Grambling State University,
Magna Cum Laude
Texas Southern University,
During law school, I interned for the West Palm Beach Public Defender’s Office. I also served as an extern for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
After completing law school, I worked for Monitronics International, Inc., as the Administrator of Consumer and Legal Affairs. In 2003, I launched a solo legal practice. In 2004, I received my Mediation Training Certificate. I have practiced law for over 17 years. I have been admitted to the Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas.
I have served as a Special Commissioner for various Dallas County Courts at Law, in which I presided over hearings with two other individuals.
I have never received any public reprimands or suspension.
All cases will be processed timely to make sure individuals are not sitting in jail, when the individual should be released.
I will also make sure that everyone that suffers from mental illness will be aware of the option of completing a program that will assist them with the necessary help that is needed. The program is only the first step. I would also provide them with information for assistance beyond the program. This information will be available at the court, in the community, and on the court's website.
I would also meet with the District Attorney’s Office and defense bar to develop a new procedure for handling traffic ticket appeals more efficiently.
As a volunteer for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, I understand the need for individuals to have affordable representation. Everyone deserves affordable and quality legal representation. I believe there is always room for improvement. I do applaud our Access to Justice program. I believe more individuals can receive access to justice, if attorneys were aggressively recruited to volunteer. I believe more attorneys will volunteer, if they are asked.
I believe it is important for a judge to serve in the courtroom and the community. I will implement mental health symposiums and traffic ticket seminars in our community, to bring awareness of these matters.
If we educate the community, less individuals that suffer from mental illness will be arrested. Individuals that suffer from mental illness will obtain the necessary information on how to receive the help that is needed. In addition, individuals will learn how to help individuals that suffers from mental illness.
Educating the community on the process of handling traffic tickets and traffic ticket appeals will be valuable information, to help individuals in making a choice, on how to handle a traffic ticket.
College: Trinity University, Bachelor of Arts 1984
SMU Law School, Juris Doctor 1988
I am honored the voters have returned me to office for 19 years. I have been licensed to practice law for 29 years and I have tried 100’s of cases as a Judge, ADA, and defense attorney. I run an award winning mental health diversion court whose mission is to get clients out of jail and into treatment in the community. This program is grant funded and free to participants. It offers drug treatment, counseling, case management and upon completion clients get their case dismissed. 1,300 clients have gotten out of jail in this program and I have received $150,000 dollars in grant money this year alone. My court is efficient and I strive to treat everyone who appears in front of me with the utmost respect and consideration.
My Court processes thousands of cases a year because we hear Class C appeals from JP and City Courts. The County has tried for years to get a computer case management system and eventually go paperless. This has been a long process and once it goes live our efficiency will be greatly improved. In the next phase we have been promised that we will automatically be able to receive the appeals from the lower courts. Currently all appeals must be hand delivered and processed. This will be a huge step in the right direction. Unfortunately, as a Judge I do not have control over the bidding or building of this system. I have however been closely involved in the design and hope this will greatly improve efficiency.
Instead of access to justice for low income residents, we need to focus on avoiding criminal charges in the first place. I chair a subcommittee of the $7M Caruth Smart Justice Grant. A large portion of the grant is used to set up teams who respond to people in crisis and deal with them in the community instead of sending them to jail. We also need to institute bail reform and improve our Pretrial release department. For those already in jail, they are entitled to have an attorney appointed to them if they are indigent. I sit on a committee of Judges who screen court appointed attorneys to ensure they are high quality and meet the set standards. We also need to continue to support diversion programs, like mine that offer people a 2nd chance.
I hear many writs on cases where a person has pled to Class C Assault or drug related case in the lower court and did not know it could it could affect their immigration status or their ability to get a professional license. On such cases that have collateral legal consequences, one should be entitled to have an attorney appointed. I also hear outpatient competency restoration cases which is a program that allows inmates who have been determined incompetent by a psychiatrist to have their competency restored in the community if they are not a danger to themselves or others. We need more mental health funding in Dallas County and we need to expand our state mental hospital system so we can accommodate those who need help.