We Recommend Raquel ‘Rocky’ Jones in the Democratic Primary for 203rd District Court

Challenger Raquel "Rocky" Jones would be a big improvement over Judge Teresa Hawthorne for this criminal court bench.It's true that Hawthorne speaks fervidly about issues we agree are important in dispensing justice — for instance, a focus on rehabilitating wrongdoers. However, we see examples of the pendulum swinging too far in her courtroom, both in questionably lenient sentences and in the number of individuals on probation who commit another offense, only to get continued probation.Additionally, the 69-year-old Hawthorne, of Dallas, received a rare state reprimand in November for two instances of out-of-bounds behavior. The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct said Hawthorne violated regulations by using "the prestige of her office to help resolve her nephew's pending case." Separately, the agency said, she "shamed" jurors when they sentenced a man to 99 years in prison for rape.Hawthorne's pattern of unpredictable and, at times, contradictory decision-making does a disservice to both victims and defendants.In contrast, a variety of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys have stepped forward to say Jones, 47, will make a fine judge.Most of Jones' criminal law work since 1998 has been in the Dallas and Tarrant County District Attorney's offices. In the DeSoto resident's most recent eight-year Dallas DA stint, she served as a felony chief prosecutor.Yes, her criminal defense resume is thin. But everyone we talked to in the legal community said they trust she will be impartial and serve justice in an even-handed way that Hawthorne does not.The winner in this race faces no Republican opposition in November.Ready to vote?This is one in a series of Dallas Morning News recommendations for the March 6 primary elections.Last day to register to vote: Feb. 5 Early voting starts: Feb. 20 Election Day: March 6For more information: Collin County 1-800-687-8546 co.collin.tx.us/elections Dallas County 214-819-6300 dallascountyvotes.org Denton County 940-349-3200 votedenton.com Kaufman County 972-932-0298 kaufmancounty.org/elections Tarrant County 817-831-8683 access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.htmlFor more help, including how to check your registration status, contact the Texas secretary of state at 1-800-252-8683 or visit votetexas.gov.  Continue reading...

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