Our Community Courts focus on rehabilitating each defendant and restoring the community. Persons issued citations for ‘quality of life’, Class C misdemeanor crimes within a community court’s geographical service area receive notice to swiftly appear before the community court judge. Defendants who plead “guilty” or “no contest” may be ordered to perform community service restitution in the neighborhood; the judge can also require defendants to attend rehabilitative and educational programs. Typical offenses adjudicated in the community court include: open container, possession of drug paraphernalia, housing code violations, solicitation by coercion and solicitation of a prohibited substance. Community Prosecutors serve as the prosecutors for the 6 community court dockets.
South Oak Cliff Veteran’s Treatment Court
The Veteran’s Treatment Court docket is held every Monday afternoon at the South Oak Cliff Community Court, which is located less than 5 miles from the Dallas VA Medical Center. Veterans with a substance abuse disorder who have at least one outstanding City of Dallas Class C misdemeanor citation are eligible to participate in the court. (Note: Eligibility may also be conditioned upon the type of discharge from the military that the veteran received.) This program is supported by a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance. The Fund for Veterans’ Assistance provides grants to organizations serving veterans and their families. For more information regarding the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, please visit http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/Fund-for-Veterans-Assistance.aspx
The City of Dallas’s first community court, the South Dallas Community Court, is located at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in South Dallas, which encompasses 10.5 acres and is comprised of five separate buildings. The facility offers a variety of services, including family health and housing assistance. The community court’s location in a multi-purpose center allows citizens of South Dallas to travel to one centralized location to appear for court and receive services.
In 2008, the South Dallas Community Court was one of only three sites nationwide to be selected by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to serve as a National Mentor Court for community courts across the world. As a mentor court, the South Dallas Community Court supports the Center for Court Innovation in advancing the community court model and hosts site visits from jurisdictions that are seeking to start or enhance a community court. In 2014, the South Dallas Community Court, after a competitive selection process, was again designated as a National Mentor Court.