NOTE: This is a criminal court.

Job descriptionCriminal District Courts hear felony criminal cases. Term is four years.
DutiesNote: Criminal law deals with behavior that is an offense against the public, society, or the state—even if the victim is an individual.
Felonies are serious crimes; examples include murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, and theft over $1,500 value.
Annual salary$140,000-$168,000

Who’s Running?

Lakesha Smith
Website: http://Lakeshasmith4judge.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lakeshasmith4judge/
Instagram: lakesha4judge
Email: LakeshaSmith4judge@gmail.com
Democrat
Chris Wolfe (incumbent)
https://access.tarrantcounty.com/en/criminal-courts/felony-courts/213th-district-court.html
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-wolfe-b98a0698
Republican

Candidate Q&A

1. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE?
Lakesha Smith
I will bring a wealth of balanced experience to the bench, both legal and personal. I am a former prosecutor and a former public defender. I have worked with children, families, men and women on both sides of the criminal justice system. My professional experience is as wide and varied as you will ever find within the criminal justice system. I have worked with great effort to pursue truth and achieve justice. My pursuit of justice has always been with an eye toward accountability and rehabilitation. But, more than that, I bring an understanding to the bench that few people in my position can offer. I lost my mother in adolescence and became a mother myself as a teen. I have known poverty, loss, trauma, and the barriers that have seemed insurmountable, both personal and structural. My achievements have come from hard work, but also from caring, generosity, love, and a fair number of mistakes and second chances. I approach the bench armed with this history and experience seeking to help promote healing through truth and accountability. I believe a criminal court can be a place where pain stops and healing begins, for victims, families and defendants.
Chris Wolfe
2. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FEW PRIORITIES IF ELECTED?
Lakesha Smith
If elected, first priority will be to cultivate an environment that builds trust by focusing on applying the law accurately, equally and fairly to all. This will ensure everyone has access to justice regardless of race or wealth and sets the standard for every proceeding in my court. Second, create a space where everyone is afforded respect and opportunity to be heard. Third, create and implement systems which encourage more transparency and accountability.
Chris Wolfe
3. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JUDICIAL PHILOSOPHY?
Lakesha Smith
My judicial philosophy is simple, follow the law and use common sense. If elected, I fully understand my role is to apply the law. Therefore, I will apply the law fairly and equally to all.
My pledge to voters, as your next district judge, I will follow the law, maintain fairness, treat everyone with dignity, have a strong work ethic, run my court efficiently and use my experience to ensure justice for all.
Chris Wolfe
4. HOW MIGHT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, WHICH IS LIKELY TO BE AROUND FOR SOME TIME, AFFECT YOUR THINKING OR WORK ON THE COURT?
Lakesha Smith
The use of technology is what first comes to mind when I think of courts and COVID. Anyone who has practiced criminal law before the pandemic knows that technology was well behind its time. However, in the last few months we have witnessed a massive overhaul of technology in courts. Criminal courts being no exception to the impacts of COVID, technology has finally found its seat. I anticipate having to address the pros and cons of the use and implementation of technology. Primarily, how to strike a balance between how technology can be utilized to serve the ends of justice in the most economical and efficient way against the cons and dangers of technology security breaches, all while ensuring due process.
Chris Wolfe
5. ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
Lakesha Smith
I would like the voters in Tarrant County to know why I decided to run for the 213th District Court which handles criminal cases. I have dedicated my legal career to public service in the area of criminal law. As a former prosecutor and former public defender who has handled all levels of criminal cases on both sides, I offer balance and unmatched experience. I am running for judge because I am qualified, experienced and most importantly, my community deserves representation in our courts that reflects the diversity and values represented in our community. We need judges who will follow the law, apply the law equally, and understand the population of people they are elected to serve. My professional experience, life experience, diversity and dedication to fairness are all traits which position me best to serve the needs of my community, the court and those in the justice system. I would be honored to continue my public service as your next district judge.
Chris Wolfe