Standing Up

I’m Monique Diaz, and I’m the Democratic nominee for Judge of the 150th District Court. San Antonio is my home: it’s where I was born and raised, where I went to school, and where I started my general law practice. I have been a city attorney, city prosecutor, defense attorney, and plaintiff’s attorney – but I’ve dedicated the majority of my practice to helping low-income families, people in need, and small businesses. I have provided pro bono services to many good, hardworking people who were facing serious challenges in their lives, and I’ve done that because I’ve faced serious challenges too.

When I was 25, I was charged with interfering with the duties of a public servant and resisting arrest. I was never convicted of a crime, and both charges were ultimately dismissed. Last year, when I was making the decision to run for office, I knew these charges would be part of the campaign - and rightly so. The public has every right to know about the people asking for our vote.

So let me tell you the truth about what happened. In 2010, I was the passenger in a car with my then-husband. As we were driving home, we were involved in a minor accident in San Antonio -- we hit a curb. No one else was involved and no one was injured. Still, the car was damaged enough that it wasn’t safe to drive, so we called a tow truck, whose driver was required to report the accident.

SAPD Officer David Luther answered the call. When he arrived, he began asking routine questions, and my husband and I were both cooperative in every way. We were both honest that I had been drinking and my husband had not. This was not enough. The officer threatened to arrest us both if we did not agree with his inaccurate account of the situation: that I was driving the vehicle while intoxicated, and my sober husband was covering it up.

At this moment, I believed our constitutional rights were under attack.

I approached my husband while he was being questioned, and I reminded him of his right to remain silent. Immediately, the officer placed me under arrest for interfering with the duties of a public servant. I tensed up as he placed me in handcuffs, and at this point, I said a number of things to him that I am not proud of. I was young, in shock, and I believed he was abusing his position of power.    

Let me be clear: I have the utmost respect for the men and women who police our streets honorably, and I value the sacrifices that they make for us. If I could go back to that moment, I would still stand up for our rights, but I would do it without insulting Officer Luther – and for that mistake, I apologize. While I regret my choice of words that evening, I want you to know that I will never back down when our rights are being threatened, whether I’m on the side of a dark highway or in the broad daylight of a courtroom.

As a city attorney and prosecutor, a defense attorney, and yes, as a defendant, I’ve experienced every side of the justice system. I understand that for it to function at its best, our judges must be empathetic, hardworking, and honest. I strongly believe this experience has made me a better person, community advocate, and lawyer -- and I know that with your support, it will also make me a better judge.

The court I am running for is a civil district court that serves all of Bexar County. Eighty to ninety percent of the people who come through this court are dealing with divorces, custody, child support, and CPS cases. These are families at their most vulnerable, often dealing with cross-sectional issues of addiction, abuse, generational poverty, and mental health - issues that are at the heart of my campaign. Our families deserve a judge who understands what it means to overcome adversity. Over the course of this campaign, I’ll work hard to earn your vote and to show you I’m the right woman for the job.

Monique Diaz started her own practice representing low-income families, victims of domestic violence, small businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities as a City Attorney and City Prosecutor. She has written codes of ethics and investigated ethics complaints against elected officials, and has been recognized for her commitments to providing pro bono services.

Monique Diaz