(Note: I ran a series of judicial Q&As for Democratic candidates in contested primaries earlier this year. I am now doing the same for the candidates who were unopposed in March, which includes most of the sitting incumbent judges. As always, this is to help you the voter know a little bit more about the candidates on your ballot. I will be publishing these in the order I receive them. You can see the Q&As and interviews I did for the primaries on my 2016 Election page.)
1. Who are you and in which court do you preside?
My name is Maria Terez Jackson and I preside over the 339th State District Court.
2. What kind of cases does this court hear?
I preside over serious felony offenses. My cases run the gamut of less than a gram case all the way to Capital Murder cases.
3. What have been your main accomplishments during your time on this bench?
One of my most significant changes that I implemented was in 2009 when I changed the way Driving While Intoxicated probationers are monitored. I made them be more accountable by having them breathe in a breathalyzer with a camera daily to monitor if they are consuming alcohol, I also require them to attend inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation facilities to protect the public, including requiring them to report every month instead of the every 3 months.
These are just a few sweeping changes that have now been adopted by my colleagues as well as the Harris County Probation Department.
4. What do you hope to accomplish in your courtroom going forward?
I would like to continue to serve as the presiding judge to continue making positive changes going forward. I serve on the MacArthur Technical Assistance Committee and we are working very hard to come up with creative ideas to reduce the jail overcrowdedness. I also serve on the Mental Health Task Force for Harris County. I have included my bio to help highlight a few other accomplishments I have achieved.
5. Why is this race important?
We are living in perilous times these days so it is very important that you have Judges serving on the bench that stand for what is right and administer fair justice no matter what the consequences are.
6. Why should people vote for you in November?
I am the best choice because I have changed thousands of lives through rehabilitation by giving individuals chances when the state would have sent that person to prison. I have letters from probationers that have been successfully been reintegrated into society by becoming productive citizens in the community. I am also a judge who is not afraid to protect the community by sending the bad guys to prison. And lastly, I was voted Houston Press Best Criminal Court Judge and Top 30 Influential Women of Houston.