New Dallas County DA Focuses On Community, Prosecutors’ Morale

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DALLAS (CBS11) – Faith Johnson calls herself a District Attorney for the people.

“We hit the ground running,” she said.

Since taking office two months ago, Dallas County’s DA says she’s regularly walked around the Crowley Courthouse and attended community meetings and events. “That’s about 200 engagements, speaking before community groups and law enforcement. So it has been non-stop.”

Governor Greg Abbott appointed Johnson, a Republican, to succeed Susan Hawk, who resigned last year to focus on treatment for her mental health.

Johnson’s priorities include opening 11 satellite offices around the City of Dallas to help crime victims, especially victims of family violence.

The offices are at Dallas Police Department substations, and at city community courts. “They can go right there in their own community, see the police, see the prosecutor, get that case started. We’ll get all the accurate information, that protective order started.”

The new DA is also holding an expungement clinic Saturday allowing those who qualify to clear their record.

Johnson said she will continue to focus on those who are wrongfully convicted. “I definitely plan to expand the conviction integrity unit. I have re-arranged the conviction integrity unit. That unit now reports directly to me.”

She also believes in giving non-violent offenders a second chance. “If we don’t give people a chance to not have a record, when they get that record, they are going to be prone to want to go back and commit crimes again.”

Johnson said starting out, she noticed morale in the office was low. So she regularly checks in on her prosecutors during the day. “So many of them told me they had never met their D-A. It’s important to them because they want to know that someone cares.”

Johnson says she’s now in the process of taking all 269 of her prosecutors out to lunch, and is paying for it with her own money, not campaign or office funds.

Her term expires in 2018, and Johnson says she’s running to keep her seat.

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