Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates features candidates for County Court at Law, Judge Criminal Court, Texas State Board of Education, Democratic Party Chair and U.S. Congress
DENISHA McKNIGHT | 2/26/2018, 4:58 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
Monday Night Politics: Meet the Candidates, presented by The Dallas Examiner, featured Democratic candidates for County Court at Law No. 4, Judge Criminal Court No. 33, Texas State Board of Education District 12, Democratic Party Chair and U.S. Congress District 30, Feb. 12 at the African American Museum.
The forum commenced with invited candidates for Court at Law No 4: incumbent Ken Tapscott and Paula Rosales.
Tapscott introduced himself to the audience and detailed a few of the milestones he has accomplished as current county judge.
“At the time I have been a civil judge, serving you, no Dallas County civil judge has sent more cases to jury verdict than me – over 420 cases in the last 11 years,” he declared.
Rosales followed by revealing her intentions for the court to potential voters.
“If lucky enough to be elected, I will bring diverse legal experience and diverse life experience into the bench,” she said.
Audience members took advantage of the opportunity to ask the candidates questions about their experiences and their political beliefs.
Question: What is your vision for the future of the judicial system?
ROSALES: In 2018, the income disparities and inequalities that we are experiencing as a country and as a city continue to widen. While I do appreciate everything Judge Ken Tapscott has done we need more innovation in the courtroom. It is an administration of justice issue if we are not ensuring that folks who have attorneys have the same solutions than those who do not have attorneys. As a community judge, I’ve had the chance to meet several individuals who got their wages garnished and mortgages clouded by title and that is because they did not have the chance to work with creating, including banks for hospital bills that they couldn’t pay or credit card debts. Individuals who have attorneys are able to negotiate with creditors. They’re able to sit down at the table and get a better solution.
TAPSCOTT: Obviously, judges are not allowed to legislate from the bench. To the extent that we have societal problems with wage disparities, that’s not something you can fix as a judge. What you got to do as a judge is make sure that those courtroom doors stay open to everybody regardless of how rich or poor they are or what they look like and just be determined to the extent that someone has brought a case to the courtroom that you give it a fair opportunity to be heard. As far as innovation is concerned, if you are literally poor – too poor to pay your court cost – you can file a pauper’s affidavit at the time you initiate your case and you have the opportunity to be heard. I don’t think we need to do anything differently right now, but guards make sure those doors stay open and if someone is too poor to pay their court cost file that affidavit, come on in and be heard.
Q: Have you noticed any ongoing disparities in access to justice between underrepresented people and indigents and if so, do you offer any solutions?