Litigation attorney George “Jerrell” Wise and Assistant Brazos County District Attorney John Brick are the two candidates vying for the Republican nomination to replace Travis Bryan III as the 272nd District Court judge.
In separate interviews with The Eagle, Brick and Wise stated their respective cases for Republican primary voters.
Wise shared about mentors who helped him navigate pivotal points in his career, which began with six years in Mesquite as a patrol officer. He said that his work in myriad legal capacities — as a prosecutor, police officer, defense attorney and civil litigator — combined with other life experiences makes him “uniquely qualified” to serve as a Brazos County district judge.
Brick recently completed five years as the chief prosecutor assigned to the 85th District Court. He said that he has more than 75 jury trials under his belt and argued that his years of trial experience and his “thorough understanding of the law” equips him well to serve as a judge. He also expressed a passion for ensuring that everyone has a fair trial.
Bryan announced last June that he would retire. No Democrat filed to run for 272nd District Court judge.
Brick, who was born in Bryan, is a 1995 graduate of A&M Consolidated High School and earned a degree from Baylor University. He graduated from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 2002. Brick began his prosecutorial career in Huntsville in 2004 at the Walker County DA office after two years at a small civil law firm in Houston. Brick’s wife, Jamee Boutell Brick, is a teacher in College Station. They wanted to move back to the Brazos Valley and did so in 2004. They joined Central Baptist Church in 2005, where they remain active members. The Bricks have three children.
Upon returning to B-CS, Brick joined the Brazos County DA office and prosecuted a variety of felony cases, including capital murder, drug possession and child abuse. In the interview, Brick credited former district attorney Bill Turner “for giving me a chance” to prosecute felonies locally.
“We love this community and wanted to be back here,” he said. “We want to invest in this community and do all we can — and I feel like I’ve done that at the DA office in trying to help victims out. What I want to do is take the next step of becoming a district judge. I want to listen to the evidence and then make the ultimate decision.”
Brick shared his perspective on what makes a good judge, and said he said he wants voters to know that has seen, in Houston, Huntsville and locally, a variety of judiciary styles, and has a keen understanding of effective approaches.
“What I think makes a good judge is when you go into the courtroom and you feel like that judge is not favoring one party or the other — that they are completely unbiased, enforcing the rules of evidence and the rules of procedure for both parties,” Brick said. “What matters is that everyone feels they had a fair day in court and that a judge has the right judicial temperament.”
“Of course, you need to know the law,” he continued. “I feel like am a quick learner, and I feel pretty well-equipped going in. It would be a smooth transition.”
He said he’s earned support from defense lawyers as well as civil lawyers.
“I think it’s because of the way I’ve interacted with them — they know that I’ve been fair and that I will be a fair and impartial judge,” Brick said. “I told them that I’m not going to be a prosecutor on the bench. I’m going to be an impartial judge.”
George ‘Jerrell’ Wise
A member of the A&M class of 1999, Wise was a member of Squadron 17 in the Corps of Cadets.
In the interview, Wise said there was “no greater honor” than the six years he spent serving as a police officer in Mesquite. Wise said that in 2007, one of his mentors, Justice of the Peace Ken Blackington, told him that to make the greatest difference, he should go to law school, become an attorney and, eventually, run for district court judge.
He attended the University of Houston Law School. While there, Wise said, he took a courtroom storytelling class by Jim Perdue that shaped his approach as a trial attorney, and also had a federal district court internship with Judge Gray Miller.
“Two judges in my life, both former police officers, really inspired me to start this journey and have inspired me along the way,” Wise said.
Wise has worked for the past six years at Daniel Stark Law as a senior litigation attorney.
Wise said that his life experiences, and the perspective that comes from those experiences, would shape his approach to serving as judge, lifting up his time as an officer as well as trial experiences in particular. He also said that working with at-risk youth has been “near and dear” to him over the years.
“That knowledge and wisdom didn’t come from a book — it came from a life,” Wise said. “There’s also the commitment to the law, and the knowledge and the belief that the law must be upheld, because I know what happens when it’s not.”
He and his wife, educator Emily Foster Wise, have five children ages 3 to 15. Wise is an elder at Declaration Church.
Wise said that he is “uniquely qualified” because district judges in Brazos County preside over courts of general jurisdiction, meaning they handle civil and criminal cases, and the 272nd court also handles some juvenile cases — all areas, Wise said, in which he has experience.
“My background in law enforcement, criminal prosecution both during and after law school, criminal defense and, for the last six years, as a civil trial attorney trying cases all around Texas … I’ve been able to do things that have well-rounded me to be the right fit for this court,” Wise said. He added that he has argued cases in state and federal court, before the Texas Supreme Court and the Tenth Court of Appeals in Waco.
To learn more about Wise, visit votewiseforjudge.com/. For more information about Brick’s campaign, go to brickforbrazos.com/. Additionally, both men have active Facebook campaign pages: “Brick for Brazos” and “Wise for Brazos County District Judge.”
Brick is hosting a meet and greet today at 5:30 p.m. at The Village in Bryan; Wise’s next meet and greet is Monday at 7 p.m. at Howdy’s Pizza in College Station.
Early voting begins Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28. On March 3, voters can cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To view all polling places and see sample ballots, visit brazosvotes.com.