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Dallas County JP, Pct 3, No 1

4 year term. Must be 18 years or older, a US citizen, a resident of Texas and a resident of the district represented. Does not need to be a lawyer. Responsible for civil cases and criminal misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Al Cercone (Rep) Judge Al Cercone

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    Jordan Bredefeld (Rep) Assistant City Attorney, Prosecution Division

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Biographical Information

ACCESSIBILITY: The JP Courts are often referred to as “The People’s Courts.” What measures do you support to make the JP courts more accessible to the people

EVICTIONS: Is there a need to make JP court more equitable in the eviction process and, if so, how could this be accomplished?

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

Age 68
Education Bachelor of Science Degree from North Texas State University, currently The University of North TX
Campaign Phone (214) 363-0297
Twitter @abcjudge
We need more JP Courts. Dallas County had eight JP Precincts and twelve JP Courts when I was first elected in 1992. Two of those courts were in downtown Dallas, easily accessible from all parts of Dallas County. To make a comparison, Harris County (Houston) had eight JP Precincts and sixteen JP Courts. In 1996, the Dallas County Commissioners increased the number of JP Courts to fourteen, but then in 2000, they reduced the number of JP Precincts to five, the number of JP Courts to eleven, and abolished the two downtown JP Courts. In 2010, they reduced the number again to ten. While the population of Dallas County has continued to grow every year, the number of JP Courts has continued to diminish. Houston still has sixteen JP Courts.
Justice Courts are not courts of equity. Eviction cases are lawsuits where a landlord is seeking to recover possession of real property from a tenant who has breached an oral or written agreement, or other lawful grounds for eviction. After the grounds are asserted by a landlord, the landlord must first send a written demand for the tenant to voluntarily vacate the property. If a tenant refuses to vacate the landlord's property after the demand, a landlord can file an eviction suit. Once the case is filed, unless the tenant defaults by failing to appear, the court will hear the facts and evidence, by jury if requested, apply the applicable law and make a determination regarding who is entitled to possession of the property in question.
A deed restriction case has no maximum dollar limit, but the current dollar jurisdictional limit for any other civil dispute filed in Justice Court is a maximum of $10,000 as of the day the case is filed. A party cannot have damages that exceed $10,000 and file a case in a Justice Court for only $10,000, because when it is discovered, the case will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Unfortunately, many simple disputes today exceed $10,000, forcing litigants to file in County or District Court which are not user friendly to pro-se litigants. This forces the need to hire an attorney. The legislature needs to increase the JP limit to $20,000 or more, and then periodically increase it to keep up with inflation and the needs of the people.
Age 28
Education Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law
Campaign Phone (469) 941-4372
As I have met thousands of constituents, one issue that has repeatedly come up is the lack of accessibility of the JP Court. The status quo of community outreach in the JP Court is unacceptable. When I am elected, I plan on bringing an innovative and pragmatic approach. Currently, as a Prosecutor, I volunteer my time and help coordinate a program called “Teen Court” at the courthouse. I intend on bringing this program to the JP Court. Teen Court allows for teens all around the county to participate in mock trials to gain real world legal experience. Programs like this help the community by informing Dallas County teenagers and parents of the legal system. Community outreach is the key to making JP Court more accessible.
I will provide resources and information to those affected by evictions. My court will have a focus on community outreach as well as a strict adherence to the law. The goal is to seek justice and improve our community that we live in.
The number one issue in JP Courts is having qualified judges as JPs. I believe, as do thousands of constituents I have spoken with, that we need to have JPs who have a law degree, are licensed to practice law, and have legal experience in the courtroom. It is critical because judges need to interpret the law correctly, hold to the standard courtroom procedure and rules, and understand the legal arguments presented. I have extensive legal training and experience as an attorney. When elected, I will be a fair and impartial judge who will bring pragmatism, professionalism, and a strict adherence to the law.