When I heard I would be conducting an interview with Judge Juan Jasso, I was beyond excited. If you grew up in Oak Cliff, or in his precinct, chances are you’ve encountered Judge Jasso at some point. In fact, he may have sent you to truancy boot camp in your youth, or married you or someone you know. Judge Jasso is truly a Dallas gem, and one
of the most humble, honest, and fair public servants I’ve ever met.
A son of immigrant parents from a ‘ranchito’ in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and 14th out of 15 children, Judge Jasso grew up in “El Rancho de los Pansones” outside of San Juan, Texas. “It was owned by these two big German brothers, and since none of the Mexican workers could pronounce their last name, they just called it Rancho de los Pansones, cause of its owners and big fat cows they had,” laughs Jasso. Life was rough: the family did seasonal migrant work in the North from April through September, for most part of Jasso’s youth. “We were poor and life was hard, but we never really felt it. It was all we knew, and it provided everything we needed. We had a roof over our heads and
we had food on the table. My mom would even pack treats with my lunch and I’d make some of the kids at school jealous,” remembers Jasso fondly. Upon graduation, Jasso attended PanAm University (now UTRGV), where he received his undergraduate degree in Government, then started his graduate studies at Purdue University in
Indiana. A friend then suggested he pursue a law degree, which he did and received from the University of Houston. Eventually making his way to Dallas through a friend, he settled in Oak Cliff where he practiced for a few years, before being appointed a Municipal Judge in Cockrell Hill, Texas. Five years later, he ran for his current position.
“Dallas had just created a precinct for the Latino community, because Hispanics felt underrepresented, so I took the opportunity, and won,” states Jasso. He’s been there ever since, and still resides in Oak Cliff, where he lives with his wife, former city of Dallas councilwoman Delia Jasso.
Although Oak Cliff is predominantly Hispanic, it’s part of a diverse precinct. “It makes me feel good to know that I’ve gotten the most votes, not just from Hispanics, but I also have the Anglo and African-American support. The community knows that I apply legal reasoning and practice judicial temperament. Even when someone disagrees
with the outcome, they know my decision is based on the law, not on the color of your skin or who you know,” reaffirms Jasso.
With reelections upon us, Judge Jasso has no doubt in his mind he is where he needs to be. “I always planned on becoming a Judge, specifically at the Justice of the Peace level. This is where the community has access to the court system,” states Judge Jasso. “Here is where they have the option to file without an attorney, to be heard. Sometimes that is all they want, a chance to tell their side of the story.”
But, why should the public reelect him? According to the Hon. David Dunnigan, Precinct Chair #4079, there’s quite a few reasons. “Judge Jasso has excellent experience as a judge and a lawyer on the bench, he has been in our community for 28 years, and raise his children here,” states Dunnigan. “Being bilingual, and his ability to utilize that is a great asset for our community. I strongly support him and urge you to VOTE for him.” He’s not alone in his support for Judge Jasso. “As Justice of the Peace, Judge Jasso has represented the bench with the highest ethical standards and professional behavior. With over twenty years of experience, Judge Jasso has served as a consistent
and fair jurist, qualities of a true gatekeeper of justice,” states Rafael Anchia, State Representative, District 103. Recently, Judge Jasso received the Public Servant of the Year award. It was presented by the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce at their Annual Awards Gala on January 26, 2017. He also received the West Dallas Minister Alliance Justice Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions and dedicated service to the West Dallas community on December 8, 2017. These are just a few among several recognitions Judge Jasso has received over the years.
Judge Jasso also has an open door policy that the community has come to appreciate. They can go and ask questions, even if it’s not specifically about their case, sometimes just to find out if they can file. “That’s one of the reasons why I never wanted to run for a higher court, because at higher levels, everything has to be done through an attorney and we are prohibited from having any contact. Over my years in Oak Cliff, the community has come to
know me, they know I conduct myself in an ethical manner, I’m just and impartial, and all those experiences that I’ve had as a lawyer, as a judge, has given me the knowledge to be able to rule fairly, and people see that. I’m committed to them. Even those who are unhappy with my decisions are very nice and know it isn’t personal. I even married a couple who met at one of the weekend truancy boot camps I sent them to as kids, they asked me to conduct their marriage ceremony years later. Those are the things I enjoy the most about being a justice of the peace.”
For our youth that’s thinking about going into law, and eventually becoming a Judge, Jasso recommends getting involved in the community, and joining as many boards, commissions and organizations as they can. “Just get involved, that’s the key. You never know who you are going to meet and who can help you, make those connections. You hardly ever do it on your own, even if you don’t realize it. Then, you pay it forward.”
Judge Jasso has been doing just that for many, many years, and we hope he will continue serving our community for years to come. Remember, early voting takes place from February 20th – March 2nd, and Election Day on Saturday, March 6th. Go out and vote!