Local defense attorney and Bullard City Council member Brent Ratekin hopes his experiences makes him stand out as a candidate for the
Republican nomination for the Smith County County Court At Law judge position.
“I think justice without any type of compassion is not proper. You need a proper combination,” the candidate said.
The 46-year-old Ratekin served in the U.S. Air Force and was a peace officer and a district attorney investigator before he attended law school at Texas Tech University.
He has served on the Smith County Bar Association Board and National Rifle Association among various associations.
He and his wife of 22 years, Karen, have lived in Tyler with their three children since he moved to area to go to work for the Smith County district attorney’s office, where he prosecuted misdemeanors and felonies including murder cases.
“I am the only one of the candidates who is capital murder trial qualified,” he said.
Ratekin said he has logged 1,627 criminal cases and 350 family law cases, which he said gives him more experience than the other candidates in the race.
Ratekin said arraignment dates should not be set at four months but a shorter period of time. Also, there should be scheduling orders to set trials with dates to move through the system more efficiently, and he believes there should be more jail calls where deals are struck.
When it comes to financial accountability, he believes his experience on the Bullard City Council gives him an edge on dealing with the court’s budget.
“In my opinion a judge has to be fiscally responsible to the citizens of Smith County as well. There is no reason a judge should go over budget, and that is why the budget is there. I honestly don’t see that happening in the county court at law,” he said.
Ratekin said the docket in the county court at law does need to speed up, but he believes the attorney general cases that are currently in the 321st District Court need to be back in county court at law.
“If we need to have two trials a week, then that’s what we’re going to do until we can get the docket under control. If we can squeeze in more cases then that’s we’re going to do to get this docket under control. The most important thing for me is that cases are not stagnated, victims are made whole and we are moving these cases so that defendants are not sitting in the Smith County Jail on taxpayer dollars unnecessarily,” he said.
For more on Ratekin check his website at elect