The Foundation for the Improvement of Justice honors Denton with the national Paul H. Chapman Award in Atlanta
Austin, Texas – September 28, 2015 – The Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) today joined the Foundation for Improvement of Justice, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia in saluting Travis County District Court Judge Mike Denton. He received a top national award for protecting victims of domestic violence Saturday night. TCFV nominated Judge Denton for this award.
The foundation has selected Denton as the Paul H. Chapman Award Winner for his work advocating and overseeing the first Travis County Domestic Violence Court. He has been the sole judge to preside over that court since its establishment in 1999. Initially, the court handled civil protective order hearings and criminal misdemeanor cases, but added felony criminal cases five years ago. He has been recognized by local, state, and national levels and shares his expertise and knowledge through conferences to judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, state legislators, advocates and survivors.
“Judge Mike Denton of Austin, is an extraordinary public servant,” said Gloria A. Terry, TCFV’s CEO. “The impact he has had on the judicial system and on social justice is undeniable. The ripple effect of his leadership and commitment are long reaching – across the state and across the nation. Domestic violence rips at the fabric of our society. The work and leadership of this nominee repairs and strengthens the core of our justice system.”
Judge Denton’s court has oversight of civil protective order hearings, criminal misdemeanor and five years ago added criminal felony case – the first in the nation. He has a long and dedicated career protecting victims of domestic violence starting in the 1990’s when it was virtually unheard of, he volunteered at a rape crisis center and answered the hotline. Also, serving the community as a prosecutor, he Co-Chaired the local Domestic Violence Task Force.
The Task Force identified that domestic violence cases were not prioritized and nor were they being handled judiciously. To raise the consciousness of the County Commissioners, he made repeated reports at every opportunity citing community statistics that were difficult to ignore. After his repeatedly advocacy he got their attention. Commissioner’s Court agreed to a Domestic Violence Court. Again with sheer determination, this prosecutor went to every county level judge imploring that they take all the domestic violence cases and serve as the Domestic Violence Court – none agreed to take that kind of docket. Refusing to be deterred, this nominee ran for office to establish this specialized court, only a handful existed in the entire nation.