Special Bexar County Prosecutor
Former Judge, County Court No. 7
Former City Night Magistrate, City of San Antonio
Former Adjunct Professor, St. Mary School of Law
I graduated from the University of California, Boalt Hall, School of Law, one of the top Law schools in the country. I have been a Trial Attorney for over 40 years. Within this period of time, I have also served; as City Magistrate, for the City of San Antonio, a former County Court at Law Judge and Special Prosecutor. I also was an Adjunct Professor as St. Mary's Law School in the Trial Advocacy program. I've attended and participated in various continuing legal education programs and have been a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas. I have been directly involved in serving our community by creating and adopting programs that assisted in the education and well being of individuals who found themselves within the criminal justice system. My motivation is to continue serving the community in this capacity of a County Court at Law Judge.
My judicial philosophy is consistency. Be consistent with a set time schedule for operation of the Court docket. Have a written set of policies and procedures that the Court will operate by to ensure the effective administration of Justice.
I believe effective intervention reduces recidivism. I would work closely with the Community Supervision office to focus on education, job placement, counseling services dealing with drug addiction. These programs should be specific and direct in assisting first time offenders so that they do not find themselves in the same situation within the criminal justice system. I believe in strong intervention and not merely the collection of fines, court costs and supervisory fees for successful completion of community supervision.
Absolutely. Party affiliation should have no bearing on one's qualifications to be a judge. A judge takes a specific oath of office to insure the equal application of the law in every aspect and as to every individual appearing before their Court. As a former judge in the late 80's and early 90's I have spoken out against partisan election of judges. I believe the Legislature should look at retention elections or elections that are merit based. Unfortunately, the vast majority of voters do not know the qualifications of judicial candidates so it is easy to simply rely on party affiliation. The sad reality is that people vote not only based on party affiliation but race and gender. Your organization is doing a real service to the community in providing at least some insight as to who we are. We must all take it a step further.
Licensed and practicing lawyer for over 25 years. Licensed in three states.
I graduated law school near the top of my class and accepted the invitation to be on Law Review after receiving the "Blue Book" award for having the top score for a final exam. (Top grade in that particular class).
First licensed to practice law in Illinois in the early 90's, I had a business opportunity in Michigan 1995, so I took and passed the Michigan Bar. Three and one-half years later, I married my wife, Angela Garcia, a San Antonio native, in 1998. The move to Texas required me to take the Texas Bar exam. My wife and I operate our own law office on Culebra Av. for the past 19 years. This means, I had a broader knowledge base by the time I even began practicing in Texas.
Typically, I have between three and five court appearances per day. In addition to the cases here, I have handled cases in many surrounding counties, from Travis to Webb. My experience is that there is more than one way of doing things. I have experience from different states and different counties.
First and foremost, an elected judge has to appear and appear on time. The current judge has a poor reputation for arriving late, very late and leaving early. A court can not run efficiently when the judge or coordinator arrive late on a regular basis. Next, a judge gets to hand pick the court coordinator. The current coordinator has a bad reputation with dealing with attorneys before her. Arriving late, staying a few minutes and leaving to smoke for long periods of time. In short, not doing her job. The result is that the judge, by default, loses precious court time doing resets and other functions in the coordinators absence.
As someone who practices in different courts at the Bexar County Courthouse every day, I see which clerks are reliable, knowledgeable and hardworking. That is who should be rewarded with a coordinator position. The job should not be awarded as a political favor. The taxpayers of Bexar County deserve more from their elected judges.
Recidivism is a two way street. While I agree with prosecutors in general that each time a person is convicted, they should be punished more severely, we also see the other type of individual who will re-offend no matter how severely they were punished last time. What do you do with an individual like that, someone who has a five page arrest record? At some point, we must realize that we are waiting too much in cost of incarceration trying to punish or rehabilitate some who is incorrigible.
My experience has been that education and employment is the key to avoiding recidivism. Courts already offer help with job counseling or a high school diploma getting a GED a condition of probation. Easier said than done. My experience has also taught me that individuals don't change unless they want to change. That change must come from the inside, not because a court forces it on them. In short, you can lead a horse to water, but can you force them to drink? That is the difficulty.
Non partisan judicial races would be bliss. Two cycles ago, we lost many highly qualified judges because of a sweep by one party. It did not matter who the person was or what their experience was. As long as their name was on the ballot associated to one party, they won EVERY SINGLE JUDICIAL RACE, at the County level. That's how the judge I referred to above was elected, replacing Judge Al Alonso. Judicial races are what is known as "low-information" races. Most judicial candidates do not make television commercials or have the opportunity to reach into people's homes in other ways. Most voters do not seek out information on judicial candidates like with higher races. A few flyers and signs on the highway, which don't say much is all a voter has to make a decision, so those elections have fallen along party lines.
Unfortunately, our system seems entrenched in the two-party process and I see no way to avoid or change it.
Assistant District Attorney: February 2008-present
Certified English Teacher
County Court 1 is a criminal misdemeanor court. My ten year legal career has been devoted to practicing criminal law. I became a prosecutor in February 2008. I have been in appeals, mental health, juvenile, DWI taskforce, family violence, intake, trial division, and the conviction integrity unit. I have handled more than 30 jury trials, more than 20 appellate briefs, and a large number of bench trials and post-conviction writs. I have presented oral argument to the 4th Court. I have spent years in some of the busiest courts in this county, including the 290th, 379th and 175th, where I handled countless pleas and motions. I have personally indicted hundreds of cases, and have a great breadth of criminal law experience.
Having never run for judge before, I want voters to know I bring a lot to the table in terms of both trial and appellate experience. I also bring a great deal of life experience. I started college at 17 at UTSA as a teen mom, with a one year old daughter. I wo
County Court 1 could be run much more efficiently than it is being run currently. If elected, I will hold a daily docket, and ensure that my staff is punctual and arrives ready to get to work. This should go without saying, but I understand that this not always the case. I intend to hold a weekly trial docket and motions docket, and to make sure that people who want to have a jury trial have their cases heard as expeditiously as possible. It is important to me that people who have been accused of misdemeanors, and are sitting in jail because they can't afford a bond are prioritized in having their case resolved.
My experience as a prosecutor has given me great insight into this topic. If the root of the problem is not addressed, people will often continue to repeat the same mistakes. Drug, alcohol and mental health treatment is extremely important, and fortunately those are tools that will be at my disposal. But maintaining sobriety, and attending to mental health is a personal choice. As a judge, I will continue to offer up those services to the accused, and be a champion for the best outcomes. I will also hold people accountable for their actions, and require restitution for vocal and silent victims. I would also very much like to start a conversation with fellow county court judges on more measures that can be taken to grab the attention of young first time offenders, in the hopes of making a positive impact and making sure they get onto a better life path.
I do. Because judges are supposed to be neutral and follow the law, it is unfortunate that judges are elected based on something that has so little to do with the job at hand. Every election, especially here in San Antonio, we lose great judges in political waves. I am glad that we elect our judges, but I would prefer that it be in a non-partisan race.