From 1983 to 1987, author Mark Dunn worked as a court clerk for a justice of the peace in Travis County, Texas, where, he says, “I learned more about human nature . . . than I could have learned in any other job I might have taken up as a bushy-tailed kid from Tennessee.” Based on interviews with 200 justices of the peace from all parts of Texas, Texas People’s Court promises to take readers on a tour of what it means to be a Texas justice of the peace: an experience that is by turns hilarious, sobering, heart-wrenching, and, from one end to the other, fascinating.
Here in the Texas justice court, wrongs can be righted and lives changed in profound ways. A priceless family necklace might finally be restored to the rightful owner; an occupational driver’s license fortuitously granted. A death inquest may become an opportunity for family reflection and valediction, with the attending judge as sympathetic witness.
In each of its chapters, Texas People’s Court takes up a different aspect, duty, or area of thought related to the profession of justice of the peace taken from conversations with JPs throughout the state of Texas—from those who serve in its most populous municipalities to rural county JPs—putting a human face on the responsibilities, attitudes, and perspectives that motivate their judgments. The result is a thoroughly entertaining, sympathetic view of what Dunn calls “the day-to-day observation of human conflict in microcosm.”
About the Author
Published by Texas A&M University Press