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Real Talk with Judge Dawson


“Hello, my Name is Judge William L. Dawson and I’m a man from East Cleveland who has endured life’s temptations, its’ ups and downs and its’ tragedies.” That’s normally the introduction for those involved in treatment programs across this country. I submit that we all, at one time or another, need treatment. Whether we are dealing with a life changing event, or the ripple effect of someone else’s actions, we all can use some words of wisdom every now and then. This column, “Real Talk with Judge Dawson,” will be a treatment and empowerment tool. After more than 11 years as a criminal defense attorney, and now as a Judge, my mission is to use every ounce of my body to help people be the best that they can be. With that in mind, in the year 2013, staying out of jail has become a science. It truly takes knowledge and action to avoid the untimely event of an arrest. So as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court, I have created programs and procedures that will aid in the ability to avoid negative interaction with the legal system. The Science of Staying Out of Jail: 1. Do The Right Thing - The easiest way to stay out of jail is this, “Don’t break the law.” Sounds simple, but as we all know, it’s easier said than done. From driving charges to relationship charges, staying out of the legal system is getting harder, but if you aim to do the right thing you’ll be on the right track. 2. Finish First – “Finish First” is my favorite theory. In fact, you’ll be hearing a lot about “Finish First” in future columns. The bottom line is that you must “Begin with the End in Mind!” That means, think about the future outcome or result of your actions before you begin. 3. Know Who Holds The Ball – In every sport, the person holding the ball is the person in control. The other team is forced to play defense or try to take the ball. In the science of jail avoidance, the same holds true. The people with the ball are in control. So who’s holding the ball? The police officers (who have the power to charge and arrest you), the prosecutor (who prosecutes you for the offense) and the judge (who can put you in jail). It doesn’t matter how much you want to control your legal situations, you don’t. Understanding that you don’t control the ball will keep you from unnecessary negative results. 4. Comply, comply, comply - When an officer or the Court tells you to do something, it is always in your best interest to do it. Now, of course we all have rights, but the key is to know when to assert those rights or, in other words, when to fight the “I have rights” battle. When an officer or the Court tells you to do something, just do it and fight it later.

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Real Talk with Judge Dawson

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