Judge Junkin is by far the most qualified candidate in this race particularly when it comes to civil and family cases. The 453rd State Judicial District Court is, by statute, a general jurisdiction court—meaning it has jurisdiction over civil cases, family law cases, AND felony criminal cases. While the problem is not unique to Hays County, civil and family filings continue to increase, and the backlog of those cases continues to grow. For the last several years approximately two-thirds of the cases filed in Hays County were civil or family law cases—TWO-THIRDS—and in 2018 more than 85% of the cases carried over to 2019 were civil or family law cases.
Before Judge Junkin took the bench, the backlog of civil and family law cases had continued to grow each year, and justice was effectively being denied to thousands of civil litigants. Since he has taken the bench, he has been personally responsible for resolving hundreds of civil cases and has been instrumental in getting hundreds more cases lined up for other judges to do the same. Judge Junkin’s background makes him uniquely qualified to directly address the growing number of pending civil and family law cases at a time when Hays County needs it the most. District courts for the first time since 2010 resolved more cases than were filed.
But he is not ignoring the remaining one-third of cases filed in Hays County. Before Judge Junkin came on the bench at the end of 2018, the existing courts were already addressing the backlog of criminal cases. Since he has been on the bench, the District Courts have implemented additional dynamic new procedures aimed at speeding up the process of resolving criminal cases. As a direct result of his unique perspective, he has started new procedures to identify expectations more clearly for timely resolution of cases. As a result, criminal cases, particularly those waiting for trial, are now being addressed at an unprecedented rate. Judge Junkin has already presided over thousands of criminal settings and more than 15 criminal jury trials.
Judge Junkin has also been instrumental in your District Courts in Hays County taking significant steps toward improving the justice system for everyone. He helped Hays County achieve grants for giving criminal defendants access to an immigration attorney to advise nonresident defendants on the immigration consequences of their pleas, if any, in compliance with United States Supreme Court rulings. He has also helped get grants for an indigent defense coordinator, helped create a magistrate’s office, and helped write the position description for both of those positions. Each of these new positions will allow the Courts to protect fundamental rights and make the criminal justice process more efficient.
Judge Junkin has also been named as the district judges’ representative to the Bail Bond Board and has been able to serve as an alternate to the Hays County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. Judge Junkin has personally taken the lead on the use and improvement of available technology to make the courtroom processes more efficient. For example, Judge Junkin personally makes sure all of the screens/monitors (which have not been working properly since the building was occupied) in the common areas outside of the courtrooms are now functioning, providing vital courtroom information. Judge Junkin took the lead in implementing and using videoconference technology to keep cases moving forward without canceling his dockets during the COVID-19 shutdown.
Judge Junkin clearly intends to respect the Constitutional boundaries between the Judicial, Executive, and Legislative branches of the government—he will not legislate from the bench or allow policy, other than as reflected in the law, to drive his decisions. He will not make rulings for political gain. Judge Junkin is not a politician and, other than nonpartisan school board elections, has never run for office before. However, he does recognize that he cannot continue the progress he has made so far without your help. Judge Junkin knows what folks think of political promises, but he hopes you can see from the foregoing that he has already been significantly improving the justice system for all Hays County litigants and nobody will work harder than he does as your judge to keep improving the justice system in Hays County.
Judge Junkin and his family thank you for your support!!