By Sandy . . . This is good news of the very best kind, the kind that shows people actually living out what they profess to believe.
For those who remember To Kill a Mockingbird, the character of attorney Atticus Finch embodies this characteristic. In the novel a family friend tells Atticus’ little daughter, when she complains that her father is too old to do anything, that he is someone to be proud of, that he has the rare quality of being the same at home as he is in public.
Thankfully, there are actual people to whom this also applies.
In Travis County, Texas, a judicial race between a real-life defense attorney and the incumbent, a longtime judge, is turning interesting. The challenger, Chantal Eldridge, in 2016 hired a sex offender registrant as her legal assistant and, if elected, intends to keep him as her judicial assistant unless “there is some legal reason” he cannot serve in that capacity.
When challenged on this, she has said that refusing employment to a past felon – his case was thirty years ago — would run counter to her faith in criminal justice rehabilitation.
“ ‘I just don’t think a criminal history — after somebody has successfully completed their punishment — should bar someone from getting a job, or at least being considered,’ she said.”
Her campaign website bears this statement: “True to her belief in criminal justice reform, Chantal knows that if she were not willing to offer an ex-felon a second chance, an opportunity to show he was rehabilitated, then she would be a hypocrite.”
This Texas attorney should get our nomination for hero of the month, possibly the year.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.