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District Judge, 290th Criminal District Court

Judges serve for four years, hearing felony cases up to Murder 1-Death Penalty.
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  • Stephanie R. Brown (Dem)

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    Jennifer Pena (Dem) Attorney

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Biographical Information

Describe your particular legal experience for the type of judicial position you seek, including how many jury trials you’ve tried as lead counsel.

Discuss your view of proper judicial temperament.

Why are you the best candidate for the position you are seeking? Are you certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in any area of the law?

Please explain your thoughts on recidivism and how your court can reduce repeat incarcerations.

Do you think that judicial races should be non-partisan? Why or why not?

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Campaign Phone (210) 730-6424
Campaign Email jennifer@jenniferpenalaw.com
Experience • Licensed to practice law in the State of Texas since November 2001 • Licensed to practice law in the Western District of Texas since February 2010 October 2009 to Present Criminal Defense Attorney • Practice in County Courts, District Courts and Federal Courts throughout Texas • Member of the Felony Drug Court Team • Member of the Esperanza Court • Participated as a First Chair or Second Chair in a variety of cases including but not limited to Murder and Aggravated Assaults October 2003 to 2009 BEXAR COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE Assistant Criminal District Attorney • Served as Felony Prosecutor for 226th District Court, 186th District Court and 379th District Court • Participated in the Family Violence Division and the DWI Task Force • Participated as a First or Second Chair in over 70 of criminal trials, including but not limited to Capital Murder, Murder, Drug Possession, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Assault and DWIs • Routinely served as a Prosecutor for Magistrate Duty July 2002 CAMERON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE • Assistant Criminal District Attorney • Served as Felony and Misdemeanor Prosecutor • Served as the Juvenile Prosecutor for Cameron County • Served as the head of the Protective Order Division • Participated as a First or Second Chair in criminal trials, including but not limited to Simple Assault, DWI, Aggravated Assault and Burglary EDUCATION May 2001 ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW Doctorate of Jurisprudence • St. Mary’s Civil Clinic • The Scholar: St. Mary’s Law Review on Minority Issues • Black Allied Law Students Association, Regional Treasurer May 1998 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS • AUSTIN, TEXAS Bachelor of Arts (BA), Government and Sociology OTHER ACTIVITIES • Member of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association • Member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association • Member of the Texas Bar College
I'm running for the 290th District Ct, a Criminal Adult Ct that handles felony offenses. I began my career as a prosecutor where I tried actual jury trials that ranged from DWI to Capital Murder, as a Prosecutor, I was assigned to the Criminal Trial Division and Family Violence Unit. After I left the DA's Office, I received my Federal License so that I could represent not only people charged with State Crimes but Federal Crimes as well. Since 09 I have been defending the citizens of this county and I have tried around 100 cases all together, I first chaired the majority of them.
What I have learned in my years of being in front of all types of judges is that you must be respectful to everyone in the courtroom including staff, attorneys, victims and defendants. I believe that judges have to temper the hands of justice with a little compassion at times. I believe I have the tools to understand when cases require "tough justice" and when cases require a little patience and understanding. Every case is different every defendant is different and must be treated accordingly.
I am the best candidate because I am the most qualified, if you compare my record to my primary opponent you will see I have experience in Felony Adult District Courts and in Jury Trials. I have been in a courtroom fighting on behalf of citizens or defendants my whole career. I know how a courtroom runs and despite the fact that I am not certified yet I know the law. I also know how to respect people no matter their background, if you listen to attorneys who practice before the current judge you will learn that respect for people whether attorneys or defendants is sometimes lacking.
As part of my practice I work with the Felony Drug Court and the Esperanza Court. These are specialty courts that focus on reducing recidivism by education, therapy, drug counseling, unemployment and hard work. I want to incorporate these things into how the defendants in my court are treated while on probation. It will be tougher on the part of the court and probation but it will be worth it if we can reduce recidivism for drug offenders, the homeless, the mentally ill, women charges with prostitution, and generally young offenders who have never had any structure in their life before. These programs are geared towards non violent offenders who are trapped in the recidivism cycle.
That is a great question, until I figure out another way to elect these important positions we have to work with what we have and encourage people to pay attention to the candidates and do their homework before voting. People need to educate themselves about candidates and their resume.