Historically, Brazoria county was more rural than urban, more agricultural than industrial, and its less complex legal needs were served by non-attorney justices of the peace. No law degree was required to pass judgment on your friends and neighbors’ civil disputes, their minor infractions, and fines. Today, Brazoria County has rapidly grown in population, economy, and diversity; especially in the Northern part of Precinct 2.
A Justice of Peace must be prepared for modern trends to “decriminalize” many offenses to Class C Misdemeanors; for example, Gov. Abbott recently proposed dropping the maximum punishment for possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana from 180 days in jail to a fine. Crimes once judged by attorney-judges involve complex Constitutional rights of search, seizure, and due process. Those rights are at risk when non-attorney judges pass judgement and decide punishment. Safeguarding Constitutional rights and protections requires more than a simple well-informed non-attorney judge. An attorney-Justice of Peace trained, licensed, and practiced in law is better equipped to ensure Constitutional prerequisites to a fair trial.