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District Judge 187th Criminal District Court

Judges serve for four years, hearing felony cases up to Murder 1-Death Penalty.
  • Candidate picture

    Karl Alexander (Rep) Assistant Criminal District Attorney

  • Candidate picture

    Joey Contreras (Rep) District Judge

  • Candidate picture

    Jan Ischy-Prins (Rep) Attorney

  • Candidate picture

    Veronica I. Legarreta (Rep) Attorney

  • Virginia E. Maurer (Rep) Attorney at Law

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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?

Campaign Phone (210) 215-5275
Campaign Email
Experience Current child abuse prosecutor with over 12 years as a prosecutor and 3 years as a criminal defense attorney.
I've tried approximately 100 jury trials. All my experience has been in state courts such as the 187th. I have prosecuted cases ranging from low level drug possession to capital murder. I've successfully tried some of the most egregious cases, securing thousands of years in prison sentences for those who have victimized children, women, and the elderly. I have been entrusted to teach trial advocacy and continuing legal education to other prosecutors.
Proper judicial temperament begins with patience and mutual repect. A judge should never yell at a lawyer in open court or in front of a jury. A judge should never act as another attorney in the case before him/her. Proper judicial temperament also means never disparaging a political opponent while on the bench. Lastly, a judge should always listen to the parties and base his/her rulings strictly on the law and not on their ego or personal feelings.
I am the best candidate for the 187th District Court because I have the most current and relevant experience. The 187th is a state court and my entire career has been in state court. Texas law has changed dramatically over the last 18 years. Whole chapters of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been created or renamed. Many new offenses have been created. The handling of sentences at trial and post conviction have changed. Specialized rules of evidence have been created. I know the current law in Texas. I regularly advise law enforcement and other lawyers in it. I am not board certified.
I believe the issue of recidivism has to be bifurcated. First, we must look at the mentally ill and substance abusers. Individuals with a bona fide mental illness or addiction do not belong in prison until we have done our best to address their issues which have lead to their criminal conduct. Simply, warehousing someone in prison creates a revolving door that becomes impossible for such individuals to escape. Second, the career and violent criminals need stiffer punishment. A person who has demonstrated that they will continue to violate others should not walk around freely in our society. If a violent criminal keeps getting minimal sentences, then they will learn nothing.
As the Texas judicial system stands today, judicial races should be non-partisan. A judge follows the law as written in statute and explained in case law. He/she adheres to the Texas and U.S. constitutions. Their personal political beliefs should not play a role in their decision making. Without the disclosure of a judicial candidate's political affiliation voters would be more likely to focus on the candidate's qualifications.
Campaign Phone (210) 627-7693
Campaign Email
Experience Twenty-nine years as a state and federal prosecutor. Approximately 300 jury trials. Violent crimes, organized crime, gang prosecutions, and complex drug conspiracies.
Extensive trial experience and thorough understanding of criminal procedure and rules of evidence. Felony first chair prosecutor in two multiple district courts. Approximately 300 jury trials with over half as lead counsel. Prosecuted as lead counsel numerous complex conspiracies including those involving dozens of witnesses, hundreds of items of evidence, and numerous defendants. Served as chief of intake of Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, Gang Coordinator, Chief of Major Crimes, and Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office.
A judge should be even tempered, calm, patient, and dispassionate. A judge must be unbiased and considerate of both parties while still maintaining control of his courtroom. Most importantly, a judge has to have the respect all who appear before him by displaying fairness, firmness, and a very keen intelligence that are delivered in a respectful and courteous manner. Anger has no place on the bench.
By far, I have the most extensive experience and distinguished qualifications of the candidates. My reputation in the legal community is highly burnished and impeccable. No other candidate approaches my well-earned reputation as a highly skilled trial lawyer with incomparable trial experience and skills. I have earned the respect and even admiration of the judges before whom I’ve appeared and counsel against whom I appeared. I have NEVER been accused of unethical or even untoward conduct in court or in my dealings with counsel against whom I’ve tried cases. I have not sought certification.
