The publisher of Houston Business Connections magazine and newspaper met Judge John Schmude for the first time back in 2014 shortly after he pulled off an underdog primary victory against two very qualified and well-funded opponents: one who was a board certified and accomplished family lawyer and the other who was the popular sitting Associate Judge of the 247th. Schmude entered the race with no money, no political consultant, almost no name recognition, no major donors, and very little support among the family law bar. On paper, he had no chance. However, his faith, hard work, an uncanny ability to connect with voters and sweeping support among evangelicals and right to life organizations propelled a longshot candidate to a truly incredible and improbable victory. In many respects, Schmude’s campaign broke all the rules and beat all the odds.
After nearly four months in office, it is apparent that the administration of this Court is already earning a reputation for innovation, efficiency and hard work. One innovative tool that Judge Schmude launched at the beginning of the year is the Court’s new “Express Docket.” The purpose of the Express Docket is to provide lawyers and litigants who require less than five minutes of the Court’s time an opportunity to have their case handled before the call of the main docket – saving litigants time and streamlining the Court’s daily docket. What a great idea!
In less than four months, Judge Schmude and his Associate, Judge Paula Vlahakos, have taken the bull by the horns and have disposed of well over 1,000 cases and are already making significant progress in addressing the enormous backlog of cases that were pending in the 247th at the beginning of 2015. Moreover, the 247th has already been recognized by the Harris County District Clerk’s Office as being the most efficient Court for electronic filing for three consecutive months in 2015. By any measure, this is a very impressive start for a new Judge who was criticized – by many within his own party – for lacking the experience necessary to preside over this important family court bench. It’s refreshing to see the immediate success of a previously unknown judicial candidate with an innovative approach, new ideas and a fresh perspective.
The 247th District Court is one of eleven family district courts in Harris County handling divorces, adoptions, CPS cases, paternity actions, custody cases, and child support.
Harris County Family Court Judges
245TH - Judge Roy L. Moore
246TH - Judge Charley Prine
247TH - Judge John Schmude
257TH - Judge Judy Warne
280TH - Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull
308TH - Judge James Lombardino
309TH - Judge Sheri Y. Dean
310TH - Judge Lisa Millard
311TH - Judge Alicia Franklin York
312TH - Judge David Farr
CPC - Judge Katrina M. Griffith
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