The graphic in Friday’s San Angelo LIVE!! vividly exposes the bottom line in the 391st District Judge race.
In the past five years, Carmen Dusek appeared 233 times in Tom Green county’s four district courts while her opponent, Brad Goodwin, appeared only 20 times, and only once since 2013. The numbers do not include Carmen Dusek’s appearances in other district courts around the state, including her work as a prosecutor in the 452nd District.
(Source: Tom Green County District Court online).
Experience matters, and Carmen Dusek overwhelmingly has more experience in court compared to her opponent.
Her opponent cites felony prosecutorial experience in the 1990s. Felony prosecutorial experience is a qualification for a DA, not for a judge. Being a judge requires a different skill set than those of a prosecutor.
Four of the most respected judges in our local history—Judge Marilyn Aboussie, Judge Barbara Walther, Judge Ben Woodward, and Judge Jay Weatherby—had no prosecution experience at all when they took the bench.
Criminal cases are important, but they are only around a third of a district court’s activity, and many never reach the judge until the DA and the defendant have reached a plea agreement. The number of cases “filed” and the number of cases actually heard in a district court are two different things. Apples and oranges.
The hard decisions come in family and civil law—about two-thirds of the court’s actual docket. Who gets custody of the children? What are the terms of visitation? Does someone lose everything in a civil lawsuit?
Those decisions are best made by someone with actual courtroom experience, and Carmen Dusek is without question that person.