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Justice | Integrity | Fairness
Vote March 3rd, 2020
Early Voting Feb 18-28, 2020
Justice | Integrity | Fairness
Born and Raised in El Paso, Texas
Graduate of The University of Texas School of Law
A Person of Faith with Integrity, Moral Conviction and Courage
Excellence and Effectiveness in the Courtroom
Passion for Justice and Service
Karen was born and raised in her beloved home town, El Paso, Texas. She has two older brothers which toughened her up. She was a tomboy and was not intimidated to face the boys, playing football or basketball at lunch with the guys at Tierra Del Sol Elementary School. Her parents founded Destiny Family Christian Center in their home with just the immediate family. Over the years, the church has touched tens of thousands in this community, providing inspiration, literally tons of food and support. Karen has a passion for God and has been serving in the ministry from a very young age. Her parents instilled in her a sense of purpose in serving others. Her work in the church has instilled in her compassion and love for people, as well as a sense of altruism and a desire to make the world a better place. Her brother, Doctor Keith Johnson manifested those lessons by becoming one of the nation's top orthopedic surgeons from right here in El Paso.
During her graduation from Hanks High School in 1997, she was awarded the prestigious Ex Caliber Award, given to only ten outstanding seniors. Karen earned a full academic scholarship to Hampton University where she graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. While she loved Hampton, and was accepted to the University of Chicago and UC Berkley Schools of Law, Karen wanted to come closer to home and went to The University of Texas School of Law where she was awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 2004. Since then, she has been licensed to practice law in Texas and California, passing both bar exams on the first try. Further, she has taken on a myriad of challenges as an Assistant District Attorney, working as an associate at a leading regional firm, and drafting and reviewing entertainment contracts for famous people in Los Angeles. Everywhere Karen has practiced law, she has excelled and earned an excellent reputation.
Currently, Karen is a staff attorney at the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), representing men and women in the El Paso Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff's Department who are members of the Union. She also takes selective criminal cases on the side to offer help to those in need. The name Karen means "pure." Like her name, Karen is honest and authentic. She is a person of deeply held convictions. However, her charisma and care for others allows her to work well with people in any setting. Karen is married to Antoine Dykes, a former Marine and a distinguished Captain, Armor Officer in the United States Army who recently earned his Ranger tab. He has deployed three times and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, and conducted humanitarian assistance in Haiti. She loves their beautiful seven year old daughter who lives in New York with her mother.
Karen is running for District Attorney of the 34th Judicial District, not for the title or the prestige. Her heart is to serve this community and help to make it even better! Once number one, El Paso has fallen to the second or third safest city, depending on the poll. As District Attorney, Karen wants to provide law enforcement the tools and resources to Make El Paso Number One Again! Karen is well-spoken, conscientious, intelligent and a quick study. When elected, Karen will commit to running the Office with the pursuit of justice and public safety as her first priority and integrity and fairness as her hallmarks. You may not know her yet, but once you meet, she will make an indelible positive impression. Karen looks forward to listening to your concerns and earning your vote. She has already garnered significant support. If you've seen her work, you know that she is a great lawyer. If you come to know her, you know that there is no better candidate for District Attorney of the 34th Judicial District.
JUSTICE |INTEGRITY | FAIRNESS
JUSTICE is literally defined as, "a concept of fairness and moral rightness." As District Attorney, I promise to always do what is fair and what is right. We live in one of the greatest communities in the entire world. We have enjoyed safety and security thanks in part to our law enforcement officials and prosecutors who work together to keep us safe. I want to work hard in service to our community and continue the legacy of El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson Counties as some of the best places to raise your children! Recently, El Paso has fallen from the Number One Safest City to Number Two or Three, depending on the source. I want to cooperate with our law enforcement officials (while maintaining independence) and give them the resources to make El Paso Number One Again!
One of the things that has always been very important to me is honesty. Character is actually being a person of morality and conviction, not just working hard so others perceive you that way. I want you to know that you can trust me. What you see is not just a filter for social media. I am honest and reliable.
However, this isn't just about me. The District Attorney's Office could not operate without all of the attorneys and staff working hard in service to our great community. I will lead by example and hold the entire office to the highest ethical standards. That way you know that you can trust us to do the right thing even when it is not convenient.
Exculpatory evidence is evidence favorable to the defendant. By law such evidence must always be turned over to the defense. Because the power to restrain the life and liberty of citizens is in the hands of prosecutors, they must NEVER place winning a conviction above integrity and a commitment to follow the law.
We have all seen something in the news that makes us feel as though the justice system works for people who have money and powerful friends and against those who do not. It's important for our system of justice to be fair and impartial, not showing discrimination or favoritism. I promise to be fair, just, and to do my best to ensure that our system works for all of us.
