Free Citizens Civil Academy in Duncanville Offers Helpful Information
Judge Staci Williams, Presiding Judge of the 101st District Court, is bringing her free, non-partisan, and highly interactive judicial outreach program to Duncanville. The Duncanville academy will be held at the Museum of International Cultures, 411 U.S. Highway 67 South. Scheduled times are Saturday September 9, 16 and 23, from 10 a.m. until 12 noon.
Suitable for all ages, the Citizens Civil Academy hopes to educate citizens about the civil court process and the inner workings of the George Allen, Sr., Courts Building. Judge Staci Williams, creator of the Citizens’ Civil Academy, is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC and Smith College in Northampton, MA.
Three Sessions Include Local Judges As Speakers
At the Citizens’ Civil Academy, participants will learn such things as how to determine if there are active warrants on them or their family members. They will learn how to receive legal resources, and meet judges and lawyers who handle civil (non-criminal) issues.
Participants are encouraged to attend one, two, or all three class sessions. If three class sessions are completed, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion at a graduation ceremony. Academy speakers have included District Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon, 305th District Court in Dallas; Judge Denise Garcia, 303rd District Court; Judge Brenda Hull-Thompson, County Probate Court #1; and The Hon. Dale Tillery, 134th Judicial District Court. Attorneys William M. Toles and Spencer P. Browne have also been featured speakers at the academy.
Judge Williams said, “People know about Frank Crowley and the criminal courts. The news seems to emphasize on a daily basis criminal cases involving murder, assault, drugs, or drunk driving. There are fewer stories about the civil court process or civil cases.”
Academy Participants Will Learn More About Civil Court Process
“After attending the Citizens’ Civil Academy, participants have a better understanding of the civil court process, from the time a lawsuit is filed until the law suit is disposed of. They will also have a better understanding of jury service, and how and why attorneys select certain individuals to sit on a jury,” Williams added.
“Participants also learn there are judges who do not handle criminal law matters. There are civil judges who handle family law issues, there are civil judge who handle probate issues and mental health warrants, there are civil judges who handle juvenile issues, and there are judges who handle other civil issues such as employment, personal injury, contract disputes, and real estate issues,” Williams said.
“In addition, after attending the Citizens Civil Academy, participants have a better understanding of the legal system; they will realize that the television shows do not accurately represent the civil courts,” Williams added. “After attending the Citizens’ Civil Academy, participants are equipped with information about the legal system, what to do if they get served with a lawsuit and the various entities that can provide assistance.”
The Citizens’ Civil Academy has been held each spring and fall since October, 2015, at various Dallas County locations. Three additional Citizens’ Civil Academy meetings will be held in Dallas at the Grauwlyer Park Branch Library, 2146 Gilford Street in Dallas Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14 from 10:30 a.m. till 12 noon.
The Citizens’ Civil Academy is not funded by federal, state, county or municipal funds. Additionally, the Citizens’ Civil Academy does not reduce Judge Williams’ docket at the courthouse.
In Dallas County, a civil district court may hear cases involving contracts, business disputes, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, property damage, wrongful death, and workers’ compensation appeals. There are separate civil district courts that handle exclusively family or juvenile issues. And there are other state courts that handle civil issues such as probate, guardianship, mental health warrants, evictions, and foreclosure.