Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

General Election: November 6, 2018Early Voting: October 22 - November 2, 2018

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    Dain Johnson

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    KT Musselman

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Biographical Information

Explain why you would make a fair and impartial Justice of the Peace?

What are the resource needs of the office of Justice of the Peace?

How will you improve the services of the Justice of the Peace?

Background Justice of the Peace for Precinct One, Williamson County (2003 - present) Williamson County Juvenile Probation Depart. (1995 - 2002)
Education Round Rock High, Round Rock, 1990 Concordia University, Austin, 1994 & 1995
I have found three aspects helpful to maintain a fair and impartial setting in the courtroom. First, a judge should maintain a neutral mindset. Although both parties are passionate about their positions; their passions are not the overriding factors in the facts of the case. Secondly, a judge must allow both sides to tell their side of the story. By allowing both parties to tell their side a judge minimizes the “I was denied my day in court.” The final aspect for the judge is to refrain from imposing any preconceived set solution. Let the parties make their argument, apply law, and decide.
The primary resource need for the JP Court is a great staff. Customer service starts with having court clerks who can answer questions and help people through the court process.
The last question is how you will improve services. I contend that one of the cheapest and easiest ways for a judge to improve services is to utilize technology to help both the court and the parties communicate and conduct business. On the civil side, technology allows parties to access the court 24/7. While on the criminal side, technology allows parties to pay tickets, pay warrants, access forms, and sign up for defensive driving remotely. Parties being able to access the court is paramount to improving overall services to the parties.
Background Hill Country native. Eagle Scout. Served on Austin Comprehensive Plan Task Force & Charter Review Commission. Distinguished Service Award, Austin.
Education B.A. Government, minor in Geography, The University of Texas at Austin
For many people a justice court may be the only interaction they have with the legal system. It shouldn’t inherently be a negative or traumatic experience. Instead we should support pro se litigants—folks who are representing themselves—in understanding the law and how to protect themselves. I intend to run the court in a manner that makes justice more accessible to our most vulnerable populations. Simultaneously, I want to work with local community groups and stakeholders to break the school to prison pipeline.
The biggest drag on the office of Justice of the Peace is the cost to perform inquests. Instead of having a full-time medical examiner or collaborating with neighboring jurisdictions to share the costs, we spend nearly a quarter of the budget on autopsies. This is not an efficient use of tax dollars. In addition, I would like to make better use of the court software we have by using it to implement online dispute resolution, digitalization, and paperless functions.
We need to ensure that our courts are accessible, equitable, and innovative. I want to increase access to courts by using online dispute resolution, digitalization, and paperless functions. In addition, we can implement tech upgrades such as docket monitors and self-serve kiosks. I also believe that we need to adopt trauma-informed practices and work to break the school to prison pipeline as well as ensure indigent fees are waived when allowed by law. Last, as Justice of the Peace I am committed to being proactive in tackling challenges and having a visible presence within our community.