2022 Locals Love Us Favorite Legal: Llano County Justice of the Peace Debra Edwards
Llano County Justice of the Peace Debra “Deb” Edwards’ approach to her job best explains why she is a 2022 Locals Love Us winner. Edwards won in the Favorite Legal category as voted on by The Picayune Magazine readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners.
“When people come in (to the court), they’re angry and upset,” said Edwards, who is the Precinct 3 justice of the peace. “We need to calm people down to find out exactly how we can help.”
Edwards deals daily with people who don't understand why they’re being sued, whether or not they need an attorney, or what their next legal step should be.
“We are not attorneys. We can’t give legal advice,” she said about her job as a justice of the peace. “We can help them with procedures.”
As an example, she referred to someone who wants to file a small claims case. The 86th Texas Legislature raised the limit for small claims to $20,000 from $10,000 effective Sept. 1, 2020. The change greatly increased the amount of work that comes into a JP’s office. Before the new law, any amount over $10,000 had to be handled in county or district courts.
“They don’t have to have an attorney,” Edwards said. “We’re here to help on both sides. We say, ‘This is your court costs. This is your filing fee.’ Then, everybody comes in for a set court date. This is why we have a justice system, so people can represent themselves.”
Edwards was appointed to the justice of the peace job on Jan. 29, 2020, when Era Lea Marion retired during her term. She was serving as a justice court clerk at the time.She was elected to the position in November 2020. Combined, Edwards has been serving Llano County for 10 years.
“I can honestly say it has its moments,” she said with a grin. “I like being able to help people.”
That also includes volunteering with Meals on Wheels, the Salvation Army, and other nonprofits, which further shows why locals love her.
“I had no clue I was going to win,” she said. “I’ve only been in office since 2020. I’m very humbled.”
Edwards said she and her staff aim to treat people the way they want to be treated: with respect and without condemnation. They also strive to listen without jumping to conclusions, she added.
“There are two sides to every story,” she said. “I think (the reason I won) is because I’m fair. I’m so humbled the citizens voted for me. I thank them so, so much.”
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