chart showing which Harris County family courts require mediation before temporary orders.

Click here to download a 2016 Chart of Harris County family courts.


In this issue ....
This week The Mongoose dumps a cold bucket of political reality on the family law world and introduces the Democratic nominee for the 507th Family District Court: Julia Maldonado.   So, this November it will be appointed Republican Judge Alyssa Lemkuil (assuming her party nominates her on July 16 as expected) versus Democrat Ms. Maldonado.

This is heresy to my fellow Democrats, but I think Alyssa Lemkuil is a really good judge and if the race were decided on merit and current qualifications, Lemkuil should win.   Julia Maldonado may turn out to be a fine judge, but right now she does not have Lemkuil's track record.  If Maldonado is elected, I have confidence in her abilities to be a hard working, fair judge.  After all, when John Schmude was elected, he was not nearly as qualified on paper as Maldonado is now and Judge Schmude has turned out to be an excellent judge.   But, right now we KNOW Lemkuil already is an excellent judge and we do not need to hope or guess how she will be as a judge.

However, I predict that Maldonado may very well win for reasons that neither she or Lemkuil can control or influence.  It does not matter how much either raises in political donations nor how hard they campaign because neither can really determine their fate in a Presidential election year (unless there is a high profile scandal, like a DWI arrest).  Judge Lemkuil's fate is in the tiny hands of Donald Trump.

I have updated my chart on which Harris County family district courts require mediation before temporary orders.  As you ponder how nice it would be if all ten courts followed the same dang rule, click here to download my new chart.

In each issue I will try to suggest a book or movie to broaden the cultural experience of family law attorneys and judges.  This week, I strongly recommend the movie "Dirty Grandpa" which is out on DVD and Blu-ray (and iTunes and Amazon stream).  This is a hilarious and very "R" rated movie that even those who are not grandfathers like me will enjoy.

I do not expect to win every case.  I just want an efficient system in which my client gets a fair hearing before a judge who works hard, knows the law, and does not play favorites.  I also expect judges to appoint qualified amicus attorneys who zealously look after children (and who actually personally visit their minor clients in their homes).   Is that asking too much?  Stay tuned.
Greg Enos
The Enos Law Firm 

 The Enos Law Firm
  17207 Feather Craft Lane, Webster, Texas 77598
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The Mongoose

DemsDemocrats Select Julia Maldonado to Face Alyssa Lemkuil
The Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee selected Julia Maldonado to be the party's nominee for the 507th Family District Court.  Six attorneys entered the race: Jim Evans, Sandra Peake, Chip Wells, Shawn Thierry, Germaine Tanner, and Maldonado.  The election was decided by the Democratic Precinct chairs.  Each candidate was given two minutes to speak before the precinct chairs voted by walking to the stand behind their chosen candidate.  

A diverse, happy and very well behaved gaggle of Democrats selected judicial nominees in two races last week, including the 507th.

Shawn Thierry and Julia Maldonado received the highest vote totals but neither reached 50%, so an immediate runoff election was held.  Maldonado ended up with 123 votes to Thierry's 115.  This has to be one of the cheapest judicial primaries for candidates in decades.  The 507th was created as of January 1, 2016, so it was too late to use the usual primary election to select the parties' nominees.  

The Republican Party Executive Committee meets on July 16 to select its nominee and there seems little doubt the party will nominate Alyssa Lemkuil, who was appointed by Governor Abbott to serve as the Judge of the brand new 507th District Court.

Maldonado is Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has practiced law for over 15 years.  She has two grown sons and  is a grandmother. 

Maldonado in many ways has lived the American dream and she should be the local poster child for what is wrong with what Donald Trump says about Mexicans and his stupid "Big Wall."    Maldonado was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. at age 11.  She received her citizenship in 1985.  Maldonado attended Houston public schools, received an accounting degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from Texas Southern University.  Click here to read an interview of Maldonado in Charles Kuffner's excellent political blog.