A relatively small percentage of repeat offenders are responsible for a grossly disproportionate percentage of all serious crime. This subgroup of repeat offenders must not be permittted to continue to offend over and over again. Habitual or career offenders must be incapacitated through incarceration if they have demonstrated continuous criminal activity. In my court, this group of offenders are assessed sentences lengthy enough to assure they will not offend for an indeterminate period of time. Sentences of life or forty or fifty years must be considered and assessed for those with repeated violent conduct.
Judges should serve solely on the basis of qualifications. Party affiliation does not ensure competence. However, it has been my experience that Republican judges are more willing to assess long sentences and uphold public safety.
Campaign Phone (830) 237-2405
Campaign Email
Experience I opened my law practice on the Southside of San Antonio 25 years ago defending citizens accused of crimes. I then spent 18 years as a Bexar County Assistant District Attorney prosecuting criminal cases. I am once again a Bexar county attorney defending the rights of citizens while campaigning to be your Judge of the 187th Criminal Court. I have handled thousands of criminal cases and tried approx. 100 criminal jury trials as a prosecutor & defense attorney. They include Crimes Against Children, Domestic Violence, Capital Murder Death Penalty, Gang Prosecution, Organized Crime, Aggravated Sexual Assaults, Continuous Sexual Assaults of Children, Aggravated Robberies, Felony DWIs involving Children, Drugs & so much more. My work performed on over 6,650 criminal cases includes, but is not limited to: Magistrate Duty, Intake, Grand Jury, Negotiation, Crime Scene, Hearings, Motions, Plea Bargains, Non-Jury Trials, Jury Trials, and Victim and Witness Assistance and Preparation. I have been appointed by Judges as “Special Prosecutor” in extraordinary criminal cases. In addition, I have been an Adjunct Criminal Law Professor for Legal Programs at the University of Texas at San Antonio and guest lecturer for peace officer training. I am the recipient of the Client Satisfaction Award – 10 Best American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2015-2018. Memberships include Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society; American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys (Founding Member); San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; Texas District and County Attorneys Association; and Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. I am happily married to Richard E. Prins, USAF JAG Colonel (Ret.).
I have experience as both a State prosecutor and as a defense attorney. The 187th Court is a State Court subject to state law & procedure, Not a federal court. I handled thousands of cases & tried approx. 100 criminal jury trials. Following is a “snapshot” of the multitude of cases I successfully prosecuted to protect our citizens: Man serving 9 Life Sentences w/ No Parole for sexual assaults of child; Man serving Life w/ No Parole for shooting his girlfriend, & killing 2 others; Man on death row for violent killing; & Man serving Life Plus for aggravated sexual assault.
First & foremost, every person before the Court will be treated w/ dignity & respect. The status of being human is the highest status in all Creation. This alone warrants & demands dignity & respect. As judge I will exhibit integrity, patience, firmness, humility, courage & common sense. I believe in restorative justice, but I also believe in prison when warranted. Only after carefully evaluating each case fairly & impartially based solely on the facts & the law will I make a ruling. In addition, I will consider the effect of my ruling on the person before me, the victim and the community.
Experience counts! I handled over 6650 criminal cases & 100 jury trials that relied on Texas State Law, as does the 187th Court. The person sitting as judge in the 187th the last few months spent approx. the past 17 years in Federal Court which relies on Federal Law. That person does not have the needed balance of having been both a prosecutor & defense attorney. I do. The 187th is not a place for “on the job training.” Our community requires & deserves a Judge competent in the law that the Court relies on & one familiar with the business procedures of the County Courthouse. I am that person.
B/c length of incarceration can increase recidivism rates, I will 1st provide defense attorneys representing non-citizens access to attorneys specializing in Immigration Law. To often cases of non-citizens linger b/c defense attorneys do not have the knowledge to weigh the consequences of immigration law on their client. This is costly & does nothing to reduce recidivism. 2nd, a Special Needs Court open to any qualifying defendant is a must. There are several “specialty courts”, but they require the accused to have a “label” such as “drug user,” “prostitute” or “Veteran”. Often, 1st time offenders of non-violent crimes are “lost in the system” b/c they have not been “labeled.” These offenders need a chance at rehabilitation also. At times the only reasonable option to protect our community is a lengthy prison sentence for deterrence. Our citizens deserve a Judge who will hand out sentences based on facts & law, w/ no concern of losing defense attorney, political & monetary support.
