As Travis County’s District Attorney, José Garza has led the effort to rebuild trust in our criminal justice system. He settled the lawsuit bought by survivors of sexual assault against the previous administration, led the DA’s Office in a multi-faceted plan for gun violence prevention, and expunged the records of over one thousand Travis County residents arrested, but never convicted.
A hallmark of José’s leadership style has been community partnerships, bringing in advocates and survivors of sexual assault to develop a host of reforms that have a led to doubling the conviction rate for family violence crimes, partnering with the City of Austin and Travis County to develop a firearm surrender protocol, and working with community groups to increase services for mental health and substance use treatment.
An advocate of transparency and data-driven policies, José has taken a hard line against violent actors, while recognizing that an incarceration-only approach promotes neither safety nor justice. Often a political target of the far right, José has shown through actions what we can accomplish when we partner with the community and recognize and defend the dignity and rights of all.
José is a graduate of the Catholic University School of Law. His breadth of experience ranges from clerking for a federal district judge, serving as a public defender for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, working as counsel for a top congressional committee and the National Labor Relations Board, as well as a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Labor, and Executive Director for the Workers Defense Project.