Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal
David Towler hopes to bring hard work and fairness to the office of the district judge, two items he says have been lacking in the current incumbent.
Although he had sometimes considered running for office, Towler said he decided to run after trying several cases in Judge Richard Terrell's district court.
"Judge Terrell convinced me to file," Towler said. "I have tried three jury cases in front of him, and I have tried jury cases in front of many other judges, and I have not had a worse experience than I've had with Judge Terrell."
Towler graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio in 1976, and received an accounting degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 1980. In 1983 he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law, and began working as an attorney in his stepfather's law firm in San Antonio. He was a certified public accountant for 10 years, including a period of time while he was working his way through law school.
In 1994, he opened his own practice, which he moved to South Texas in 2005.
He and his wife, Seana, have two children, a daughter who is working on her Master's degree in public affairs and a son who graduated from Alice High School in 2007 and who is a freshman in college. He and his wife also care for his 15-year-old nephew, who is currently attending Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.
Towler is a diabetic who has been insulin dependent for 25 years, and he said that condition has brought changes in his life that have led to success.
"There is a silver lining behind every cloud, because what it taught me was to be disciplined and to be organized. Diabetes will kill you if you're not both of those," Towler said.
"It's taught me how to exercise a little bit more control over myself in my life."
He and his wife live in Alice, and he runs a small practice in San Diego, where he handles cases that include accident claims, real estate, family law issues, contract disputes and criminal issues.
"I enjoy a small town practice," Towler said. "That gives me some background in each of these areas of the law, because the judge tries everything."
Towler said he believed Judge Terrell has shown a bias in rulings, something he would work to correct.
"I found him to be inconsistent in his rulings. It seemed to matter more who the lawyer was than what the facts of the case were and what the applicable law was. Sometimes it's who the client is. The law ought to be the same for everyone," Towler said. "I saw favoritism, and I have more respect for the legal system than to sit back and watch it happen or just run away from it."
Towler said he had told both his supporters and detractors that no matter what position they took on his campaign, he will not allow it to affect his judgement if he is elected.
"The legal system shouldn't have favoritism. It's not about the lawyers, it's not about the client. It's about the law," Towler said.
Towler also said the docket currently moves too slowly, and said the judge should work longer hours than those put in by the incumbent.
"In criminal cases, if they're guilty, they don't need to be out walking the street," Towler said. "But, if they're not guilty they don't need to be suffering under the burden of charges against them. They need to be able to go on about their life."
One of the main issues facing the office, Towler said, is the need to handle emergency hearings in a more timely fashion. If elected, Towler said he would establish one day a week to work late into the evening to address hearings on emergency cases, such as those that arise in family disputes.
"Cases ought to be handled more quickly," Towler said. "I think the docket needs to move faster than it has. And I think justice really ought to be blind. Blind to the parties, blind to the lawyers, but seeing real clearly the facts."
Although he has no specific problems with the current state of the probation or auditors departments, Towler said he would bring a business-sense to the job that comes from his experience.
"I think I'm better qualified as a judge. I think I will be more fair and unbiased. I think I have more of a business background both as an employee while I was working while I was in college and as an employer," Towler said. "I think it deserves more effort than it's getting. I think it deserves more time, and I'm not a stranger to long hours."