Judge-elect anticipates serviceLow adds interests of driving exotic cars, pistol shooting and managing a…

first_img Judge-elect anticipates serviceLow adds interests of driving exotic cars, pistol shooting and managing a Nashville star Twitter By Digital AIM Web Support – December 27, 2020 Twitter TAGS  Justin Low had wanted to be an attorney for most of his life, but the idea of becoming a judge was on the backburner at best until Judge John W. Smith came to him a year and a half ago and asked if he would be interested. Smith said he’d retire after this year and Low wrestled with the prospect for about a week until finally deciding he would file for the office. “I thought, why step away from the game and be an umpire when you can still throw a fastball?” he said. “I can throw a fastball better now than I ever could and it bothered me that I wouldn’t be out there arguing and defending cases anymore. “The second thing was the pay cut. I’ll be making considerably less as a judge.” But Low said the appeal of going home at night with no worries and the chance to carry out his ideal of the way a court should be managed ultimately won him over. He ran unopposed as a Republican and will take office Jan. 1. As judge of the 161st District Court, Low will make $153,200 a year with $140,000 paid by the state and $13,200 by Ector County. Born at Edinburg in the Rio Grande Valley, he came to Odessa at age 6 with his family and graduated from Permian High School in 1985, earned a bachelor’s in political science at UTPB and graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. Low’s wife’s name is Esther. He has a daughter, two sisters and a brother. His father Ronald was a welder and his mother Joan an insurance agency owner. He is 53. Low’s relationship with Smith is virtually lifelong. “When I was 7 or 8 years old, my best friend Lance Glover was always talking about his uncle John Smith the attorney and I started watching TV shows about attorneys and told my mom, ‘I’m going to be an attorney!’” he said. “It’s a strange coincidence. I would like to emulate Judge Smith in many ways. He was always empathetic when he needed to be and stern he needed to be. He treated everyone fairly and professionally and handled the courtroom well. I always enjoyed his courtroom and looked forward to trying cases with him. “I want to be known as a judge who is fair and impartial and knows the rules of evidence and enforces them evenhandedly and properly. I will get things done and move cases.” Both Low and Smith have the middle name of “Wayne.” Though having spent most of his career in criminal defense work, Low said he will be neither a “defense judge” nor a “prosecution judge.” “I’ve learned that some people may just be bad and some may be good people who got into a bad situation,” he said. “If the good people are handled correctly with probation or deferred adjudication, they may never come back into the criminal justice system. But if they end up in prison, they’ll continue that lifestyle and be in and out of prison from now on. “The bad people probably need to be locked up for a long time because they would hurt other people. I’ll be just as harsh as, or more harsh than a prosecution judge when a bad person does a bad thing. I won’t be a lenient defense judge. I may be the opposite. If a harsh sentence is called for, it’s going to be there.” Another jurist whom Low admires is 70th Judicial District Judge Denn Whalen. “I’ve known Judge Whalen since he was an attorney,” the judge-elect said. “Watching the way he developed and handled his courtroom also made me want to become a judge.” Low has played guitar since he was young, carrying his love of music into writing songs and managing the career of Nashville-based singer-songwriter James Dupre, who came to national attention as a contestant on the TV series “The Voice.” He has three exotic cars, a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302, a 2013 version of the same car and a McLaren 12C Spider. And he enjoys target shooting with his collection of 35 Colt Model 1911 .45-caliber semi-automatic pistols from the early 20th Century originals to the customized modern types. “I love to play guitar and write songs,” Low said. “I write with James and on my own and we co-wrote a song, ‘Miss a Moment,’ on his new album. “I grew up listening to country music with Dad. I’ve always liked it because it describes life, mostly the sad part. Hearing these artists like James is just great. I can’t sing like that, but I certainly like to write the song.” Low said his mom’s influence and encouragement have been key factors in his success. “One of the main reasons I made it here is my mother,” he said. “She was always super supportive.” Mary Travis of Tioga, 60 miles north of Dallas, said Low is so lively “that somebody put a gallon of life in a pint jar with him. “Justin loves to be around people,” said Travis, wife of retired country music star Randy Travis. “He is going to be a great judge because he will be fair. He has been in Odessa all his life and is very partial to West Texas and its people.” Having known Low for 13 years, Travis said, “He scares us because he is so smart. “We’re fascinated with him because he knows the law like he does. How could anybody have all that in his head?” Travis said Low “is very much an American who loves right over wrong and good over evil. “Before Justin makes a decision, he will demand clarity,” she said. “There’ll be no rush jobs because he always wants to see all the details.” Travis and Dupre sang at the Lows’ wedding on June 24, 2017, at The Willows. Steve Womack, Low’s personal trainer, has known him since they were youngsters living in the same neighborhood. “I had a Mongoose bike and Justin had a racing bike and had won championship trophies,” Womack said. “He was a little older than me and he taught me bicycle tricks. He’s always been a reliable friend who gave good advice and support. He thinks about wellness, prevention and his future, taking care of himself.” Womack said he and Low and other friends enjoy target shooting together. “He will be an awesome judge,” he said. “We’re talking about programs to benefit the youth and prevent them from doing things that would head them down the wrong path. “He is a great guy who is living the American dream.” Previous articleLETTER TO THE EDITOR: Constant complaints get oldNext articleSTONE: New Year, new you! Digital AIM Web Support Pinterestcenter_img Pinterest Facebook Local News Facebook WhatsApp WhatsApplast_img

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