Conviction Integrity Unit
It is imperative that our community can count on the prosecutorial process being trustworthy. To that end, I will establish a Conviction Integrity Unit. As Curtis Cox wrote in the El Paso Times, "many prosecutorial offices are establishing Conviction Integrity Units to proactively ensure that people are not wrongfully convicted." It is the right thing to do!
As district attorney, I would partner with the Innocence Project to review any claims of wrongful conviction.
August 3, 2019, hatred, racism, white-supremacist ideologies, and immigrant scapegoating emboldened a monster to drive to El Paso from Allen, Texas in order to terrorize our community and to kill Latino people because of the color of their skin. We must obtain justice for every victim of this mass shooting and our community at large. That means seeking the death penalty against the coward gunman. And, it means fighting to ensure El Pasoans to get justice before any coinciding federal charges are tried.
Expunction (Clemency and Pardon) Unit
Have you ever known someone who was a good person with valuable skills, but he or she had a past criminal record that prevented them from being successful? In some cases, the law allows for cases to be erased from your record or expunged. The Expunction Unit would create a process wherein qualifying individuals could request an expunction through the District Attorney's Office.
Additionally, the Expunction Unit will create a process for reviewing and supporting clemency and pardon requests, as well as other relief for long sentences that raise concerns about proportionality and fairness, or that are being served by individuals who are elderly, ill, and no longer pose a danger to the community.
Misdemeanor Marijuana Cases
With the advent of House Bill 1325, hemp is now legal in Texas. Hemp is the same plant that is known as marijuana. However, hemp has less of the element that makes one high. According to the law, the plant is legal if it has .3% THC. It is still illegal if there is a greater amount of THC. That means prosecutors now must prove the THC level in order to meet their burden of proof. As such, major counties all across the state are making the logical choice not to prosecute low-level misdemeanor cases because their labs don't have the ability to measure the amount of THC in the plant and third party labs are too costly to justify such an expense.
As District Attorney, I will join the five most populated counties in Texas, Harris, Dallas, Travis, Tarrant, and Bexar in dismissing pending minor marijuana cases and declining to prosecute such cases in the future.
Mental Health Protocol
This is a best-practices ideal that would take the right community partnerships and mental health resources in order to accomplish. The concept is that when people are booked into jail, they are screened for signs and symptoms of mental illness. Those with a diagnosis who need acute care and are charged with misdemeanors or low-level felonies are transferred to a community-based crisis stabilization unit within 48 hours of booking. These individuals are eligible for treatment, support, and housing services. If they complete the treatment, the charges against them may be dismissed or modified.
Assault Family Violence
It is critical that we protect victims of domestic violence. It is equally critical that we do not victimize families in the process. Sometimes, people call the police to help diffuse a heated situation. Rather than getting the help they seek, the family is plunged into the criminal justice system, further exacerbating tensions and causing economic harm. This often leaves the family far worse-off than they were before.
To better meet the victims' needs, we must do away with a one-size-fits-all mentality when dealing with these cases. We must restore professional discretion to peace officers to assess how to best meet the family's needs based on predetermined criteria. I want to work with law enforcement and community partners to come up with a better way to meet the needs of these families beyond just pursuing convictions.
Here's an opportunity to do something that will impact the community.
Help Karen make a difference.
There are many ways to volunteer, from walking door to door to hosting fundraising events.
Let us know how you can help:
BECOME A VOLUNTEER
We can't do it without you! If you believe in what Karen Dykes stands for, help us spread the word about who she is and the importance of voting for her.
Follow Karen Dykes Campaign on Facebook (coming soon) to stay informed.
Your vote matters! Local elections can be won or lost by a few hundred votes. Right now, this race is all about the primary election on March 3, 2020. Early Voting is February 18-28, 2020. You must register to vote by February 3, 2020.
September 23, 2019 @ The El Paso Club | 5:30-7:30
Formal Announcement / Fundraiser
We are so excited for the initial launch of the campaign! This is just the beginning of the process. We plan on working hard to reach as many people as possible with the message of Justice, Integrity and Fairness. We need your help. We invite you to join us on this journey by donating or helping to spread the word.
August 24, 2019
1st Public Announcement of Campaign at NAACP Banquet
This year's annual NAACP Scholarship Banquet at the Centennial is where the first public mention of Karen Dykes' candidacy took place. Karen led the large crowd in singing, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." The announcement was met with a round of applause and people in the audience offering their support.
August 23, 2019
Appointment of Campaign Treasurer
We are honored to announce that the Treasurer of the Karen Dykes Campaign is Angel Gomez, a beloved leader in our community and co-founder of Operation Hope. Angel and his family have dedicated their lives to serving our community in significant ways. His support and appointment as Treasurer is something we are extremely proud of. Angel believes in Karen. We hope you will too!