Names and Faces: Judge Tommy Munoz

"The greatest compliment that I get is that people feel I'm doing a good job and that I've affected people's lives. Hopefully, I'm trying to make a difference in peoples lives," says Judge Munoz.

From this seat and behind this bench, Judge Tommy Munoz has presided over case after case and the decisions he makes everyday while sitting in this chair, they really do impact and affect the lives of those who stand before him.

Those who know Judge Munoz know he's organized, disciplined, motivated and each time he enters into his courtroom he's armed himself with the knowledge he needs to make wise decisions.

With Judge Munoz seeing firsthand the number of truancy cases coming into his court constantly increasing, he decided something needed to be done to prevent this growing problem that would on a long term basis cripple the youth of Brazos County.

"We're looking at adding an electronic monitor probably starting in October or November to keep track of some of these students. That way, we know that they need to be in school not out breaking into homes or being in drug infested areas," says Munoz.

But truancy cases aren't the only types of cases that come through Judge Munoz's court.

"What I do here in my court for a minor in possession of alcohol is have them see a video and that's a requirement I've established here and the video is pretty harsh video and it gives really a sense of people as to what could happen to them."

"It's a situation where there's a group of kids that are drinking. Then they go out , one of them gets in a car and drives and in the middle of the night, the parents get awoke that their sons gotten killed and they take them to the morgue. These are realistic things that could happen and I want to make sure that we get the attention of some of these young folks."

Even though Judge Munoz puts his heart and soul into his job, he's also a realist.

"If I can't get ten or twelve or thirty, as long as I get one," says Munoz.

And doing a good job as a judge, isn't the only place where Tommy wants to be successful.

"I've been happily married for 36 years the 30th of September to my wife, Margaret."

Tommy and Margaret also have two children, Mist and Tommy junior and both have brought the couple a great deal of joy.

Misty was the first woman to graduate from West Point here, she's a 1999 graduate from Bryan High School.

And since Tommy served his country in the Air Force for 21 years, his daughter's military career fills him with pride.

"The day of graduation she presented me a saber and the inscription on there really got to me the day of graduation because it said, to my daddy, Master Sergeant Retired, Tommy Munoz from 2nd Lt. Misty Munoz. And that really, really hit me, when I talk about it sometimes I want to break down."

And being a good example to his own kids and the kids in his court room is a goal Judge Tommy Munoz strives for daily.

And those who work with the judge, they witness firsthand his wisdom, fairness and justice.

"He has his hear in it, wanting to try to help the kids, not just punish them," says his assistant Holly.

"We're merely caretakers of this office. There were judges before us and there will be judges after us. But I made it a priority to leave this office in better shape than I found it and I guess in accomplishing that goal, it is my hope I can leave a legacy that has the word honor somewhere in it."

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