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. I truly believe this community deserves the most qualified person to represent it on the 450th district criminal court bench.
With a growing and diverse population, I believe that we need more diversity amongst the judges on the bench. While our community is nearly 40 percent Latino, there is only one Hispanic criminal court district judge. In addition, out of the 7 criminal court district judges, all but one came from the district attorney’s office.
From an early age, my mother drove home the need for an education. My father grew up a sharecropper outside of Lockhart, Texas and had to drop out of school in 8th grade to work full time the farm. After being drafted into the Army, he later earned his GED while working three jobs to support our family. We lived in a small house my parents bought with my father’s VA loan. After graduating high school in 1987, I joined the Army to pay for college.
After being honorably discharged in 1990, 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 law.
Since the day I hung out a shingle, I always practiced criminal law. During my career, I have tried every level of felony, from state jail felony drug cases to death penalty cases. I am the only candidate that has been approved by the Capitol Area Private Defender’s Service to accept highest level of felonies. I am also on the 3rd Judicial Region’s list of attorneys approved to represent defendant’s charged with capital murder.
Over the years I have been committed to representing indigent clients charged with the most serious crimes. The majority of my practice is dedicated to indigent defense which includes undocumented defendants. In fact, the majority of my clients speak only Spanish.
Through my years practicing criminal law, I have had the opportunity to represent many first time offenders. Many of these young people grew up under the same conditions I did and I am always struck by how fine the line is between being successful and taking a turn down the wrong path. My primary reason for running for Judge is to help young, especially first time offenders. My hope is that I can work with some of these offenders in order to keep them from reoffending and ultimately leading productive lives.
I am married to Amber Urrutia and have 4 children, Jacob 14, Joshua 12, Devin 9, and Charleez 3. We still live in South Austin.