Special to Texas Metro News
In the recent Democratic Primary election held on March 1, 2022, voters re-elected me to the 203rd Judicial District Court for a second term. (I am unopposed in the General election on November 8).
Thank you, Dallas County, for entrusting me to continue dispensing justice with the utmost integrity and fairness to both victims and the accused for another four years.
As presiding judge of the 203rd, I am honored and humbled by your vote of confidence in my leadership, and I want to take this opportunity to share highlights and accomplishments from my first term.
CAMPAIGN PROMISES DELIVERED
When I ran for the bench the first time in 2018, I laid out my reasons for running. I told voters I was going to restore accountability and justice to the 203rd Judicial District Court.
I have not only restored those attributes, but I have also returned respectability and dependability to the court’s reputation. I told voters they deserved a judge who has thorough knowledge of the law, honors the laws she is sworn to uphold, and who will not make rulings outside of her judicial authority and I have consistently upheld my campaign promises.
Lastly, I told the citizens of Dallas County, they deserve a judge who will hold people accountable for their actions by examining the root causes of why offenders commit crimes and consider all available options (including community supervision, diversion programs and incarceration) for punishment based on the merits of each case that comes be- fore the court and I am proud to say I achieved that goal through the court’s A.T.L.A.S. Program and newly-founded C.R.O.W.N. Program.
In addition to delivering on the aforementioned campaign promises, I also took action to improve the 203rd’s efficiency. Since taking over the bench on January 1, 2019, I immediately reduced the court’s dispositions and jail population, resulting in taxpayer savings.
In my first year on the bench, I took the 203rd from being ranked #17 of 17 of felony courts, to being ranked in the top 10 most efficient felony courts in Dallas County. In 2019, my court also ranked in the top three courts for most jury trials and most case dispositions. I have also increased community partnerships with Metrocare, Hope Ministries, Care Center Ministries, Men of Nehemiah and other treatment and rehab facilities throughout the county.
I am also a member, along with five other Dallas County judges, of Pipeline to Possibilities, a program committed to educating youth on various aspects of the justice system and inspiring youth to become leaders in society.
Although I am incredibly proud of all the progress and accomplishments my team and I have made in the 203rd thus far, my proudest moment as a judge came just five months after I took the bench. In May of 2019, I conducted the exonerations of Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee and declared them actually innocent after serving 15 years of respective life sentences for wrongful capital murder convictions. I was honored and humbled to preside over such a monumental, life-changing chapter in their journey to seek justice and reclaim their freedom.
In addition to presiding over felony trials in the 203rd, I am also the presiding judge over Dallas County’s ATLAS Program, which stands for Achieving True Liberty and Success. The ATLAS program is designed to serve members of the community who are charged with a felony criminal offense and also diagnosed with a mental illness in an effort to help them reconnect with their families and society while coexisting with their mental health issues. ATLAS partners directly with Metrocare Services, the largest provider of mental health services in North Texas.
THE C.R.O.W.N. PROGRAM
In 2021, I created and co-founded The C.R.O.W.N. (Conversations Regarding Our Women Now) Program in partnership with the 204th Judicial District Court. The C.R.O.W.N.
Program is an eight-week mentorship program that seeks to positively redirect eligible women, ages 17 to 25 years, who are serving felony probation sentences. The program’s curriculum includes sessions on mental health, college readiness, employment, personal finances, self-esteem, dating and healthy relationships.
The program meets on the first and third Thursday of each month in both courts. Participants who successfully complete the program are eligible to have their court ordered community service hours waived; court costs and probation fees reduced or waived; participate in mail-in reporting; and have the potential to receive an early discharge from probation.
The program’s second cohort began in February 2022 and has already hosted its first community outreach project of the year — a free food giveaway at Paul Quinn College with community partners Hunger Busters, The Lullaby House, Metrocare, Services of Hope and Texas Metro News.
JUDGE RAQUEL “ROCKY” JONES AT-A-GLANCE
I am a licensed attorney with more than 25 years of experience, and I have worked as State District Court presiding judge, a prosecutor (adult and juvenile), criminal defense lawyer and a civil attorney and have tried all types of felony offenses including death penalty cases.
I previously served the citizens of Dallas County as a Chief Prosecutor in the Felony Division of the District Attorney’s Office and also served as a prosecutor at the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. My law licenses include the State Bar of Texas, U.S. District Court of Northern Texas, and the United States Supreme Court.
I am the daughter of a single mother who was raised in Arlington, Texas. I graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and journalism and earned a three-year scholarship to attend St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. During law school, I studied abroad in Innsbruck, Austria, at the Institute on World Legal Problems.
Always eager to affect change in my profession beyond the walls of the courtroom, I am active in professional and civic organizations including my previous stints as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, and Tarrant County College; a distinguished member of Texas Bar College; and serve on the Desoto City Council Charter Review Commission.
I have served as a speaker/presenter at the Texas Association of Specialty Courts Conference; am a Board member of StenoVators, a non-profit court reporting organization; a Board/faculty member of E.P.P.S. School of Ministry in DeSoto, TX; a newly inducted member of the Texas Prosecutors Society, an elite group of former and current prosecutors, whose mission is to support the Texas District and County Attorneys Association; and the recipient of Democratic Monthly Magazine’s 2021 Rising Star Award.
Currently serving my second term as Arlington Alumnae Chapter President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; I am an active member of Community Missionary Baptist Church; a member of the Texas A&M University Alumni Association; a lifelong Democrat; married to Marcus Kelly, a retired Air Force veteran; and mother of our 6 year-old son, Ryan.
Thank you again for grant- ing me another term to affect positive change in our criminal justice system. While I am unopposed in the upcoming General election, I still encourage all Dallas County citizens to stay informed and be a part of the process by participating in all local elections.
The Primary runoff election is on May 24, the General election is November 8, 2022, and municipal races will be on the ballot in 2023.
Get registered to vote, take five people with you to the polls and make a difference in your community at the ballot box. Remember, your vote is your voice!
Judge Raquel “Rocky” Jones of the 203rd Judicial District Court Political advertisement paid by the Judge Raquel Rocky Jones Campaign, David Godsey, Treasurer.