Read the next article below to see why I think there is such a big chance that Maldonado will get elected this November.
 Election2016 Election Analysis for Harris County
Harris County District Court judicial races in the general election in Presidential Election years depend on what voters do at the top of the ticket (just ask Judge David Farr).  This year, the newly created 507th District Court is up for election in a Presidential Election year, and that must surely make Judge Alyssa Lemkuil very nervous.

If Clinton defeats Trump in Harris County in November 2016 by more than two percentage points, it is very likely that Democrats will sweep all Harris County judicial races.  In 2008, Obama beat McCain in Harris County by 1.06% and Democrats won 22 of 26 races for district courts in Harris County.  In 2008, the only Democrats who lost their judicial races had "foreign sounding" names such as Ashish Mehendru or Mekisha Murray.  

In 2012, Obama carried Harris County by just 0.08% and Democrats won 14 district court races and the Republicans won 9.  In 2012, there was one race for district court that pitted two female candidates against each other.  Republican Elizabeth Ray (a very Anglo sounding name) defeated Democrat Josefina Rendon (an obvious Hispanic name) by 14,468 votes or 50.64% to 49.36%.  Will Julia Maldonado suffer because she is clearly Hispanic or will ignorant voters wonder if "Lemkuil" is an "American name" ?  Will Trump bring out many additional Hispanic voters who will either vote straight Democratic or select Maldonado because it is a familiar name?

The following chart summarizes the last two general elections in Harris County in presidential years:

Texas allows voters to vote a straight party ticket and then, if they want, go down the ballot and vote for individuals of the other party.  Former District Judge Mark Davidson, a Republican who was defeated in the 2008 Obama sweep, estimated then that less than 3% of straight ticket voters split their votes in local judicial races.  Attorneys cannot know who all of the judicial candidates are and certainly the general public cannot, which explains why Harris County voters mostly vote straight ticket or go down the list voting for judges based on how they react to the names.  Obviously, this is a very stupid way to select our trial court judges, but it is the system we are stuck with.

I know that Trump will carry Texas, but not by nearly as much as past Republicans.  Romney won Texas by 16% and current polls show Trump ahead in Texas by just 6%.   I find it hard to believe that Hilary Clinton will not get at least 51% of the vote in Harris County given all Trump is doing and saying to lose this election. I would be very surprised if Maldonado loses should Clinton receives over 51% of the Harris County vote.

The big tort lawyers who spend so much in judicial races will spend record amounts this year because they believe the Democrats will sweep the county.  When our Senator Ted Cruz and our two former Presidents named Bush are refusing to support Trump, it seems unlikely that local Republicans are going to generate much enthusiasm for this election.  Trump will continue to say outrageous things and voters will eventually start paying attention to the federal lawsuit filed against Trump by a woman who alleges that Trump raped her when she was 13.  Click here to read an article that reminds us how the media ignored sexual allegations against Bill Cosby and why this lawsuit against Trump should be taken seriously.

DupuyDupuy is Out of Jail (For Now)
Former Galveston County Judge Christopher Dupuy is out of jail after 11 months behind bars.  Dupuy was arrested for allegedly posting online escort ads using the photographs of two women he knew.  Dupuy could not post the very large bond his former judicial colleague Michelle Slaughter insisted on.  But, a visiting judge last month dismissed the charges, calling the statute used to charge Dupuy "overbroad" and thus unconstitutional.  Dupuy faces a hearing in August to revoke his probation arising from his 2013 conviction for official oppression.   Dupuy is still under strict bond conditions - he has to wear a GPS tracker and keep a daily journal of anything he does outside of his home. He's also not allowed to text, use social media, or use or possess "any knife other than a standard steak knife."

Now here is the amazing news: Dupuy can still practice law because the State Bar has never pushed its case to disbar Dupuy to trial.  It makes you wonder exactly what it takes to lose your law license if indictment, removal from office, conviction and probation and then arrest on other charges are not enough.

Finally, let's all recall what police found in Dupuy's apartment when they arrested him last year: two  laser-sighted pistol, a silencer,  magazines for the pistols, a 950,000-volt stun gun shaped like a pair of brass knuckles, duct tape, a pair of black gloves, and  a GPS tracking device.

