APRIL 3, 2024
William Schlitz
510.701.0810 cell

Statement by Roderick Miles on the Proposed Judicial Restructuring in Tarrant County

Fort Worth, TX - The recent proposal and attempt to reorganize Tarrant County's criminal court system is not merely an administrative change; it's a frontal assault on the separation of powers that underpins our democracy. This plan, which seeks to transfer the oversight of key judicial support staff from the judiciary to the executive branch, represents a dangerous consolidation of power that threatens the independence of our courts.

As residents of Tarrant County, we cannot stand by as the balance of power within our local government is dismantled in favor of an executive overreach that places too much control in too few hands. The lack of transparency and consultation with key stakeholders, as highlighted by Commissioner Alisa Simmons, is deeply troubling. It undermines the foundational principles of our legal system and the democratic process itself.

This proposal, if enacted, would set a precedent that jeopardizes the impartial administration of justice, potentially influencing the outcome of criminal proceedings and affecting the process of setting criminal bonds. It is a blatant attempt to undermine the judiciary's autonomy, risking the integrity of our legal system for perceived administrative efficiency and cost savings.

Furthermore, this proposal distracts from the urgent reforms needed in our approach to criminal justice, particularly concerning our county jail. The crisis at our county jail demands immediate action. We must shift our focus towards substantive policy changes that address non-serious offenses and mental health crises without resorting to incarceration. Our jail should not, and must not, serve as a substitute for a dedicated mental health services provider. It's unconscionable for individuals to be incarcerated due to the absence of essential mental health services.

The path forward is clear: we must unite against this proposal and demand a justice system that truly serves the people of Tarrant County. This is a call to every resident, every voter, and every advocate for justice to join in opposition to this dangerous consolidation of power. Let's demand transparency, inclusivity, and reform that addresses the real issues plaguing our criminal justice system. Together, we can protect our judiciary's independence and ensure that our county is a beacon of fairness and justice for all. The time to act is now-before it's too late.


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