Most of society recognizes rape as the heinous crime that it is, which is why the elected officials in our executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government work so hard to ensure that adequate justice is meted out. At least, most elected officials do. But not Dallas Judge Jeanine Howard.
Sir Young, then 18 years old, pled guilty to raping his 14-year-old classmate at Booker T. Washington High School in 2011. Young faced up to 20 years in jail, but thanks to the decision of Howard, judge of Dallas County Criminal District Court #6, only received five years of probation and 45 days in jail.
Howard imposed no restrictions on Young’s proximity to children, no requirements to attend sex offender treatment, and no mandates to undergo sex offender evaluation or to refrain from watching pornography.
What was Howard’s reasoning? Young is “not your typical sex offender,” the judge claimed. His 14-year-old victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” Howard said. Howard then publicly announced that, according to medical records, the victim was purportedly sexually promiscuous.
The girl ardently denies that. Due to these public attacks on her image, the victim now regrets coming forward about the crime. “I was shocked that a judge, someone that I trusted with this case, would go behind my back and make these allegations that she knows nothing about,” she said. “I did what I was supposed to do. I went to the law about this situation. That [the sentence] says everything I went through was for nothing.”
Although she later recused herself from another case involving Young, Judge Howard claims to
stand by her decision. Part of that decision, however—a requirement that Young serve 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center—became invalid after the center said that he was not welcome there. “It’s just not appropriate,” Bobbie Villareal of the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center said. “Just having a criminal defendant in the office could be a triggering effect for many of our clients.”
But Jeanine Howard’s time in the public eye was not over yet. On March 2, 2018, a woman named Keisha Pope Nixon filed a lawsuit against Howard and her campaign manager.
Nixon, whose husband’s domestic abuse case had been handled by Judge Howard two years earlier, claims that Howard outed her as a victim of domestic abuse during a campaign event when Howard was running for re-election. Nixon appeared at a press conference shortly thereafter to call for Howard’s resignation; however, Howard did not resign and her campaign manager accused Nixon of being a security threat.