Candidate Q&A – Joseph Aragon – Judge 483rd District Court

What’s your favorite place in Hays County? 

I live in San Marcos, so I am very partial to Loli's Cafe.  It is a great taco stand-off Aquarena Springs that has great food and is a family-run business.

What’s your history of supporting Democratic organizations prior to your run for office? 

I have not historically been involved in many organized groups other than Criminal Defense Attorney's groups.  They are comprised of mostly Democrats but mostly focus on practice and reform in your local courts.

Have you ever donated and/or voted for a Republican? If so, why and to whom? 

I don't recall ever voting or donating to a Republican.

What is your biggest liability or weakness as a candidate, and what is your response to people who may hold that against you?

My biggest weakness as a candidate is that I tend to see things through the lens of a Criminal Defense Attorney.  For example, I think non-violent drug offenders should be put in Prison on very rare occasions. For critics of this stance, I would remind people that most people who go to Prison will eventually get out.  That person will be your neighbor, and their kids will go to school with your kids.  I think putting people in Prison should mostly be a punishment for those who physically harm other people.  That is until our Prison system gets better at rehabilitating people, instead of just housing them.

What area of law do you bring experience in? 


How will you address the backlog of cases facing the court? 

In the Criminal courts, everyone has a deadline.  Law Enforcement must work faster to get investigations done and evidence over to the Prosecutor.  The Prosecutor must analyze that Evidence and relay it to the Defense, along with an offer to resolve the case.  The Defendant and Defense Counsel must analyze the Evidence and decide on if they want to accept/reject the offer or take the case to Trial.  The backlog can be solved by finding who is dropping the ball in this process and making sure they know that they are expected to act professionally, get their job done on time, and let them know what the courts expect and what will be done if they don't meet their deadlines.  I intend on accomplishing this by having more communication with the DA, Law Enforcement, and the Defense Bar to make sure they clearly know what is expected of them.

How do you feel about abortion access? How will you support women on this issue? 

Unfortunately, I think answering this questions would violate Judicial Canon 5.   (1) A judge or judicial candidate shall not:(i) make pledges or promises of conduct in office regarding pending or impending cases, specific classes of cases, specific classes of litigants, or specific propositions of law that would suggest to a reasonable person that the judge is predisposed to a probable decision in cases within the scope of the pledge;

How do you handle making difficult decisions, especially ones you may not personally agree with? 

I make difficult decisions quite often in my practice.  I have stood next to people as they have found guilty and sent to Prison. Above my personal beliefs, I think the Judiciary should follow the law because that is what they are elected to do. I think making sure that the Law is applied fairly and impartially is the way that the community is best served, regardless of whether or not I agree with it.  I don't take this position lightly.  I know a large part of the job is deciding on whether or not someone goes to Prison, which impacts their family and impacts the victims of their crimes.  I think my experience as a Defense Attorney has specifically made me able to make these hard decisions.

What Democratic values will you apply to your work once elected? 

Compassion. A large percentage of Texas Judges are ex-prosecutors.  Prosecutors don't generally speak to the Defendants and their families and see how the system impacts their lives.  They often don't see how missing half a day of work to go to court can sometimes get them fired, or make it difficult to hold down a job at all.  My Defense experience of talking to people and not just seeing them as a number will be a great asset to the court. While I don't talk to victims of crimes as often as some Prosecutors, I do talk to them when they want to talk. Many feel that the system treats them like a number and doesn't listen to their needs, and only focuses on the Defendant. No one wants to find themselves in a Felony Criminal Court, so more compassion for everyone involved is what I intend to bring to the bench.

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