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Dallas County Criminal Court-at-Law 10

This Court only handles criminal domestic violence cases.
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    Roberto Canas (Dem) Judge

  • Etta J Mullin (Dem)

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Biographical Information

PERFORMANCE & EXPERTISE: Please outline your legal experience, including any specializations and peer review status. Describe any public reprimands or suspensions you have received.

EFFICIENCY: What methods do you support, if any, to increase the efficiency of the County Criminal Courts to provide swift justice?

ACCESS TO JUSTICE: What, if anything, should be done to improve access to justice for low income residents in criminal cases? What options, if any, should be considered for reducing the incidence of jail time for those who do not have the money to pay a fine?

OTHER ISSUES: What other issues do you believe are most pressing in the County Criminal Courts, and how would you address them?

Age 47
Education Texas Tech Law School graduated cum laude in 1997. U.T. Austin graduated cum laude 1993.
Campaign Phone (214) 796-3674
Twitter @judgerobcanas
I have been a judge for eleven years and was a prosecutor for almost eight years prior to that. I handle only domestic violence cases, and my court was named a Domestic Violence Mentor Court by the federal government, one of only ten in the nation. This means other communities come to Dallas to learn how to operate a domestic violence court because I exhibit best practices. My most recent Dallas Bar Association Poll results were excellent. I received over 90% approval in all categories, especially temperament and demeanor (97%). I have received no reprimands or suspensions. You can learn more about my experience at www.judgerobcanas.com
Timeliness and efficiency are important in all criminal cases, but in particular, domestic violence cases. Ideally, the process of handling a domestic violence case would begin within twenty-four hours of an incident. That is currently not happening. However, I work on the Mayor of Dallas’ Domestic Violence Executive Task Force where we are looking at the entire process of how domestic violence cases are handled from initial dispatch to final disposition. Some reasons why we are not in an ideal situation include lack of enough detectives and prosecutors and out-dated technology. The Executive Task Force and I are working to address these issues. You can learn more about how domestic violence cases are handled at www.judgerobcanas.com
Over the past year, the criminal court judges have been working to reform the bail system away from a money-based system in determining who can be released from jail. A money-based system obviously penalizes low-income people. Instead, we are using a risk-assessment to determine who is at low-risk for committing a crime or for not showing up to court. Then those people can be released without a money bond and are monitored. It is illegal to jail someone because they did not pay a fine if they are unable to do so. A new law requires judges to determine if a person can pay the fine when they are sentenced. If they can pay, then they will be required to do so, if not, then the judge can order an alternative to satisfy the sentence.
One issue in particular that specifically affects my court is the removal of firearms from domestic violence offenders. Both federal and state law prohibit domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms. However, there never was a mechanism for judges to ensure that these offenders were complying with the law and divesting themselves of their firearms. Two years ago, I started the first ever gun surrender program for domestic violence offenders in Dallas County. I partnered with the Sheriff and District Attorney, received grant money from the Governor’s Office and developed the appropriate court procedures. As of January 2018, over 99 firearms have been surrendered to the Sheriff’s Department. Learn more at www.judgerobcanas.com
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