Monday, August 16, 2010

DART Community Court for our homeless friends

The Stewpot offers many services to their clients in an effort to help them transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.  One of the services offered is Community Court.  Community Court is a program designed to offer homeless persons the opportunity to take care of misdemeanor citations and violations in the City of Dallas and for DART.  Our homeless friends are often times the subjects of certain types of citations from DART officers including most often fare evasion.  Since many of our homeless friends are financially strained as it is, the cost of these tickets can be difficult to afford.  If the tickets are not dealt with and one of our homeless friends gets arrested for a warrant, they go to jail and often times lose their identification (which often times The Stewpot has helped them obtain as vital records assistance is one of the services offered at The Stewpot). Hence, this court held at The Stewpot with the help of volunteers from the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, clerks from the court houses, and judges and justices of the peace from various districts affords the chance to the clients to handle their legal affairs rather than getting a warrant issued for their arrest.

On Saturday morning August 14, 94 individuals showed up to thank the lawyers, see the judges, get assigned hours of community service, and then set out to perform the community service tasks for their allotted hours in the Downtown Dallas area.  Work crews spread out to the north, east, south, and west to pick up trash, sweep the sidewalks, and help clean up the neighborhood.  Some crews focused on specific areas like the Farmer’s Market and City Hall.  At the end of the day, areas were cleaned up, court dockets were cleared of tickets dating back many years in some cases, and the participating clients of The Stewpot got to go home relieved knowing that there would not be a warrant issued for their arrest.  The Stewpot would like to thank Mike Haney, Justice of the Peace Judge Seider, Justice of the Peace Judge Sepulveda, and Justice of the Peace Judge Ellis for their services.  Also, The Stewpot would like to thank the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Brandy Baxter-Thompson and Jennifer King for their hard work and dedication to our homeless friends.


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