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County Court-at-Law No. 14

Judges serve 4 years and hear misdemeanor crimes, mostly DWI cases.
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  • Candidate picture

    Susan Skinner (Rep) Judge, County Court No. 14

  • Candidate picture

    Joseph Strickland (Rep) Attorney

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Biographical Information

Please describe what combination of education, motivation and experience qualifies you for the office.

What would you do to make your court (or the court you are running for) more efficient?

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) 621-3620
Campaign Email susanskinnerlawyer@gmail.com
Experience (7 years) Criminal defense attorney, practicing in all criminal courts in Bexar County - (16 years) Bexar County District Attorney's Office: felony prosecutor for the Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force; felony first-chair prosecutor; domestic violence supervising attorney; felony juvenile prosecutor; county court misdemeanor prosecutor and law intern - (7 years) Bexar County Adult Probation Department: court supervisor and coordinator - Texas Department of Human Services: child protective service caseworker
I believe in using one's talents to contribute to the greater good of the community and have dedicated my career of over 30 years to useful service. I graduated from St. Mary’s Law School in the top 10%, after obtaining a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work. I began my career as a child protective service caseworker and have since worked in a variety of roles in our criminal justice system. I have served as a Bexar County adult probation officer (7 yrs), a criminal defense attorney (7yrs), and a career prosecutor (15 yrs). My last 9 years as a prosecutor I was responsible for the prosecution of child death cases, domestic violence homicide case, serious child abuse injury cases and sex crimes against children. I served on the violent crimes and drug task force. I am currently the Judge of County Court #14, a criminal court. I am the rare candidate who has been on every side of a criminal case. My well-balanced experience qualifies me to continue to serve as your judge.
The proper administration of a court begins with a judge who is willing to work hard every day. Upon taking the Bench on January 1, 2015, there were 1,236 active cases. By the end of 2016, there were 563 active cases, a 50% reduction. I will continue to work hard and ensure that the cases are resolved in an efficient manner.In addition, I have implemented the first Animal Abuse Docket in Bexar County, upon seeing the needs of the community. Since the creation of the Animal Abuse Docket, the backlog of animal cruelty cases has been resolved and the pending cases now have access to timely trials. I will continue to preside over these important cases and give them the attention they deserve. Another area of concern is the number of inmates in the Bexar County Jail, who are unable to make bond and are awaiting a court date. I will continue to monitor and schedule immediate bond hearings for these indigent defendants who are eligible for a reduction of bond or release on a PR bond.
I believe it is the Judge’s responsibility to reduce recidivism. A misdemeanor judge is in a unique position to strongly impact a first-time offender from re-offending and advancing to the felony level. With first-time offenders, it is imperative to identify the underlying reason for committing the crime for which they are charged. Common underlying reasons tend to be peer pressure, mental health issues, substance abuse and addiction, unemployment, lack of education or job skills, etc. If the underlying problem is not addressed, there is a greater likelihood of repeated criminal behavior. During my time on the Bench, I have worked closely with several service organizations and the probation department to identify and address the underlying reasons to help ensure a person has a successful future and does not re-offend.
I believe judges should be elected in non-partisan races, such as the City council and mayoral races. A bi-partisan election becomes a race based upon political affiliation, rather than electing the most qualified candidate. Judges are elected to be fair and impartial and uphold the law, and party affiliations should have no bearing on judicial decisions. A non-partisan judicial election will ensure the focus is on each candidate's qualifications and experience
Campaign Phone (830) 832-1123
Campaign Email strickland4judge@gmail.com
Experience I am a graduate of St. Mary's University School of Law and have been practicing criminal law for over seven years. While in law school I worked at the Supreme Court of Texas and Bexar County District Attorney's Office. Prior to law school I graduated from the University of Texas.
I have been a criminal defense attorney for seven years, handling misdemeanor, felony and federal offenses. As a law student I worked both in the Supreme Court of Texas, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, as well as a local criminal defense firm. I know that seven years of practicing law will be on the low end of the spectrum of all candidates, but I believe that experience must not be measured in time, but in the knowledge gained in that time. I have appeared in court in over a dozen counties and have learned invaluable lessons from seeing a lot of judges handle things a lot of different ways.

I have the patience, humility and integrity to conduct this court in a respectful and dignified manner. I will be tough when I need to be, understanding when I should be, and fair at all times.
I feel that there is too much emphasis on docket numbers and moving cases. Given the life altering impact that a criminal allegation can have on a person’s life, I think that the emphasis must be on ensuring that every defendant's case is handled properly and that they are afforded effective assistance of counsel; not how quickly and inexpensively cases can be disposed of.

That being said, I plan on reducing the number of people who are in jail while their case is pending, which will reduce the overall cost of each case from start to finish. Currently we hold countless innocent people in jail who are accused of nonviolent offenses but cannot afford to post bail. In these cases, the bail amount is doing nothing to ensure the safety of our community, but is simply serving as a financial burden. In most of these situations releasing these individuals on Personal Recognizance bonds would be appropriate, serve no safety risk, and reduce the county's cost.
At the misdemeanor level I think that addressing recidivism is paramount. In no case are we considering locking someone away forever, so the main issue in sentencing is what can be done to make sure this person doesn't come back. I intend to focus on treating the causes and not the symptoms. In DWI cases for instance, I think that counseling can be a much more valuable tool with a longer lasting effect than relying solely on alcohol monitoring devices.
Absolutely. The ideal nature of judges is to make rulings fully independent of their personal beliefs and based solely on the law. The nature of politics is that people want to know where candidates stand on major issues that face our country and community, however a judges opinion on these matters should not come into play. Unfortunately, many judges throughout history have been elected based on party affiliation and not on merit.