If you are curious to read more about what surely must be one of the oddest judicial careers in Texas history, check out these two excellent articles from the Houston Press:

Notorious Ex-Judge Chris Dupuy Free After Charges Dismissed

Ex-Judge Chris Dupuy Was Arrested With a Lot of Weapons, but Should He Stay in Jail?

What is "Misogyny" and Why Should Family Law Attorneys Care?
Misogyny is a word that has been used a lot in the 2016 Presidential race and I have been wondering what it means and how to properly use the term.  It turns out that "misogyny" is a concept we deal with frequently in divorce and custody cases.  It is also a rare word that can use both "Y's" in Scrabble and would be worth a minimum of 17 points.

Misogyny ("miss oj uh knee") is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, hostility, male supremacist ideas, belittling of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.  The opposite of misogyny is "misandry."  A person who hates men can be described as a misandrist, and the corresponding noun is misandry.

For example, recently Mitt Romney suggested that Donald Trump's election could legitimize racism and misogyny, ushering in a change in the moral fabric of American society.  "I simply can't put my name down as someone who voted for principles that suggest racism or xenophobia, misogyny, bigotry," Mr. Romney said to CNN. "I don't want to see a president of the United States saying things which change the character of the generations of Americans that are following. Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America," he said.

Campaigning in Florida the following morning, Mr. Trump responded by calling the 2012 GOP a "stone cold loser" and "a real stiff."  "I watched this poor sad Mitt Romney this morning," Mr. Trump told supporters. "I don't think he knows what misogynist is."  Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump told his Twitter followers that "Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog."


Consider this excerpt from "12 Ways to Spot a Misogynist" by Berit Brogaard Ph.D from the Psychology Today website ( click here to read the full article): 

In most cases, misogynists do not even know that they hate women. Misogyny is typically an unconscious hatred that men form early in life, often as a result of a trauma involving a female figure they trusted. An abusive or negligent mother, sister, teacher or girlfriend can plant a seed deep down in their brain's subcortical matter.

Once planted, this seed will germinate and begin to grow, the tiny root working its way into the fear processing and memory areas of the brain as its tiny stem works its way into frontal areas of the brain, affecting emotion and rational decision-making.

The following traits are typical of the misogynist:

1.    He will zero in on a woman and choose her as his target. Her natural defenses may be down because he's flirtatious, exciting, fun, and charismatic at first.
2.   As time goes on, he begins to reveal a Jekyll & Hyde personality. He may change quickly from irresistible to rude, and from rude back to irresistible.
3. He will make promises to women and often fail to keep them. With men, on the other hand, he will almost always keep his word.
4. He will be late for appointments and dates with women, but be quite punctual with men.
5. His behavior toward women in general is grandiose, cocky, controlling, and self-centered.
6. He is extremely competitive, especially with women. If a woman does better than him socially or professionally, he feels terrible. If a man does better, he may have mixed feelings about it but he is able to look at the situation objectively.
7. He will unknowingly treat women differently from men in workplace and social settings, allowing men various liberties for which he will criticize female colleagues or friends.
8. He will be prepared (unconsciously) to use anything within his power to make women feel miserable. He may demand sex or withhold sex in his relationships, make jokes about women or put them down in public, "borrow" their ideas in professional contexts without giving them credit, or borrow money from them without paying them back.
9. On a date, he will treat a woman the opposite of how she prefers. If she is an old-style lady who prefers a "gentleman" who holds the door for her, orders for both and pays for the meal, he will treat her like one of his male buddies, order for himself, and let her pay for the whole meal if she offers (and sometimes even if she doesn't). If she is a more independent type who prefers to order her own meal and pay for herself, he will rudely order for both and pay the check while she goes to the bathroom.
10. Sexually, he likes to control women and gives little or no attention to their sexual pleasure. Foreplay, if it occurs at all, is only a necessary means to an end. He likes oral sex but only as a recipient. His favorite positions enable him to avoid looking the woman in her eyes.
11. He will cheat on women he is dating or in a relationship with. Monogamy is the last thing he feels he owes a woman.
12.  He may suddenly disappear from a relationship without ending it, but may come back three months later with an explanation designed to lure the woman back in.