Judicial races should definitely be non-partisan. Judges should make decisions based on the law and the facts, not based on party affiliation. As Judge, I will never make a ruling based on the party affiliation of an attorney, a victim, the accused or anyone else. My rulings will be made only after careful consideration of the facts and the law. The courtroom is a place for Justice, not politics.
Campaign Phone (210) 818-2144
Campaign Email
Experience I have been a prosecutor, civil attorney and criminal defense attorney. I have interned for the Department of Defense and the NSA while serving as a Diplomat at the American Embassy in Mexico City. I have held several leadership positions with the Junior League of San Antonio, Opera Guild of San Antonio and the Texas Exes San Antonio Chapter.
I have tried over a hundred jury trials as a prosecutor and defense attorney.I have worked on thousands of criminal cases ranging from tickets to murder. I know both sides of the law which is extremely important when having to decide issues of law and in being fair and impartial. I am also qualified for this office because I have practiced in the State courts every day for over ten years. I know the problems the courts and the attorneys face. Because of my experience I have been able to create a plan for the 187th District Court which is to create an immigration docket which is greatly needed.
I believe a Judge should be respectful and professional to everyone who comes before them. A Judge serves the community and is entrusted with an extremely important job. A Judge should be humble and responsible to the community. A Judge should be tough when needed and compassionate when called for. A Judge should be fair and impartial in all their rulings. A Judge should be strong enough to resist outside influences when ruling.
I am the best candidate for this position because I have experience on both sides of the law and have practiced on both sides. I did not enter this race lightly. I saw a problem two years ago and made plans to run. I did not wait for an opening or for someone to convince me to run. I will work to ensure justice prevails, respect is given to all and impartiality returns to the bench. I have a plan for the court to help tackle an issue I have seen firsthand. I know what needs to be done and I am confident I can accomplish it.
I think a reason recidivism occurs is because the programs, classes and conditions assessed against an individual are not geared to rehabilitate the individual. What will work for one may not work for another. The court system has made incarceration the easiest option for people to avoid rehabilitation. I plan to tailor each sentence to the individual and their case. I plan to utilize different programs and conditions and work closely with probation to ensure the community is safe and the individual is rehabilitated. Incarceration will be utilized in egregious cases or when all other options have been exhausted.
I do think judicial races should be non-partisan. Following the law is straight forward and should not be biased by a party affiliation. A Judge's job is not to create legislature but to rule without bias and without prejudice. Too many times I have seen great judges lose their bench because of their party affiliation. Too many times people refuse to vote because of party affiliations.
Campaign Phone (210) 573-5176
Campaign Email
Experience 24 years as a licensed trial attorney
I have been licensed to practice law for over twenty five years and have been practicing law for 24 of those years in the areas of criminal defense and abuse and neglect, representing children in the care of Childrens' Protective Services. I am qualified to take all types of criminal cases up to first degree cases as well as second chair capital murder cases.
Being professional and not condescending to the attorneys appearing before the bench. Many times Judges have taken the bench and thought that it made them better than the attorneys that practice before the court. It does not.
I am the only candidate that has represented both criminal perpetrators as well as their victims. I have not just represented the State of Texas, nor have I just represented criminals. As such, I will bring a unique perspective to the bench. No, I am not Board Certified.
Unfortunately, recidivism is a reality in the criminal justice system. The only way to reduce repeat incarcerations is through education. Many of the defendants lack basic education, such as a high school diploma. My plan is to require the defendants on probation in my court to, at the bare minimum, attain a GED or enroll in some type of trade course. A lot of the defendants do not know any other way of life. They have grown up with going to court to see their parents sentenced, this is perfectly acceptable behavior to them. It is not. We as a society have to re-educate them as to what is acceptable to the public as a whole. We need to help pull them up not dumb society down.
No. The partisanship of judicial races requires judges/candidates to take a position in favor of issues that are of paramount importance to said political group. This requires a breach of the judicial canons of ethics wherein a judge/candidate cannot say how they will rule on a particular issue that may/may not come before them.