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Travis County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3

Primary Election: March 6, 2018Early Voting: February 20 - March 2, 2018
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Martin Harry (Rep)

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    Sylvia Holmes (Dem) Attorney

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    Susan Steeg (Dem) Justice of the Peace Pct. 3

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Biographical Information

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Background Associate Director of Legal Services for Students, 10+ years of experience in justice of peace court, co-organizer of 2017 Women's March on Austin
Education The University of Texas at Austin, BBA McCombs School of Business, 2003 The University of Alabama School of Law, JD, 2006
The majority of my career has been in private litigation representing plaintiffs and defendants in small claims and criminal defendants in county courts at law. In my current role as Associate Director of Legal Services for Students at UT, I oversee a diverse staff in the daily workings of a non-profit legal office serving over 52,000 clients. I handle matters before the Justice of the Peace dockets on a daily basis, including criminal misdemeanors, contract claims, landlord/tenant disputes, personal loans, car repairs/sales/collisions, and interpersonal relationships.
Improved technology to ensure that confidential legal information is being securely stored and protected from unauthorized use.
I would expand the hours currently offered for individuals to resolve uncontested matters and provide online dismissal options for common traffic tickets. Modern times require a people's court that accommodates community members with non-traditional job times, who possess limited transportation options or simply desire convenience. Extending hours and providing online dismissal options are easy, cost-effective solutions that assist everyone.
Background Lifelong leader & social activist: poverty law, LGBTQ, Medicaid, women & children’s health, restorative justice, environment, and affordable housing
Education B.A. Honors University of Texas Austin 1975; J.D. UT School of Law 1977; Governor’s Executive Development Program LBJ School of Public Affairs 1997
As JP since 2007, I have presided over thousands of civil and criminal cases with dignity, fairness, and integrity. With 22 years of management experience, as JP and General Counsel of the Texas Dept of Health, I have eliminated court backlogs, efficiently set cases, and implemented a cloud-based case management system for all JP courts. I established the I Can Do It truancy prevention program directed by a social worker to work with families who face daily challenges with housing, mental health, and food security. Elected Public Official of the Year 2015-Nat’l Assn of Social Workers-TX.
The 2018 budget for JP3 is $1.8M which mostly covers salaries and benefits for the staff of 25. I have been able to shift staff as caseloads fluctuate between civil and criminal dockets by cross-training staff. The court is located in a building that needs to be modified to improve security, and these improvements will need significant resources that are outside the JP budget. Resources for technology upgrades come from a dedicated fee fund or Travis County’s technology department and vary from year to year.
A few of my improvements to date have been online filing, online access to judicial records, telephonic conferencing and hearings, and web payment. I am working with the Travis County Collections Office on Airport Blvd to implement video-conferencing so customers do not have to travel to complete payment plans, including indigency determinations. Public transportation to JP3 will be terminated by CapMetro and CARTS in 2018. I am committed to expanding alternatives to court appearances and funding ride vouchers for those who rely on public transportation.