Newsmaker

A Second Chance for young offenders

“A unique program that is helping some young criminal offenders get a new start just got a major financial boost."

WFAA, April 16, 2016

City, county receive $200,000 Department of Justice grant for South Dallas community court

“We believe in the mission of this court and welcome the opportunity to collaborate on a project that will not only strengthen the defendants who participate but also the communities in which they live,” said presiding Judge Rick Magnis in a written statement.

The Dallas Morning News, April 13, 2016

Program gives drug offenders a second chance

""We've had diversion courts in Dallas before, but nothing that involves the community; nothing that involves the families of the folks that are involved," said Larry James, CEO of CitySquare, a nonprofit partner involved in the project. "This is an intervention with resources. It's not just telling you what to do; it's us discovering with you and helping you determine what you'd like to become."

WFAA, 2015

Program to divert low-level drug dealers celebrates first graduate

"State District Judge Rick Magnis looked around a courtroom filled with alleged dope dealers Friday and asked, “Uniqua is here, isn’t she?”

Of course she was. Uniqua Johnson, 27, hasn’t missed a day in court since starting a new program in Dallas that gives drug dealers a chance to redeem themselves.

Friday was her graduation day. Johnson did everything she was asked to do. She tested clean from drugs every time. She got a job and kept it. She studied for her GED. She got stable housing. She met regularly with her caseworkers. Then, Magnis congratulated Johnson, who donned a graduation robe similar to his judge’s robe, and told her she was free.

"Your cases are dismissed, so I’ve got no more power over you," Magnis said."

Dallas Morning News, May 8, 2015

Program goes after Dallas hot spots for drug street sales

"The carrot-and-stick Transitioning Offenders Program, based on a similar one in North Carolina that Broll read about, aims to put major drug movers and shakers in prison and reform their low-level drug-dealing minions."

Dallas Morning News, April 20, 2015

Judge to Dallas area domestic violence abusers - show up weekly or go to jail

"Once a week, state District Judge Rick Magnis gives domestic violence offenders in his courtroom a choice: show up or go to jail.  Magnis, who presides over the 283rd District Court, is leading a new program that monitors highly dangerous family violence offenders on probation for a felony. It is one of several new initiatives that Dallas County judges are using to try to curb domestic violence."

Dallas Morning News, February 16, 2014

Dallas court focuses on domestic violence risks

"When most Dallas County felony courts are wrapping up for the weekend, this one is just getting started.  It's a special court for high-risk family violence offenders and the first of its kind in Texas. The men in it have shot, stabbed, strangled or committed other violent acts against the women in their lives."

"Magnis hopes to prevent the women in the lives of these men from meeting a violent end, such as in the highly publicized killings of Deanna Cook or Karen Cox Smith."

WFAA News, February 16, 2014

Editorial: We recommend Magnis in Dem race for 283rd Criminal Court

"On balance, however, Magnis’ reputation as a committed and hard-working judge, along with strong ratings in the most recent Dallas Bar Association judicial evaluation poll, should make him the Democrats’ choice in this race. The winner faces no Republican opposition in November.

Dallas Morning News, January 13, 2014

Dallas County’s felony court judges begin fast-tracking domestic violence cases

"October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but state District Judge Rick Magnis, who led the speedy-trial move among his Dallas County colleagues, said he has long wanted to find ways to improve how domestic violence cases are handled."

Dallas Morning News, October 10, 2013

Deadly Affection - A Look Back

"At the criminal courthouse, state District Judge Rick Magnis has pledged to personally supervise felons who get probation as part of a plea bargain. Starting in mid-January, offenders will have to report to him in person each week, and may be subject to ankle or alcohol monitoring to ensure they don’t abuse again." “It’s going to be a zero-tolerance program,” Magnis said.

Dallas Morning News, January 5, 2014

Exonorees, supporters rally for Ben Spencer, who has served 25 years in prison

"State District Judge Rick Magnis, in 42-page letter in 2008, found that Spencer’s conviction rested on unreliable eyewitness testimony. He said Oliver “is not a credible witness and is not worthy of belief.” Alan Ledbetter, the foreman of the jury that convicted Spencer, now believes he was innocent."

Dallas Morning News, May 12, 2012

New Dallas County court program targets high-risk family violence offenders

“He’s looking at the total picture as opposed to what his docket is,” said Jan Langbein, executive director of the Genesis Women’s Shelter. “He’s a good guy trying to do the right thing.”

Dallas Morning News, December 14, 2011