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Monday Night Politics: Presiding over family law, issues

Diane Xavier | 3/3/2014, 10:08 a.m.
Ingrid Michelle Warren and Chris Wilmoth participate in The Dallas Examiner's Monday Night Politics – Meet the Candidates on Feb. 17 411 Reality Radio

Wilmoth spoke next and thanked The Dallas Examiner and its sponsors for hosting the forum.

“Probate Court 2 is a special place,” Wilmoth said. “It’s a court where people come who have a death in the family and they need to probate the will or get guardianship of a loved one who cannot take care of themselves. Most people who come to that court are just trying to do right for the people they love and it’s my job as judge to make sure that they can. I am pleased to report that I have been a pretty good steward of the trust that you placed in me when you elected me judge three years ago in this court. We are getting a reputation in town as a court where we can get things done, a reputation for impartiality, being prepared, being able to get rulings out on a timely basis.”

The last forum featured candidates for the seat of County Probate Court 3 where incumbent Michael Miller faces challenger Margaret Jones Johnson.

Johnson, who has 16 years of law experience, said the reason why she is running is because she is sick and tired of reading and seeing how the courts deal with mental health illness issues. She is the former Dallas County Mental Health public defender.

“I am tired of reading about police officers who shoot or taser people with mental health problems and this problem is due to the lack of education in our community about mental illness and resources that are available to families, friends and the county as a whole to save money. That is one of the main reasons I am running. Also, the second reason I am running is because I believe that there could be more done to have accountability for attorneys that are representing clients with guardianships due to diligence such as oil companies trying to take away people’s property in order to profit.”

Miller said that three days a week, his court deals with wills, trusts and guardianships.

“And one and a half days a week, Probate Court 3 deals with mental illness cases,” Miller said. “It is extremely demanding and often, the cases I hear, are very, very tragic. But people have faith in me as a judge in this court where I have served since January 2007. I believe as judge, people will say that I am an honest person. I am knowledgeable about the law and I take people’s problems seriously in this court and I advise them to the best legal advice and educate them as well as they can.”

Johnson said her clients love her as well.

“I work afterhours and take time during the day to work with them and most of them have my cellphone,” she said. “Most of the clients I work with are very pleased with the work that I do and I have been highly appointed by some judges, not only in the probate court for mental illness, but also the court for criminal cases. Since the inception of my practice, I have been working with the mentally ill and now have children who I have helped in the past, now voting for me because I took the time to tell them when they were in juvenile court that they can make a difference and exercise their right to vote.”