Weatherford Democrat

February 26, 2014

Meet the March 4 primary election candidates: Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace


Weatherford Democrat

Name: Bernard R. Suchocki

Age: 71

Occupation: trial attorney

Family: My wife, Connie Givens Suchocki, is a former school teacher and Aledo ISD trustee. We have been happily married for 46 years and we have been Parker County residents for the last 25 years. Our son is Bernard “Chip” Suchocki Jr., a firefighter, and our daughter is Amy Suchocki Cleveland, who is employed by a defense contractor. We have four granddaughters: Savannah, Caroline, Elizabeth and Macy.

Educational background: JD Doctor of Jurisprudence; graduate courses in mathematics; bachelor of science degree in Physics and Mathematics.

Professional affiliations or memberships: lifelong conservative Republican; member of the Apollo XIII mission operations team; Presidential Medal of Freedom Award to the Apollo XIII Mission Operations Team; United States Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, participant; board-certified personal injury trial lawyer; Texas State Bar; Texas State Bar, Litigation Section; United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas.

Community involvement: Willow Park City Council (member), Willow Park Planning & Zoning (former commissioner), Willow Park Department Board of Directors (former member), El Lago City Council (former member); Public service speaker for the last 25 years regarding the Apollo program and the “Success of Apollo 13.” Such presentations include graphics-rich video, personal text messages from Apollo astronauts and memorabilia flown in space and taken to the lunar surface. I have made local presentations to local and area students and the following organizations: , Stuard Elementary, McAnally Intermediate, Mary Martin Elementary, S.H. Crowley Intermediate, Crowley L. Davis Elementary, Davis Learning Center, Ruth Cherry Elementary, Wayside Middle School and teachers at Mary Martin Elementary; Aledo Lions Club; Republican party; former volunteer tax assessor/collector for the City of El Lago; East Parker County Chamber Association; Center of Hope volunteer; Snack Pack volunteer for Aledo students.



What will be your top three priorities if elected justice of the peace and what steps will you take to achieve those goals?

A. My first priority would be to achieve an organized transition of responsibilities and ensure that any deadlines or critical hearings or functions are identified and handled. The steps to achieve this goal would be: (1) attend court hearings; (2) set up meetings with key personnel; and (3) review any pending deadlines from the court docket and from staff personnel.

B. My second priority would be to begin a study and assessment of the office to increase efficiency and productivity. The steps to achieve this goal include: (1) studying the job descriptions of each staff member; (2) interviewing each staff member; (3) obtaining staff input, concerns and opinions; (4) developing a working best practices manual; and (5) initiating weekly staff meetings to coordinate activities within the office and to identify and resolve issues before they become problems.

C. My third goal is to work with the community at large. I will invite and listen to input from organizations, parents and teachers and continually strive to improve the legal services provided by the justice of peace court.



How can court efficiency or other areas of court operations be improved and what are your plans to do so if elected?

Court efficiency is addressed above in items (a) through (c). I will honor the public trust. I will not have any competing individual law practice. I will be a full-time judge and I will continually strive to be fair and impartial and improve organization and efficiency. I will not decide an issue hastily or on emotion. Each time I take the bench I will remind myself of Deuteronomy 1:16: “And I charged your judges at the time, saying, hear the causes between our brethren and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.”



Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A. I worked for NASA for 14 years and trained Apollo astronauts who were highly skilled and dedicated individuals. I came away from that experience with an incessant drive for perfection, detail, accuracy and organization. I worked hundreds of volunteer hours to help put a man on the moon. I will bring these skills and this work ethic with me as justice of the peace.

B. After the Apollo program, I managed the collection and organization of software requirements for the operations software to be tested in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL). I will bring these management and project development skills with me as justice of the peace.

C. After NASA I became an attorney in 1981 and became board certified in personal injury trial law in 1989. With the encouragement and backing of my wife, I worked almost 24/7 for several years to build a law practice and become the managing partner of Suchocki, Bullard & Cummings.

In the last 32 years, I have tried cases in many counties throughout the state, including cases in federal courts, district courts, county courts and justice of the peace courts and have appeared before many different judges. I will bring these management skills and 32 years of legal knowledge and trial experience with me as justice of the peace, along with a commitment to be fair and impartial and to follow the law and be reasonable in assessing judgments.

D. I have three cases left that will be resolved within the next several months. As such, I will not have an independent practice when I am elected justice of the peace. I will be a full-time judge and I am committed to a motto that I developed as a young man with NASA and a motto that I am passing on to my grandchildren: “No matter how big or small the task, do it better than it has ever been done before.”



What training or experience has prepared you to do this job? In what areas do you expect to need additional training or education?

I believe the description of my education, training and experience as noted in items (a) and (d) above qualify me for the position of justice of the peace. In addition, as an attorney I am required to attend at least 15 hours of continuing education each year. As a board-certified trial attorney, I must apply for recertification every five years and meet practice, peer review and continuing education requirements.

Nonetheless, I intend to supplement and continually improve my qualifications by: (1) seeking input from current and former JP Judges about recommendations; (2) observing and incorporating the best practices of other JP courts; and (3) identifying and scheduling a comprehensive series of continuing education courses throughout my term as justice of the peace.