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Dallas County Criminal District Judge, Court No. 6

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  • Jeanine Howard (Dem) State District Judge

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    Alison Grinter (Dem) Board Certified Criminal Attorney

  • J Paul Rosemergy (Rep)

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Biographical Information

PERFORMANCE & EXPERTISE: Please outline your legal experience, including any specializations and peer review status. Describe any public reprimands or suspensions you have received.

EFFICIENCY: What methods do you support, if any, to increase the efficiency of the District Court to provide swift justice?

ACCESS TO JUSTICE: What, if anything, should be done to improve access to justice for low income residents in criminal cases?

OTHER ISSUES: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing in the criminal courts and how would you address them?

Age 64
Education SMU School of Law1987,Order of the Coif; TCU, BBA - Busi. Mgmt.,1984, Cum Laude
Campaign Phone (972) 975-7516
I have 27 years experience in criminal law: 11 years as Judge of Criminal Dist. Ct. #6, 14 years as a criminal defense atty., and 2 1/2 years as a Prosecutor. I have presided over more than 10,000 cases as a judge; and personally handled 3,500 cases as defense counsel, including 200 felony appeals (with 9 of those Opinions published). I have never been reprimanded by the local or state bar. However, I was once reprimanded by the SCJC for a comment made to a local newspaper reporter about a case. It was an emotional case; and the stmt. was portrayed in a way that it subsequently obtained nat'l attention via social media and nat'l news. At the time, I spoke as a parent, a mother of 2 grown daughters, and a citizen, and I shouldn't have.
One of the things I have noticed that often delays cases is the failure of DNA testing to be ready by the time of trial. Because of the expense, such testing is not requested until the case is set for trial. Then the DNA is sent to the lab, where it takes 2 to 3 months for results, due to the back log. This results many times in the trial date arriving, and the DNA testing not completed. Because the accused has a right to these results in order to have a fair trial, the case then gets re-set for the next available court date, which is often 2 or 3 months later. Having an additional one (or two) DNA lab technicians in Dallas County would be one way to increase the efficiency of the district courts to provide swift justice.
Low income residents should receive the same access to justice as anyone else. Recent changes in the Code provide for prompt appointment of counsel to an indigent defendant; and counsel is then required to make contact with that person within 24 hours. Currently the county is looking into possibly reforming the bond system in such a way that indigent defendants with non-violent cases could be out on bond pending their trial, as opposed to sitting in the county jail for months, because they are low income residents and don't have the money to post a bond.
It takes a team effort to have an efficient court, which requires the cooperation of the probation department, the clerks, the assistant D.A.'s, the bailiffs, the court coordinator, and the Judge. Goals (such as lowering the jail chain numbers) should be set by the Judge, and when the goals are met, treat the staff to a special lunch, or some other show of appreciation in order to keep them motivated to continue maintaining and even surpassing the court's goal.
Age 39
Education 2000 - University of Houston - BA Political Science 2005 - SMU Dedman School of Law - Juris Doctor
Campaign Phone (214) 704-6400
Twitter @alisongrinter
I am Board Certified in Criminal Law. Twelve years in practice. I’m a former Assistant Public Defender. I am the Executive Director of Legal Access Texas, an access to justice nonprofit that seeks to expand access to justice for the working poor and middle class by providing services on an income-based sliding scale. I have handled more than ten thousand criminal cases, and I have taken a great variety of cases to trial by jury. I focused on mental health cases for two years while at the Public Defender's office, and I was recently voted by my peers to be one of the top attorneys in Dallas for cases involving mental illness.
Swift justice is not always justice done right, and it is far more important to see that all parties are given the fair trial to which they're entitled. It is also crucial that the parties and the Court be given an opportunity to find smart and appropriate sentencing solutions that address the root causes of criminal activity, as well as seek to rectify its effects through restitution. These are processes that draw in community resources, assessments, and victim advocates. It's not always swift, but the system is better improved by a reduction in re-offending than by a more traditional view of efficiency. Careful attention to the pre-trial jail population, though, is absolutely essential and bail reform will be key to that effort.
As a director of an access to justice nonprofit, I believe very strongly that we can never have equal justice without equal access to justice. I believe in the sliding scale model and I would work to see that our indigent defense system does not create a "justice gap" of modest income people who are not indigent enough to be appointed counsel and not wealthy enough to afford to retain counsel. I would also seek to maintain high standards for court-appointed counsel so that those defendants who are indigent (and this is the majority of all felony cases) are receiving excellent representation.
Like many Democrats in Dallas County, I was troubled and embarrassed when I saw my hometown in the national news when a child sexual assault survivor was shamed and her virginity called into question after she was forcibly raped in her school. And like all Democrats in 2016 and 2017, I have come to know what happens when good people stay home and don’t do what they can to stand up for what they know is right. I am running because vulnerable people deserve respect in our courts. Victims, defendants, witnesses, and families need to have faith that when they come into Criminal District Court 6, they will be heard and respected. I believe in smart treatment options, reformative justice, and protecting the safety of our community.
Uncontested Primary. Will have an opportunity to participate in General Election Guide.
Uncontested Primary. Will have an opportunity to participate in General Election Guide.
Uncontested Primary. Will have an opportunity to participate in General Election Guide.
Uncontested Primary. Will have an opportunity to participate in General Election Guide.