● OUR JAILS ARE TOO FULL. The cost of needlessly warehousing non-violent, lower level felony offenders who are too poor to get out of jail is extraordinarily expensive for Harris County Taxpayers, costing us millions of dollars a year. I favor the judicious use of Personal Recognizance bonds and Harris County Pre-trial Release Bonds for non-violent defendants with adequate community ties but little money. This would have the additional benefits of allowing defendants to support their families, maintain or obtain jobs and possibly hire their own lawyers for their case(s). Persons held in jail remain at a disadvantage, as the prospect of extended incarceration puts undue pressure to enter pleas when they might not otherwise do so. Most judges have underutilized Harris County Pre-trial Release, where bond fees are only 3 percent, and can be waived by the judge. It is relatively rare for a judge to sign and approve a Personal Recognizance bond, whereby a defendant agrees to show up in court as directed with just a signature, on penalty of liability for the full bond amount and court costs, if he or she fails to appear. These bonds were used with some regularity when I first started practicing criminal law here in the late 1970's and on through the mid 1980's.

● GRAND JURIES SHOULD REFLECT THE COMMUNITY. Just as trial juries do now, the composition of Grand Juries should reflect the makeup of Harris County, one of, if not the most racially diverse county in the entire country. As a Judge, I will work to insure that grand juries reflect our community, and are not beholden to anyone. They must be free to do justice without undue influence when considering whether someone should be indicted for his or her conduct.

● HARRIS COUNTY NEEDS ASSOCIATE JUDGES. The increase in population in Harris County, the state’s largest county, has been astronomical over the past ten to fifteen years, yet at the present time, no new felony courts have been created here since the 1980's. Thus, all the 22 felony courts of this county are handling caseloads several times larger than those handled thirty years ago. Nearby Ft. Bend county employs associate judges to handle non- issue settings such as arraignments, agreed pleas and certain non-evidentiary motion hearings, freeing up the elected judge for handling contested matters such as evidentiary hearings and jury trials.

● NON-VIOLENT OFFENDERS SHOULD BE REHABILITATED. Too many judges look at probation from the point of view that it is a “contract,” the violation of which means the probationer should then go to State Jail or State Prison if the “contract” is violated. The purpose of probation (now called Community Supervision) is rehabilitation, and rehabilitation is a process. The process is not a straight line process, and probationers make many mistakes along the way. State jail and prison should be reserved for the absolutely incorrigible or dangerous offender, not for offenders who are trying but making mistakes. Many, maybe even most, do learn over time what is required of them, and why. Courts should make every effort to see that every possible non-violent probationer eventually succeeds. This approach betters peoples’ lives while saving future law enforcement and incarceration.