Tyler lawyer to run for Smith Co. family court judge - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Tyler lawyer to run for Smith Co. family court judge

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TYLER (KYTX) -

Attorney John Jarvis filed paperwork verifying his intent to run for Smith County 321st District Judge Thursday afternoon. On Friday, he told CBS 19 why he's a good fit for the job.

Smith County's 321st District Court is devoted to helping children, families, and drug addicts. Judge Carole Clark has been on the bench for the last sixteen years.

Jarvis said he's always been interested in family law. After high school in Tyler, Jarvis went to Baylor for his accounting degree and then on to law school.

"I started practicing with my father here in Smith County immediately after graduating and passing the bar,' Jarvis said. "I've worked in all the different courts and I've done all types of cases."

Despite all the legal experience, it's Jarvis' background as a certified public accountant that could end up speaking to voters concerned about the use of tax dollars.

Judge Clark's spending came under scrutiny in June after county commissioners began examining budget overruns and ultimately cut off payment for certain attorneys employed by the court.

"A lot of this court is administrative," Jarvis said. "You run by a budget. The budget's set by commissioners and you have to follow the budget. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions. Sometimes you have to say 'that's going to get paid, that's not going to get paid, I need extra people, I don't need extra people.' But ultimately, I'm spending your money, or the court is spending your money, and those decisions need to be made properly.

Jarvis said his other goal is compassion since family court doesn't deal with the hardened criminals you find in other courtrooms.

"For the participant, this is typically a terrible, terrible event," he said. "To have to go to court, to be served papers, to end up in front of a judge."

Jarvis and Clark could end up facing off in a run-off election in March of 2014.

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