While presiding over the high volume docket of the 283rd Judicial District Court Judge Magnis has always dedicated additional time and energy to the development and operation of innovative problem solving courts. His participation in the following courts has always been work performed voluntarily above and beyond his elected responsibility to preside over and administer the 283rd Judicial District Court.
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility Re-entry Court
Early in his judicial career Judge Magnis volunteered to presided over the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility (SAFPF) Re-Entry Court. SAFPF is six-month in-prison treatment program for probationers identified as needing long term residential substance abuse treatment followed by up to three months of residential aftercare in a transitional treatment center. During the aftercare treatment SAFPF Re-entry Court participants reported weekly to Judge Magnis and his team which included a probation officer, caseworker and counselor. Eventually, the State of Texas and Dallas County were able to pool the resources necessary to appoint a judge to handle Re-entry Court full time. This court continues to operate as a full time docket.
Dual Diagnosis Center Re-Entry Court
After serving as the presiding judge of the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility Re-entry Court Judge Magnis volunteered to be one of two judges that presided over the Dual Diagnosis Center (DDC) Re-Entry Court. The DDC which is housed in the Dallas County Judicial Treatment Center in Wilmer, Texas is a 90 to 120 day residential treatment program for probationers with substance abuse problems that co-occur with mental illness. After completing inpatient treatment all participants reported to the DDC Re-Entry Court. Once in the court, the probation officer and assigned case managers worked with the client to maintain their medication regimen and address their ongoing substance abuse issues. Judge Magnis worked in partnership with the local county mental health service providers referred by the court. In 2012, upon being elected by his peers to the position of Administrative Presiding Judge of the (17) Criminal District Courts in Dallas County, Judge Magnis no longer had the time to continue this additional responsibility of this court and handed it off to another judge. The DDC Re-Entry Court continues to operate to this day.
Dallas County Domestic Violence Court
After completing his term as the Administrative Presiding Judge of the (17) Criminal District Courts in Dallas County Judge Magnis again turned his attention to the creation of innovative problem solving courts. In 2014 after extensive planning and consultation with stakeholders, Judge Magnis created the Dallas County Felony Domestic Violence Court (FDVC). This problem solving court was created to promote victim safety by increasing accountability, monitoring, and support of felony offenders who have been placed on probation for felony offenses committed against an intimate partner. Utilizing many components of the Problem Solving Court model utilized in DDC and SAFPF Re-Entry Courts, the FDVC closely monitors participants while addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. At the request of its stakeholders the court focuses on supervision of probationers who score high on evidence based lethality assessments but are offered probation by the state for a variety of reasons including lack of cooperation by the victim. The primary goal of the FDVC is to increase victim safety whether or not the victim seeks services. The FDVC Court focuses on creating opportunities for personal insight, behavioral change and non-violent living by delivering Batterers Intervention Programming (BIP), substance abuse treatment, employment counseling and psychological services. Victim safety is enhanced by the indicated use of electronic monitoring, drug testing, alcohol monitoring and strict accountability including swift and immediate sanctions for non-compliance. This court continues to grow and expand as it becomes a model for the supervision of violent family violent offenders.
Second Chance Community Improvement Court
In 2015 Judge Magnis was asked to preside over the Second Chance Community Improvement Court (SCCIP) a community based problem solving court which targets young non-violent offenders in south Dallas. Established as a true diversion court in partnership with the Dallas County District Attorney, the Dallas County Public Defender, the Dallas City Attorney, the Dallas Police Department as well as local service providers and businesses SCCIP changes the lives of young offenders by diverting them out if the criminal justice system. Graduates not only benefit from dismissal of all pending cases but can also have their criminal record expunged six months after graduation if they remain crime-free. Hoping to become better rooted in the community SCCIP is currently addressing logistical barriers in order to convene this problem solving court at the City of Dallas Community Court in the neighborhood being served instead of the remote county courthouse. By taking this SCCIP into South Dallas Judge Magnis hopes to improve community attitudes towards the criminal justice system while helping the participants live crime-free lives.