- Reduce taxpayer costs.
According to Sheriff Robert Chody, we pay almost $150 a day to house someone in the Williamson County Jail. Justice of the Peace Courts create a debtors prison by jailing people who are unable to pay fines and court costs for nonviolent offenses. It is bad public policy to jail people when they cannot post bail or pay their fines for traffic tickets and nonviolent misdemeanors. Doing so causing them to lose their jobs, homes, transportation and disrupt their families. And it is a gross waste of taxpayers’ money! I will hold offenders accountable for their actions by using alternatives to jail, including community service and ordering offenders to attend drug and alcohol programs.
- Improve access for citizens to the Justice of the Peace court.
As a public service, the court should operate for the convenience of taxpayers, not for the convenience of elected officials. I will implement a night court and/or Saturday court at least once a month to accommodate working individuals.
- Focus on dispensing justice, not as a source of revenue.
Encouraging Justice of the Peace Courts to aggressively fine people and levy court costs to fund other county operations is a recipe for unfairly fining people who can ill afford the expense.
- Account for how justice is dispensed.
Currently the Justice of the Peace #3 Court does not track how cases are disposed of by demographics. Historically, people of color have been disproportionately affected by the judicial system both in terms of sentencing, incarceration and fines. I will monitor how cases are disposed of to ensure that justice is truly just.
- Eliminate the Justice of the Peace court as a gateway into the criminal justice system.