Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Republican primary candidates for District Court 369


Tarrant Criminal District Court 396 is one of Tarrant County's 24 judicial districts. The incumbent judge in that court, George Gallagher, has held the seat since 2000 and faces a challenge from Vincent Giardino in the March 5 Republican primary. The two spoke about their platforms during a Feb. 12 Republican candidate fair and forum hosted at Rockwood Golf Course in Fort Worth.

George Gallagher

Gallagher started by speaking about his background, when he was appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush in 2000, and how he had disposed over 47,000 criminal cases and presided over 300 jury trials in that time.

“My opponent lately has been going through these 47,000 cases and has found five cases where he’s called me soft on crime,” Gallagher said. “(He said) I had given probation too freely. It was done after pre-sentence reports were compiled and it was done working with the D.A. and the defense on those cases. Five cases out of 47,000 cases, just think about it.”

Gallagher then rhetorically asked if he has been so easy on crime, why is he endorsed by a number of law enforcement organizations, including the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, the Arlington Police Association, the Euless Police Association, Grapevine Police Association, Tarrant County Police Association, Haltom City Police Association and Sherriff Bill Waybourn.

“Everyone always wants to back the blue,” Gallagher said. “Back the blue and elect the candidate that you want to see continue.”

Vincent Giardino

Giardino’s speech was relatively animated for the forum. He paced and gestured while describing his experience and views.

“I’m pro-life, I’m pro second amendment, I want to see our borders secure, I want to see us stop the sexualization of children in schools and restaurants, so we are like-minded,” Giardino said. “Also, I want to see criminals held accountable. I was a prosecutor for 10 years and I was a tough prosecutor. I was also a magistrate judge for four years, so I had already handled a lot of these styles of cases that the elected judges handle. I traveled the state teaching police officers and prosecutors, and I was a tough teacher of the police officers, too, because they have to follow the law in order to enforce the law. But if someone has been convicted and pleaded guilty of a violent crime in Tarrant County, they must be held accountable.”

Giardino went on to counter Gallagher’s claims alluding to even more cases where he believed the judge did not convict accordingly.

 “I have way more than five examples of this judge letting dangerous people out on probation,” Giardino said. “He’ll often say he’s running on his record. I’m running on his record, too. It’s a record of very slow progress in the trial court. He averages one trial a month overall those 25 years of service and that actually means you have never actually elected him to office. He was appointed and then he just sat back and got more complacent.”

Giardino concluded with promises for the future of the office if he is elected, describing himself as a grassroots style candidate and stressing his support for law enforcement officers.

“I bring experience and energy to this court, and when I hit the ground running Jan. 1 of 2025, there’s going to be a seismic shift in this courtroom in how we proceed on cases involving violent felons and sex offenders in Tarrant County. I have a lot of grassroots support, not unions, grassroots support. My father and brother are both police officers, so you better believe I back the blue.”

republican, primary