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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 Week of May 13_2015

BEING A CYCLE BREAKER My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and all of my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get back to realizing the ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of May 6, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER – ‘John Gadd / Hot Cards’ My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and all of my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of April 29, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER – ‘Nathan Lancry’ My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and all of my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get back to ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of April 22, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER – ‘Danita Harris’ My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and all of my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get back to ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of April 15, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER – Rashon and Tina Fuller My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and all of my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson week of April 8, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER – ‘Bishop Joey Johnson’ My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get back to realizing ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of April 1, 2015

A CYCLE BREAKER - Senator Nina Turner My mission as Judge of the East Cleveland Municipal Court is to use this platform to serve as a "Cycle Breaker." That means I will use every opportunity and my energy to help people learn from their mistakes and get back to realizing ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of March 25, 2015

The DNA of failure - ‘The Environment’ In order to have a productive conversation about the state of failure we must first establish a working definition for the purposes of this discussion. In the last article we established that committing crimes constitutes failure. These failures could be life long or ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of March 18_2015

The DNA of failure: ‘Selfishness’ In order to have a productive conversation about the state of failure we must first establish a working definition for the purposes of this discussion. There are many ways to define and interpret failure but my perspective is from the act of committing crimes. A ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of January 28, 2015

Black in America “When we don’t have respect for ourselves, how do we expect them to respect us? It starts from within.” This is a quote from a famous west coast rapper in relationship to the escalated incidents of police officers using excessive force against citizens in America. I know ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of December 17, 2014

Talk is cheap but it can be expensive Dialog is important to effect any major movement or change in this country. The violence against citizens by police is an issue that should be discussed. The facts are startling. It seems as if we have reverted back to the pre-Jim Crow ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of December 10, 2014

The Mindset of Safety Every major change and every major accomplishment starts with a particular mindset. Generally speaking, there are two types of mindsets. One is the positive mindset and the other is a negative mindset. Whether your mindset is positive or negative, it will be reflected in the work ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of November 5, 2014

Domestic violence awareness month is an opportunity to shine the light on an offense that darkens our society. The offense of domestic violence is the undercover terrorist that too many people live with everyday. This month, I will discuss this issue from the unique perspective as a judge but, more ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of October 29, 2014

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is not popularized like some of the other movements for advancement and change. In fact, I've mentioned before that, many of the hard-core supporters of civil rights, advancement and justice are secretly victims of domestic violence, the perpetrators or people who look the other way. I ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of October 15, 2014

We have to get tired of the abuse! Domestic violence awareness is not as popular as other awareness movements simply because either you've never be subjected to the horror of domestic violence, or you are in this situation and you are choosing to deny the occurrence of domestic violence in ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of October 8, 2014

Domestic violence awareness month is an opportunity to shine the light on an offense that darkens our society. The offense of domestic violence is the undercover terrorist that too many people live with every day. This month I will discuss this issue from the unique perspective as a judge, but ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of October 1, 2014

Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle Number Twelve is to “pay it forward.” After outlining, learning and applying the eleven leadership principles I’ve described, you are now on track to live your best life. Your best life includes being able to drive down the street without fear of being pulled over without ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of September 17, 2014

Leadership Principle number eleven is to “Live Masterpiece Days.” The concept of masterpiece days is, one, the commitment to live your life with appreciation for the opportunities that are right in front of you right now, and two, using all of your might and ability to make this day the ...

Real talk with Judge Dawson week of September 10, 2014

Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle number ten is “Finish First.” In other words, “begin with the end in mind.” Finishing first is a key concept to everything I teach as a Judge. I’ve been teaching this principle for more than ten years and it has helped thousands of people positively change ...

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of September 3, 2014

Cycle Breaker Leadership Principle number nine is “Getting in Position.” The concept of getting in position is you recognizing and connecting to the people, places and things that will help you achieve the success you seek. A major barrier to accomplishment and achieving goals is not being in the position ...

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