Only rarely will a misogynist possess every one of these traits, which makes it harder to identify them. Their ability to lure women in with their charm and charisma adds to the difficulty of spotting the early-warning signs.

Women haters (unconsciously) get off on treating women badly. Every time they can put down a woman or hurt her feelings, they unconsciously feel good because deep down in their hidden brain, their bad behavior is rewarded with a dose of the pleasure chemical dopamine-which makes them want to repeat the behavior again and again.

Family law attorneys often run into parties who are misogynists and understanding this personality trait will help us better understand our clients and their spouses.  We may even know a few lawyers who might qualify for this label.

The Meaning of "Reside" and "Residence" in Family Law Cases
Consider these scenarios and the meaning of "reside" or "residence" found in so many parts of the standard divorce decree:

1.  A divorced father keeps his house in Katy but buys a lake house outside of Austin and begins to spend most of his time there, but he returns on weekends to Katy to exercise his visitation with his children, who live with their mother in west Houston.  On April 1, the father designates 42 days of visitation in the summer because he says he resides more than 100 miles from the children.  The mother/ex-wife disagrees and points out the father still owns his house in Katy (which is designated as his homestead) and he is registered to vote in Katy.  Where does the father reside?

2.  A divorced mother lives with her three year old child in an apartment in Clear Lake in Harris County where the divorce was granted.   Mom meets a new guy and begins to spend most nights at the boyfriend's house in Friendswood, which is in Galveston County.  The ex-husband who lives in Harris County contends that the mother must now come to his house to get the child at the end of his possession periods because the mother no longer resides in Harris County where they both resided at the time of the divorce.

3.  A father is granted the exclusive right to determine the child's residence in Harris or contiguous counties.  The mother volunteers for the Donald Trump campaign and when Trump is elected (and I move to Canada), the mother accepts a job in the White House in Washington, D.C.  Mom rents an apartment in Virginia but keeps her house in Houston and lets her nephew live there.  Can the father now move to Japan with the child because the mother no longer resides in Harris or contiguous counties?

4.  A woman owns a house in The Woodlands but for two years she has worked for Exxon in Indonesia while her husband has been living with a woman in Dallas.  Can the engineer file for divorce in Montgomery County?  She may be a domiciliary of Texas but can she say she has resided in The Woodlands while she was working overseas?

All of these questions hinge on the meaning of "reside" or "residence."  The meanings of those words can determine: what a specific portion of a court order means and what restrictions or obligations the court order imposes, whether a court has jurisdiction in a divorce and where a divorce or custody case can be filed or how a court order is enforced (and even whether it is enforceable by contempt).  Where a child or parent or spouse resides can have huge legal significance, and that depends on what "reside" means.

I just recently won a dispute over transfer of modification and enforcement cases from Harris to Kerr County in which  the father had gone to work in Hawaii for 9 months and while he was away, the mother with primary custody moved to Kerrville.  The legal battle was over whether the father's temporary job in Hawaii lifted the geographic residence restriction.  These issues actually do come up in our practices and this article explores the legal issues in detail.

Click here to download the full article.  Please e-mail me with your thoughts, disagreements and suggested changes.

linksUseful Links for Lawyers
Harris County Vacation Request Form
HBA Family Section Summary of Harris County Family Court Procedures

be him
Attorney Greg Enos has been through his own divorce and  child custody battle (he won) and understands  what his clients are going through.  Enos  graduated from the University of Texas Law  School and was a successful personal injury  attorney in Texas City be fore he decided his true  calling was to help families in divorce and child  custody cases. Greg Enos is active in politics and in Clear Lake area charities.  He has served as President of the Bay Area Bar Association and President of the Board of  Interfaith Caring Ministries.  The Enos Law Firm serves clients in Galveston County and Harris County, Texas.  

Greg Enos

Board Certified in Family Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization

The Enos Law Firm