On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, The Dallas Morning News reported that it received a report commissioned by Tarrant County detailing how the county’s sole juvenile court is operating as a “mini-adult” system, keeping children detained for excessively long periods of time and overcrowding the juvenile detention facility.

According to The Dallas Morning News:

“The report echoes part of a complaint filed in April against 323rd State District Judge Alexander Kim, who presides over the juvenile court and oversees two associate judges. In their complaint, attorneys Greg Westfall and Stephanie Patten alleged that Kim “routinely over-detains juveniles by applying criteria for detention that do not appear in the Family Code.”

Carey Cockerell, a former longtime director of the county’s juvenile department and former chairman of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, prepared the report for Tarrant County.

The Dallas Morning News stated that:

“Cockerell found that even though the number of case referrals to the Tarrant County juvenile court has sunk from about 5,000 cases in 2010 to about 2,500 last year, the average daily population at the county juvenile detention center increased during that time span. It went up from 48 youths to 118 so far this year.”

The Dallas Morning News continues:

“But perhaps most concerning is the report’s finding that Kim uses a behavioral rating system that amounts to “a perfect conduct score” to determine how long youths are detained. This scoring system exists outside of Texas law.”

The April accusation against Kim described how he utilized this scoring system to condemn a kid to 180 days of contempt, which was longer than the maximum 10-day penalty allowed by state law.

The Dallas Morning News goes on:

“On June 10, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct dismissed the complaint against Kim, stating that it “remains confident that the conduct will not occur in the future.” Tarrant County’s troubling audit should prompt the commission to re-examine whether Kim should be disciplined.”

The Judge’s Courtroom is at 2701 Kimbo Road in Fort Worth and can be reached at 817-759-7893.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

 

Full story here.