Judge, County Criminal Court #4 Tarrant County
BA History UT Austin 1984
JD UT Law Austin 1988
Board Certification Criminal Law 2004
I practiced law for many years in State and Federal courts, trying felony cases ranging from Aggravated Assault to Capital Murder. I was elected to the bench in 2002, taking the bench in 2003. I have supervised two specialty court programs, as well.
There are bail reforms to improve the access to criminal justice by low income residents. They assure that people too poor to pay money to be released from custody have the opportunity to have a pretrial release option, rather than be held in custody. An effective court appointment and pro bono system will improve access to the justice system for low income individuals.
The court should hold dockets regularly, and have trials often in order to be efficient and effective to protect individuals rights, as well as providing swift justice. There is a need to balance the necessity to protect the safety of the community and the needs of victims along with the rights of the accused.
I believe the best way to maintain impartiality is to always treat all parties equally, follow the law scrupulously, and adhere to the Constitution in every decision. Clearly, there is a need to raise funds when you run for office, as it is an expensive process, but it is not something that should affect your ability to remain independent and impartial.
Access to justice is currently being addressed by bail reform, fairness in court appointments, and Constitutional review of issues such as court costs. I am very concerned about making sure court appointments are done fairly, and rapidly, and only proper fees are assessed. Another issue facing courts is drug and alcohol addiction. I am helping address these issues with specialty court programs that involve intensive supervision and treatment, rather than incarceration. Mental health issues are also becoming a very serious concern for the courts. Protecting the rights of the individuals with mental health issues must be balanced with meeting their needs for treatment, and the safety of the community. I am helping address this with the help of professionals and court programs.
Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law-Juris Doctorate. University of Texas at Arlington, BA-Radio/TV Broadcasting.
Served as Judge, County Criminal Court #5 (Family Violence Court). Served as Prosecutor and Judge for City of Fort Worth. My experience has allowed me to administer justice and represent clients on thousands of cases over the last 29 years.
The courtroom should be open to all citizens. As Judge, I will never deny access to the courtroom to anyone, unless it presents a danger to others. No matter what a person's income level is, they should always be treated with dignity and respect. All appointed legal counsel must continue to meet the qualifications and experience required.
I will improve the judicial temperament in the court. The current judge consistently receives low rankings in court efficiency, fairness and impartiality-three qualities that are vital for our judicial system. Refer to the latest Tarrant County Bar Association Judicial Evaluation, '2017-p.31. Give me an opportunity to make things much better.
I will never allow campaign contributions to interfere with being fair and impartial to attorneys who appear before my court. Anything less is inappropriate and unethical.
County Criminal Court # 4 is a misdemeanor court. If elected to serve as judge of that court, citizens will be treated with respect and leave knowing I was fair.