Judicial Q&A: Vivian King

(Note: I am running a series of Q&As for Democratic judicial candidates on the November ballot. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. These Q&As are primarily intended for candidates who were not in contested primaries. You can see those earlier Q&As, as well as all the ones in this series and all my recorded interviews for this cycle, on my 2010 Elections page.)

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

My name is Vivian R. King and I am running for the 185th District Court.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

Criminal cases that are classified as felony offenses by the Texas Legislature.

3. Why are you running for this particular bench?

I want to add cultural diversity to the criminal court system and new ideas. The model used is out-dated, redundant, and it does not work. I want to bring innovative ideas to deal with the current offender culture, ie, vocational training for probationers who are between the ages of 17 and 30 who have no job skills.

4. What are your qualifications for this job?

I am Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I have practiced criminal law for 18 years, as a prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and as a defense lawyer.

5. Why is this race important?

The current system does not work. 60% of the Harris County Jail is filled with defendants who are waiting for their court dates instead of serving time. This costs the county a lot of money. Most non-violent offenders should be on bond awaiting disposition of their cases so the jail is available for persons actually serving time. Also, the pre-trial services department has been misused for too long by the Republican Judges, ie, when people make bond, the County’s Pre-Trial Services Dept is used to help the paid bondsmen supervise defendants on bond. This is too costly for Harris County. Bondsmen should do their jobs and do what they are paid to do – get people to court. The Pre-Trial Services Dept should do what it was designed to do, and that is to let people out of jail on their own recognizance.

6. Why should people vote for you in November?

I want to turn law breakers into tax payers and require probationers to get vocational training and job skills to give them an alternative to incarceration. Harris County cannot afford to keep locking up non-violent offenders. Currently, young offenders are getting 6 months in jail and can never get jobs, job skills, or put their names on apartment leases. Young offenders are made to do community service or go to jail. Young offenders don’t have anything to offer the community until they receive vocational training and a job. Community service works when a person has a job and has something to give back to society. That’s an old model and it’s a broken model. I want to help fix this problem to address our current culture to turn law breakers into tax payers.

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