In 2015, Judge Shequitta Kelly was elected Judge of Dallas County Criminal Court #11, a court designated to handle cases involving family violence. Judge Kelly was born and raised in Michigan City, Indiana. In 1996, she attended Indiana University undergrad where she studied and conducted research on the behavioral patterns of Intimate Partner Violence. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice, she went on to earn her law degree at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis in 2003. Judge Kelly subsequently joined the Indiana Allen County Prosecutors office where she served as the Felony Domestic Violence Intake Prosecutor for over six years and prosecuted hundreds of cases. Her experience led her to Dallas, Texas where she received her Texas law license and joined the Dallas County District Attorneys’ office. After six years of prosecuting severe Child Abuses at the Dallas D.A.’s Office, Kelly pursued her judicial aspirations. Throughout her legal career Shequitta has attended various courses on Domestic Violence and had fourteen years of experience helping/working with victims of violent crimes and over twelve years of litigation experience.
Since becoming the presiding judge of Court #11, Judge Kelly has made significant changes to both the criminal justice system and the community. Judge Kelly created the country’s first multi-facet DV offender program; Intercepted. Intercepted is designed for first-time young offenders who have been charged with an assault case. This nine-month rehabilitative program provides mental health and substance abuse treatment along with batterer’s intervention.
Judge Kelly also recognizes the importance of a criminal justice system that is efficient. In June 2016 she implemented court docket changes which allowed cases to move through the criminal justice system on an expedited timeline. This timeframe has provided for a better safeguarding of the offenders’ rights while maintaining the safety and needs of the victim.
Although Judge Kelly spends most of her days in the court room she knows that educating the community is essential to reducing crime as well as preventing injustice. Each month Judge Kelly hosts an event called Curls, Clippers and Conversations which is geared towards educating the hair industry on the criminal justice system. In addition she helped create Pipeline to Possibilities, an initiative gear towards keeping the youth out of the criminal justice system.
When she is not on the bench, Judge Kelly stays actively involved in various professional organization including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated-MDA chapter, JL Turner Legal Association, Urban League, Dallas Bar Association, North Dallas Texas Democratic Women, South Dallas Business and Professional Women and the National Action Network. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and the Advisory Board for The Lullaby House. She has mentored numerous disadvantaged teens and previously spoke as a national motivational speaker. Judge Kelly is an active member of Friendship West Baptist Church.