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About Lela

I am Judge Lela Lawrence Mays and I'm the presiding Judge of the 283rd Judicial District Court.   The 283rd has jurisdiction in Dallas County over all felony level criminal cases.

In over twenty years on the bench, I have worked to strike a balance between the needs of our citizens and non-violent offenders. Public safety is always my principal concern, but I also believe that rehabilitation is possible in some instances. 

My values were demonstrated in 2006, when I established the Successful Treatment of Addiction Through Collaboration (S.T.A.C.) Court, providing judicial oversight and directional guidance for over 250 felony probationers in a post-adjudication, drug-treatment court that reduces recidivism and saves hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. I continue to preside over the S.T.A.C. Court today. I began my work in specialty courts in DIVERT court in 2002 and established and presided over the I.I.P. Court, Intensive Intervention Program from 2007-2009.

I have demonstrated a commitment of being strong and fair to everyone that comes into my court. As a strong proponent regarding the challenges that homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues present, I am dedicated to advocating for families and individuals to help remove the stigma and barriers to recovery.

We all want and deserve to live in safety. As the single mother of two young men, I am fully cognizant of the perils that exist in our community, but always optimistic about what our collective futures hold. I am firmly committed to a strong bench and providing justice to all while protecting our citizens from lawbreakers.

I have been a member of St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church for over 30 years.  I am proud of the "Corrections Ministry" that we established in 2015 to work with individuals that have had any contact with the criminal justice system where we assist to identify resources and guide those individuals to get back on their feet.  Then, in 2020 we partnered with Legal Aid of Northwest Texas and began ID Impact Texas, which assists all individuals, in clearing up tickets and getting their ID and driver's license free from barriers and suspensions.

There is much work ahead of us. The 283rd Judicial District Court will continue to have someone leading it with experience, demonstrated leadership, dedication and a thorough knowledge of Dallas County, its laws, its courts and its culture. Your endorsement and vote for me will allow Dallas County to continue to have someone who has that and more. 

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Derryle Peace, Treasurer
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