Republican Joe Marr Wilson recently met with The Dallas Express to talk about his candidacy for the 108th District Court bench, highlighting his exceptional ability to build and maintain relationships, his unwavering commitment to fairness, and his extensive experience in criminal and family law as key factors that set him apart.

Wilson, one of 14 lawyers in the state who is board-certified in both family and criminal law, has been practicing as a defense attorney since 1988, having his own firm with his wife since 1990. It is worth noting that in Potter County, in the 108th District, “Most of the cases that the district ends up dealing with are the criminal and family law cases,” according to Wilson.

Potter County has five district courts; however, only two of these courts — the 108th and the 320th — are considered full-time Potter County courts. The remaining three district courts alternate between Potter and Randall County. This arrangement is due to the fact that Amarillo, the city in which these courts are located, is split between these two counties.

Wilson is looking to represent a district located entirely within the boundaries of Potter County, running in the Republican primary election against Samuel Brown Silverman, Tim Pirtle, and Pam Sirmon. Wilson seeks to take Douglas Woodburn’s seat as Woodburn is facing mandatory retirement.

When asked why he would be willing to upend his established practice to take a pay cut and be a state district court judge, Wilson explained that his background positions him to help the community — to make a positive impact rather than being a citizen who sees areas that need improvement but isn’t willing to be part of the solution.

Wilson believes he is the right individual for the seat, as his expertise is rooted in the types of cases the district predominantly sees.

“While I am capable of making very good decisions and being firm in those decisions, it is about people when you get down to it,” explained Wilson. “It’s about relationship.”

“When people leave the courthouse, even if they did not get the outcome they wanted, they need to know that they got a fair shot,” said Wilson. “I have found that most people can live with that if they are treated in a respectful and dignified manner, and they believe the person making the decisions was knowledgeable, listened to them, and tried to make the best decision possible. Judges need to keep this in mind.”

Wilson strongly believes in his ability to treat everyone fairly, with neutrality and truthfulness, while making decisions. He firmly asserts that individuals should not feel unjustly treated or manipulated; instead, they should have faith in the system and trust that it will work.

One concern that Wilson is looking forward to addressing is the at-capacity jail population, which he says is partly due to individuals awaiting criminal trial who cannot put up a bond.

“We have to find a more efficient way to get people through the system while doing justice properly,” said Wilson.

Overpopulated jails have a monetary impact as well, he explained, noting that “it costs $70 for us to house an inmate per day, and that is if they do not have any medical or mental health needs.”

Another critical issue Wilson looks to address as a judge is scheduling in family law.

“We have to get more creative with scheduling so that we end up using our time to get cases resolved,” said Wilson, emphasizing that in family law cases, “we are affecting how that family operates — people need to get in and get their cases heard instead of delaying justice.”

Wilson also looks forward to fostering existing and new relationships with other lawyers, court staff, the prosecutor’s office, the sheriff’s department, and the community.

With regard to the litigants, Wilson notes that small expressions of respect go a long way, adding, “That may not change anything that happens in their case, but certainly you should treat everyone with respect. I can do this without giving up my ability to do what I need to do as a judge. If you have to be tough on somebody, you have to be tough on somebody, but you don’t have to treat them as subhuman, and I think our system has done that a lot — it has degraded people.”

Wilson welcomes calls from citizens if they have any questions he can help answer. He encourages people to vote and be informed voters.