HomeNewsQ&A: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2

Q&A: Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2

Judge Edna Staudt is the incumbent in the office of Justice of the Peace, Williamson County Precinct 2. She has held the position since her first election in 1994. She is being challenged by Bronson Tucker, Director of Curriculum and Staff Attorney at the Texas Justice Court Training Center. The Advocate invited them to respond
to our “apples-to-apples” survey to educate voters on the candidates for the Republican primary March 6, 2018.

Judge Edna Staudt

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

1. The youth of today are tomorrow’s future. I will continue to develop and administer local self-funded programs to encourage positive choices in their behavior.  There are currently four programs, which I created, that actively and effectively change the negative behavior of young people to get them out and keep them out of the Justice System.

2. The legislature passes laws that affect the people in our community. I will continue to work with the Legislature and the Justice of the Peace and Constables Association and other entities to educate the Legislature on how these laws affect the people and the Justice Courts.

The Legislature has listened to the concerns I have and with the assistance of JPCA and others, are working to amend the Driver Responsibility Program (the Surcharge program).

3. The public should have easy access to me and to my court staff.   Expedient handling of both civil and criminal cases plus accessibility to the public is a priority.

What are your qualifications for JP?

My qualifications for Justice of the peace include 23 years expertise. As a JP, I have adjudicated thousands of civil and criminal cases, administrative hearings, and death inquests. My responsibilities include the accounting of thousands of dollars in receipts and expenses. I have the proven ability to administer justice, make rulings honestly, comply with the law, and enforce the law.

My education includes more than five hundred hours of ongoing Criminal Justice and Civil Law training through the Texas State University as well as other educational institutions specific to Justice Courts. I am a member of the College of Justice Court Judges.

In addition to knowledge of the law, I believe my common-sense approach to moral decision making is a qualification I have learned through experience and my worldview.       

What sets you apart from your opponent?

Since 1982 I have been active in the Republican Party in various capacities promoting and defending the values of Faith, Family, and Freedom depicted in our Texas Constitution. My desire to continue to do so is what led me to run for office initially.

I have 23 years of proven efficient, effective, and knowledgeable administration of the Justice Court.

Additionally, working cooperative partnerships with many entities, specifically school districts, are actively reducing crime.

In your opinion, do the Williamson County JP offices run efficiently? What, if any, changes will you make?

Williamson County Justices of the Peace run their offices independent of each other. Each Judge is elected by the people of their precinct.  Each precinct is different demographically, geographically, and socially, therefore each Judge runs his or her office differently.

I believe the policies and procedures I have in place result in a highly efficient office. It is my policy to treat all people with respect, to be punctual, to be helpful, to adhere to the law, to be accurate, to be accountable, and to be efficient with taxpayer funds.

The clerks I hired have taken the voluntary initiative to become certified, thus becoming more knowledgeable in law and rules of civil procedure. Several of my employees have been recognized for their contribution to the effective operation of Williamson County government.

My office operates with the latest technology and my Chief Clerk serves on the Williamson County Technology Committee to educate and oversee the software used by all county offices. Her expertise is a resource for other departments. I’m thankful for a competent and considerate staff.

Bronson Tucker

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

First, I will ensure that everyone who enters the JP2 office is treated fairly, equally, and according to the law, which Williamson County deserves and should demand from all judges.

Second, public safety is critical, and requires that criminal cases and warrant applications are handled quickly and competently.

Also, as an attorney JP, I will be legally allowed to sign warrants to draw blood from DWI suspects, helping to protect the community.

Finally, I will establish a chapter of the SHINE Foundation (OKshine.org) in Williamson County, to help juveniles and other offenders improve themselves along with the community. (Editor’s note: SHINE was created in Oklahoma to serve the public and to make low-level offenders do true community service. Judges sentence non-violent offenders to a certain number of hours of meaningful work that makes County neighborhoods and business districts safer, cleaner, better places for all.)

What are your qualifications for JP?

After being admitted to the bar, I worked in landlord-tenant law, which JPs deal with frequently. Since joining TJCTC in 2004, I have dedicated myself to improving the justice court system. The Texas Supreme Court appointed me to rewrite the justice court rules to make them friendlier to non-lawyers. I have trained thousands of judges, constables and court personnel, and have been used as the top resource on justice court law by state and other agencies as well as the Legislature. Now I want to dedicate my expertise and experience to improve my home community’s judicial system.

What sets you apart from your opponent?

My commitment to following the law takes precedent, and I understand that it is not appropriate for a judge to “legislate from the bench” based on personal feelings and opinions about the law. I excel at providing leadership when necessary, but am also very comfortable playing my role on a team. I am eagerly looking forward to working with officials across the county to improve the system for Williamson County residents. Finally, a fresh perspective can help develop new solutions because frequently “but we’ve always done it this way” can be a huge impediment to improvement and progress.

In your opinion, do the Williamson County JP offices run efficiently? What, if any, changes will you make?

Like most systems, there are aspects that work well, and aspects that need improvement. Criminal filings in this court have fallen 90% in the last five years, at a time when population in the precinct has skyrocketed. I want to examine the reasons why law enforcement has chosen to file cases with other courts and ensure everyone can trust the process in this court. It is a disservice to county taxpayers to have the court not functioning at maximum efficiency, and a disservice to residents to be forced to travel across the county to dispose of their cases.

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