Dimple Malhotra

Judge | Travis County, TX

Dimple MalhotraTell us about your background. What are the experiences, including education, that make up the person you currently are?

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. I spent over twenty years working in the field of domestic violence. I worked as an advocate at a shelter, a staff attorney at a domestic violence agency, a family violence prosecutor, and the head of our county’s protective order division.

What was your trigger moment and why this specific office?

I am currently the judge of the specialty domestic violence court in Travis County. My predecessor retired before the end of his term, and I was appointed to fill the vacancy. After being appointed, I ran in the next election to keep my seat. My passion has always been domestic violence work, and my life’s work led me to where I am today.

What made you feel qualified to run for office?

I strongly believed that the judge of this court had to have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence. The bulk of this job is risk assessment, and I knew that experience with this issue was critical to making those life or death decisions. Having devoted twenty years of my career to this field made me believe I was the most qualified candidate.

Do you work full-time or part-time?


Most people don’t know what their elected official does on a daily basis. What’s a typical day looking like for you?

I am in court most days, and I have pretty full dockets. This court handles misdemeanor family violence cases as well as applications for protective orders. We have hearings and trials on a regular basis.

Additionally, they might not know what their elected official is responsible for. What is your role in comparison to other elected offices on your level?

I preside over this specialty criminal court. This court almost exclusively hears criminal cases involving domestic violence or intimate partner violence.

What do you think people would be surprised to know someone in your position does?

People might be surprised to know that judges try to be accessible beyond the normal 9-5 work schedule. Many times we get requests to sign warrants or respond to defense requests to lower bail or grant a personal bond. I have responded to emails on weekends and evenings.

What are 3-5 skills needed to be successful in the elected office you served in/are currently serving in?

1. Litigation experience 2. Domestic violence experience 3. Ability to be fair and impartial

What’s the best part about serving in elected office?

The best part is feeling as though your decisions can truly have a positive and transformative impact on someone’s life.

What has been the accomplishment you’re most proud of while in office?

Campaigning for me was very challenging. I am not a political person, and I thought that might put me at a disadvantage. I truly believe informed voters appreciated my sincerity and passion for this type of work.

In terms of finances, how much money did you have to raise for your campaign?

We raised approximately $75K.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who’s thinking about running for the position you serve/have served in their community?

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible. I am not a political person at all, and I am not “well connected”, but I had the passion and the experience to back it up. Now, I am the first elected judge of South Asian descent in my county’s history! It can be done.