Jacqueline Phillips Ott

A Guadalupe County prosecutor announced her bid for the Republican nomination for the position of 25th Judicial District Judge.

Jacqueline Phillips Ott, who has served in various capacities in both the prosecutor’s office and in private legal practice, said her decision to run was one she has thought about for quite a while.

“This is something I’ve always wanted, to run for this office. It was just deciding what time was appropriate,” she said. “District judges have the sacred responsibility to protect the public safety and to protect the public’s trust. I have spent the majority of my professional legal career protecting the public safety as a criminal and civil prosecutor. I believe deeply that our district judges must act with the highest degree of ethics and integrity and not act with partiality, favoritism, or misuse their high office by holding grudges or settling political scores.”

Ott has spent may years inside a courtroom either practicing law or learning.

“My dad was a district judge for 16 years, several other family members and close family friends were district judges, including one family friend who served for 24 years,” she said. “I have worked in the court system and with the campaigning for more than 20 years. I am very familiar with how courts work, how courts should be run and how they work in a variety of different ways, including specialty courts.”

Currently, Ott serves as an assistant district attorney for Guadalupe County, where she has served for the past five years. Prior to that, she led the Child Protective Services Division for Comal County as an assistant district attorney. Ott also serves as a special prosecutor for Gonzales County.

“Through my personal experience as a prosecutor and in private practice before I was a prosecutor, I’ve done every job that tries any type of case in my office,” she said. “I was in civil practice in Houston prior to moving out to this area. I think that is such an important job. It requires fairness to everyone, following the law, and making sure that by following the law you’re keeping the public and the community safe.”

Throughout her time as a prosecutor, Ott has handled cases in felony and misdemeanor courts, served on a drug and gang task force, was a member of a family violence unit and did a stint on a Civil CPS unit.

“I think through that specific knowledge, we’re going to be able to accomplish a very pristine process in the court,” she said. “I want to be able to accomplish a court that is going to strictly follow the law and stay informed about what the law is, a court that is going to be fair, yet equitable to everyone, which is the number one thing.”

With a rapidly growing county, Ott said she feels her experience in practicing in numerous areas of the law makes her uniquely qualified.

“I think Guadalupe County is a really special place and people are coming here from all over,” she said. “I think I have what it takes to meet the needs of a growing place and understand the people are coming with different agendas, different backgrounds to this place. We’re going to need judiciary and elected officials that are able to understand and accommodate and meet those needs, and be able to handle the court accordingly, moving at a pace that will be able to keep our judicial system on time and on track.”

Outside of the courtroom, Ott is a member of the Texas Bar Fellows Association, Texas District and County Attorney’s Association, a board member for Child Abuse Cases and Prosecution, member of the Seguin area Chamber of Commerce and the Young Professionals Association, as well as a graduate of Leadership Seguin, a board member for the Comal County Child Welfare board and member of the Comal County Aggie Alumni Club.

“Guadalupe County is very important to myself and my family and I want the opportunity to serve the place where my family lives,” she said.

Ott earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration in marketing with a minor in psychology and an International Business Certification from Texas A&M. She later received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.

Ott is also a member of the Guadalupe County Republican Women.

“I am a strong conservative and have been a Republican since I can remember,” Ott said. “I believe that judges should never attempt to legislate from the bench and, rather, should enthusiastically honor and abide by the constitutions of our great state and nation in all of their judicial rulings. I want to be a servant leader who always puts the rule of law first and foremost in all of my decisions and who will carry the values of the hardworking people of the 25th Judicial District with me each and every day that I sit on the bench.”

Ott is married to Christopher Ott, whose family has deep roots in the area.

Felicia Frazar is the managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail her at felicia.frazar@seguingazette.com .

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(1) comment

Shepard

Having met with Mrs. Ott once, I did find her professional and articulate. She was able to work through my pre-trial case (traffic) quickly and showed a firm grasp of the law.

Unfortunately I believe, as with most prosecutors, her application of prosecutorial discretion was skewed and not thought through based on evidence presented.

I believe this shows there is one specific aspect of her career that should eliminate her from running for a judgeship; no explicit notation as a defense attorney. While remarking at length about her Republican affiliations (I consider myself a Republican) and her family ties to the law, to be a good judge you need to understand both tables. Mrs. Ott, as a prosecutor for Guadalupe County, has made a number of decisions in reviewing cases pre-trial that would have been different if reviewed by someone with a couple of years of defense attorney experience. I also feel that, as with the vast majority of prosecutors, they’ll move off a strict interpretation of a law when an attorney is present, but not for an individual representing themself; Mrs. Ott seemed, in my opinion, to be one of those.

Though age is no replacement for experience and Mrs. Ott is obviously on the path for a judgeship, I believe that she should wait a couple of years and broaden her resume with the requisite time on ‘the other side’ before the electorate agrees to place her in such a key community role.

Mrs. Ott, I look forward with great interest for your reapplication in 2021.

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