Real World Leadership
Raised by a fierce feminist and a father who taught me to dream big, I grew up with a strong sense of social justice. We moved around between Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas until, in my junior year of high school, Texas became my permanent home. Not familiar with Texas schools, I applied to several small liberal arts colleges and chose the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio for its beautiful campus and institutional commitment to community service. While there, I joined a co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and spent much of my four years there getting to know the surrounding San Antonio community. It was during college that I truly developed my desire to help others.
Transparency and Accountability
As the District Attorney, I commit to full transparency in charging and case outcomes and to being accountable to our community. I recognize that people of color are disproportionately represented in the criminal and civil justice systems and I will strive to rebuild trust within marginalized communities in an attempt to begin addressing the harm that has been done by mass incarceration. To that end, I plan to engage a community advisory council, composed of individuals from underserved areas in our community, such as the African-American community, immigrants, individuals who were formerly incarcerated, victims of violent crime and other members who have a vested interest in the operations of the District Attorney’s office. I will create and maintain a public facing dashboard that details demographic information for cases filed, including race, gender, offense type, pretrial incarceration information and conviction rates detailing the type and length of sentences imposed, in an effort to be transparent about felonies filed in Travis county.
I will participate in, not dismantle, local efforts to improve our justice system. During my career, I have chaired and participated on local coordinated community response teams. In working with all partners, I know that the community is safer when all voices are present and heard. I have worked with law enforcement, prosecutors, victims and social service agencies and I have acted as a bridge so that together we could transform the system into one that is more just. I know that excluding voices that don’t agree with me is dangerous and perpetuates a system that delivers justice to some at the expense of many.
Justice for Victims
Up to this point, in Travis county, our criminal and civil justice systems have not delivered just outcomes for victims of violent crime, particularly for victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Instead, our county is facing a class action lawsuit filed by multiple victims in sexual assault investigations and cases in Travis county. Our system does not cater to the needs of victims by providing the support they need while navigating the justice system and does not value the voices of victims. Additionally, the more wealthy a perpetrator, the less likely the case will be resolved in a way that feels just for the victim. Conversely, black and brown perpetrators are more often incarcerated and not given the tools needed to make change. As a community, we must do better.
I have twenty years’ experience representing victims of violent crime and working collaboratively on various multi-disciplinary teams to improve our community’s response to victims. As a prosecutor with the Travis County Attorney’s Office, I led the protective order division and transformed it into a statewide model for other offices. I have also participated on the public policy committees for the Texas Council on Family Violence and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. In both of those roles, I was able to use my experience on the front lines to develop and suggest legislation aimed at improving safety and services for victims. As the Managing Attorney for the Crime Victims program at Texas Legal Services Center, I transformed the division into a holistic law firm staffed with highly skilled attorneys and advocates, and we travelled the state helping victims where their local prosecutors would not. Under my leadership, our program became known across the state for our expertise in providing legal assistance in civil and criminal court.
When elected, I will ensure that victims are supported and heard throughout the process. I will commit to having my prosecutors and victim advocates trained on best practices in the field and will enhance the office’s policies regarding victim contact. Each prosecutor will be required to meet with the victims in their cases and victim advocates will provide ongoing, trauma-informed support throughout the life of the criminal case. I recognize that each victim’s idea of justice is unique and will create a process that honors individual victims and connects them with resources to help them begin to heal from the trauma they have endured.
Transformation Over Incarceration
As District Attorney, I am committed to seeking alternatives to incarceration in all cases. I intend to engage the community and partner with service providers to ensure that individuals involved in the criminal and civil justice systems have the tools they need to live safe and productive lives. I recognize people of color and immigrant communities, especially, have been harmed by the system, and know we can do better. I believe we need to consider and honor people’s stories and experiences and attempt to get to the root cause of criminal behavior, rather than incarcerating individuals without regard for their individual experiences. Research shows that the majority of incarcerated individuals have suffered some sort of abuse or trauma in their lives and we owe to our community to come together and work toward transformative interventions rather than demeaning and punitive solutions. I believe we can move forward, as a community, recognizing the humanity in each of our brothers and sisters and embodying compassion as we search for alternatives to incarderation.
As DA, I will commit to employing a conviction review team so that we may take a closer look at excessive punishment that has come out of this office in the current and previous administrations. I will create policies that guide my prosecutors to seek appropriate and meaningful solutions and interventions rather than incarceration. I will stay up to date with best practices for treatment and services for individuals suffering from drug addiction, homelessness and mental health issues. Having spent the last two decades working in the system, providing criminal defense services, assisting victims of crime and fighting for parents in CPS court, I understand the insides of our courtrooms don’t look like our community and don’t transform lives. I have seen firsthand how people of color, immigrants and women are treated by the system and I vow to do better for all.
News & Updates
AUSTIN, TX, July 10th, 2019 - Local attorney Erin Martinson announced that she would be challenging the incumbent Travis...
Contact the Campaign
Mailing: PO Box 4482 Austin, TX 78765 Phone: (512) 522-9763