Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Collin County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2

4-year term. Must be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Texas, and a resident of the district represented. Responsible for civil cases and criminal misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only.

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  • Candidate picture

    Dian Engelman
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Jerry Shaffer
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

Prevention: What measure do you support, if any, to reduce the quantity of school truancy cases?

Accessibility: The JP Courts are often referred to as “The People’s Courts.” What measures do you support to make the JP courts more accessible to the people?

Other Issues: What other issues do you believe will be most pressing for the county Justice of the Peace courts, and how would you address them?

Education Sherman High School BS degree from TAMC in history & English. MS degree from TAMC in history.
Experience Taught history, English, reading & reading improvement, English as Second Language in Alllen ISD and Princeton ISD American History at Collin College. Developmental Writing at Eastfield College Bicentennial Commission Collin County
Campaign Phone (972) 547-1620
Truancy is not a one size fits all problem. I think community service by truant students is one answer. Peer input can also impact a student's decision to attend school. It is important to consider the student and available programs when making a decision. Truly, it does take a village.
There needs to be public access to the court and the JP, perhaps even an open house. I think there needs to be varied hours for court and more education aimed at constituents.
Defendants often do not understand their rights or expectations because they cannot afford to hire an attorney. Again, there needs to be education aimed at constituents. We need volunteers to help constituents.I am open to programs that will help residents and make Collin County an even better place to live. And I hope that all JPs in Collin County will stay in touch and share with each other.
Education MA physics & mathematics - Austin Coll. MS physics & math - Purdue Univ. Doctorate Ed. Adm & physics - Texas A & M, Commerce
Experience Geophysical Research - Globe Univ. Sciences, teaching & coaching & athletic directing in high schools and teaching physics and mathematics in colleges and Universities.
Campaign Phone (972) 442-3024
I have spent most of my life dealing with young people, mostly students or student athletes. A major cause of truancy is the difficulty a parent has in convincing their child of the value of education. Measures that engage parents by the school or community in the education process would be of help. Extracurricular activities are powerful in connecting parents and students to school and should be encouraged, however, a student attending only because of extracurricular activities may not receive a solid education. A more powerful and productive motivation is relevance. If the student's imagination can project him/her into a fun, productive and rewarding use of what he/she is learning, the student will look forward to the class. Measures to improve the relevance of school are expensive in the short run, but will pay great dividends in the long run. The "carrot" trumps the "stick". Removing the "stick" from the JP court did not significantly change the truancy rate.
I propose that all students receive more education in the way our governments actually works. A class that required field trips to city council and school board meetings and to court room sessions including the JP court would make the study of the "rules of the game" more fun. On a very small scale, Teen Court does this very effectively. The problem is that only a tiny fraction of all students get to participate. Prior to preparing to fill my position I had little real practical knowledge of how local justice was implemented. I find, as a judge, many who come before me are intimidated by the "mystery" of what is actually happeninig. Greater knowledge of how the law is implemented would lead to a more effective use of the "Peoples' Court".
It is anticipated that the $10,000 limit to recoverable damages in civil cases will be changed in the next legislative session, perhaps to $20,000. This will lead to many more cases being filed in the JP courts with fewer pro se litigants. Cases will be even more complicated, requiring a greater understanding of the law. Justice of the Peace judges are not required to be attorneys, only about 15% now are. This means that most Justices of the Peace, especially new judges, will need more training than now being provided.

Another looming issue is the effect of self driving cars and other technologies. It may well be that traffic violations now being dealt with by officers writing tickets and filing them with JP or Municipal courts will be handled like tollway charges now are. Again, additional training of court clerks and other court personnel will be needed.