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By Appointing Three New Judges, Jim Foster Is Out to "Control Truancy in Dallas County"

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I honestly can't recall ever receiving a press release from Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. But mere moments ago, up popped this item in the in-box: "Dallas County Gains Three New Truancy Magistrates." The full release follows, but the short version is Foster has appointed former Civil District Court Judge Charles Stokes, Colleen Doolin Skinner and Joshua H. Northam to help clear the dockets clogging up the county's five truancy courts. (The release says the judges can hear "between 200-300 cases a day.")

Says Foster, "We absolutely must continue to address the problem of truancy. And not let up. When children are not in school most likely they are on the street and we know what kind of education the street provides." Do we ever.

DALLAS COUNTY GAINS THREE NEW TRUANCY MAGISTRATES

Dallas County Judge Jim Foster has selected three new part time truancy court magistrates to help alleviate the crowded dockets in the five truancy courts that serve school districts throughout Dallas County. Former Civil District Court Judge Charles Stokes, Colleen Doolin Skinner and Joshua H. Northam were appointed by Judge Foster. The new magistrates will begin observing in the truancy courts as soon as next week.

"We absolutely must continue to address the problem of truancy. And not let up. When children are not in school most likely they are on the street and we know what kind of education the street provides." Judge Foster said at the swearing in at Commissioners Court today.

The truancy courts are under the direction of the County Judge and Judge Foster is determined to create a model system to benefit the citizens of Dallas County. Along with the current five courts there are plans to add a sixth court in the Grand Prairie -- Irving area in the near future.

Truancy court magistrates, by law, must be licensed lawyers and have practiced four years prior to appointment. The new part time magistrates will sit whenever a need arises.

"The full time judges have vacation time and continuing legal education courses they must attend. The courts are not serving the citizens if they are dark, hence the need for the part time judges to fill in and keep control of the dockets. Sometimes these judges hear 200-300 cases a day so understandably it's important to keep the cases moving." Judge Foster added. "We are making great progress in the effort to control truancy in Dallas County."

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