As a native Austinite, I love and care about this community and the people in it. I grew up in South Austin with the values that uniquely define our city. Travis County has a growing and diverse population, I believe that we need diversity amongst the judges on the bench. While our community is nearly 40 percent Latino, I am the only Latino criminal court district judge.
I came from humble beginnings. My father grew up a sharecropper outside of Lockhart, Texas and had to drop out of school in 8th grade to work full time on the farm. He was drafted into the Army and later earned his GED while working three jobs to support our family My mother was one of eight children that traveled the state as migrant farm workers. She also quit school to help support her family. Because of the challenges they faced in life, my parents instilled in me the importance of education and public service.
After graduating high school in 1987, I joined the Army to pay for college. I was honorably discharged in 1990 and I enrolled at Texas State University. I graduated in 1993 (finishing in 3 years) and was offered a scholarship at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. I always knew I’d return to Austin for practice and attended summer school at UT law.
After graduating a semester early from law school, I took the Texas bar and began practicing criminal law. During my career as a lawyer I tried every level of felony, from state jail drug cases to death penalty cases.
As a judge, I continued a busy trial schedule trying fifteen cases during my first year on the bench. I also began sharing Vets Court duties with the aim of taking it over when the current judge retires. Helping veterans is one of the things I am most passionate about and I’m excited to continue the tradition of Travis County Veterans Court. I am also pleased to have helped start the Felony DWI Court with our District Attorney. DWI Court hopes to help break the cycle of addiction for those individuals charged with felony DWI.
As an attorney, I was committed to representing indigent clients. The majority of my practice is dedicated to indigent defense which includes undocumented defendants. In fact, the majority of my clients speak only Spanish.
As a Judge, I lead one of the most progressive courts with amongst the lowest pretrial incarceration rates and with defendants waiting the least time in jail for a trial. I am dedicated to ensuring the rights of the accused without sacrificing the safety of the community. I also take a keen interest in first time offenders and prefer diversion to incarceration where it makes sense but certainly in non-violent offenses.
I believe Criminal Justice Reform doesn’t have to wait for legislation but can happen by implementing progressive measures with a forward thinking jurist. I hope to continue my progressive work for the people in Travis County as your Judge of the 450th District Court!
–Brad Urrutia, Judge of the 450th District Court, Travis County, Texas
Pol. Ad Paid for by the Brad Urrutia Campaign. P.O. Box 252, Manchaca, Texas 78652, Betty Blackwell, Treasurer, in compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.