Judicial Q&A: Joy Dawson Thomas

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. Much more information about Democratic primary candidates, including links to the interviews and judicial Q&As, can be found on Erik Manning’s spreadsheet.

Joy Dawson Thomas

1. Who are you and what are you running for?

Joy Dawson Thomas, 164th Civil District Court Judge in Harris County

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

A district judge may hear and determine motions, including motions for new trial, petitions for injunction, applications for the appointment of a receiver, interventions, pleas in abatement, dilatory pleas, and all preliminary matters, questions, and proceedings, and may enter judgment or order on them. These duties are stated in the TX Government Code, Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter 24, Subchapter A, Section 24.003(d)

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

This Court is underperforming. Specifically, has a shameful backlog, delayed availability for hearings and trials and undesirable judicial temperament.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I’ve been a magistrate judge in Harris County for three years conducting in-person hearings daily while maintaining a kind judicial temperament; practicing attorney for seven years conducting hearings and trials in multiple counties; I teach Trial Advocacy at Thurgood Marshall School of Law; I teach Texas Government, Federal Government, Civil Liberties and Texas Politics at the University of Houston- Downtown; public servant for 12 years in the capacity of law enforcement; I have 231 hours of continuing legal education training, including 51 hours of ethics training, in the year of 2023 alone.

5. Why is this race important?

The longer the current condition persists, the longer citizens and their attorneys remain in damaged conditions uncertain of when/if they will be made whole. Untreated injuries, unpaid bills, unnecessary compounding fees, prolonged pain and suffering, etc.

6. Why should people vote for you in March?

I will address the huge backlog of cases and issues with courtroom access by implementing more efficient Court operations. Specifically, setting status coferences, issuing docket control orders and ordering mediations for old cases; more dates available for attorneys to have hearings and trials and consistent and transparent communication with staff, attorneys and pro-se litigants while maintaining a kind judicial temperament.

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