Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA Alumnus runs for Bexar County Judge

The Republican Party of Bexar County recently held a fundraising event for UTSA alumnus Jason Wolff. Wolff, who graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2001, is the Republican candidate for Bexar County Court at Law No. 2.

He attended the UT School of Law and currently serves as a prosecutor for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

The fundraiser, hosted at the home of local businessman John MacDiarmid was attended by dozens of San Antonio area Republicans including fellow UTSA alumnus and current County Court 4 Judge, Sarah Garrahan.

Surrounded by his family, friends and political supporters, Wolff gave his reasons County Court 2 needs a new judge. Among them is the court’s long docket of unheard cases. According to Wolff, there were over 150 cases dating from 2005 and older. More than all the other county courts combined.

“There’s no reason why somebody should have to wait years for their day in court. It’s inexcusable,” Wolff said.

County Court No. 2 handles Class A and Class B misdemeanors as well as civil matters up to $100,000 in controversy. The current County Court 2 Judge, Paul Canales, has been seated since 1988. During that time, he has heard tens of thousands of cases. Wolff claims that cases sit longer on Canales docket than in any other county court. As a political newcomer, Wolff understands the value of experience, but believes he has enough where it counts.

“I’ve been at the District Attorney’s office now for six years,” Wolff said.

“I’ve tried everything from DWIs to murders. I’ve done about 100 jury trials at my time in the DA’s office. I’ve prosecuted thousands of individuals, so I think I have an understanding of the law.”

Canales has also been accused by Wolff of spending too much time conducting wedding ceremonies, and not enough time hearing cases, thus contributing to the backlog.

Wolff explained, “When I looked closer, he [Canales] conducted over 2400 marriages during working hours in his chambers over the last two years. He put over $50,000 a year in his pocket. As much as I’d like to have a second job while still at my first job, I think all of us would be fired if we tried to pull that.”

Many judges perform ceremonies, but no other elected judge in the county even came close to the 1,307 wedding Canales performed last year. Wolff believes that clerks should have the authority to perform weddings and agrees that the funds collected from those ceremonies should go to charitable causes or to the county’s general fund instead of the judge’s wallet.

In the past, County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff had tried to get the Texas Legislature to pass a measure that would have allowed clerks to do just that, but it failed to get the support it needed to pass.

When asked what he would do to improve the deposition rate and get County Court 2 back on track, Wolff said he would set more cases for trial each day. According to Wolff, only about fivr percent of cases go to trial, by allowing cases to go unheard, witnesses are more difficult to locate and testimonies are not as reliable.

“The first thing is to set more cases, call them yourself, and be there when you’re supposed to be there,” Wolff said. “That’s the best approach in my opinion.”

The Wolff name is not new in the realm of San Antonio politics. Several elected positions in Bexar County are occupied by members of the Wolff family.

The San Antonio Missions home field is even named in honor of Jason’s uncle, Nelson Wolff, who was the Mayor of San Antonio from 1991-1995 and currently serves as the Bexar County Judge.

“I didn’t think this is where my legal career would take me, but I felt there was a need to fill, and I’m proud of my family,” Wolff said.

Early voting will take place Oct. 18-29 on the bottom floor of the UC III (1604 campus).

More to Discover