ABOUT BETH PAYÁN
Beth Payán has spent her career devoted to improving the criminal justice system. She is running to offer her legal expertise and extensive trial experience as your next Justice of the 3rd Court of Appeals, Place 4.
Beth is a lifelong Texan who has served the people of Travis County as a felony prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office for over 25 years. In that time, she has tried every type of felony level case, including physical and sexual abuse of a child, aggravated assault, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, and capital murder. She has also handled white collar crime, motor fuel tax fraud, and juvenile matters. Beth is currently the Lead Attorney of the Diversion Division, working to keep low-level, non-violent or youthful offenders out of jail and get them the support and services they need.
As a young attorney, Beth got her start at the City of Austin before becoming an Assistant District Attorney during Ronnie Earle’s administration. She was a leader in developing the Austin Community Court, which works hand-in-hand with individuals affected by homelessness to offer a variety of long-term support services. Beth later worked in Travis County’s Drug Diversion Court, giving her firsthand knowledge of the impact addiction can have on an individual’s life. She has served on the Family Violence Protection Team and Child Protection Team, working collaboratively with social workers, Child Protective Services, and the Center for Child Protection to prevent the further abuse or neglect of a child. As the Hate Crimes prosecutor, Beth has served on the Hate Crimes Task Force since its inception.
Throughout her career, Beth has created opportunities to collaborate with restorative justice programs and expand diversion and treatment programs as alternatives to incarceration. She is dedicated to criminal justice reform, promoting solutions to help the community heal, and ensuring justice for the most vulnerable residents in our community.
Beth’s drive to find and implement real solutions to transform our justice system was largely instilled by her parents. A product of humble beginnings, her dad worked his way up in a small business, while her mother was the librarian for the Dallas Holocaust Museum and Center for Education and Tolerance. Growing up in a close-knit family, her parents emphasized a strong work ethic and a responsibility to give back to the community. They taught her the Jewish custom of “tikkun olam” which means to “repair the world,” a value that informs her approach to public service to this day.
This duty was solidified when Beth graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1992. After passing the bar, she devoted her time as a volunteer attorney with Central Texas Legal Aid. While there, Beth focused on family law cases that involved family violence, reinforcing her passion for public service and helping people impacted by violence and poverty.
As a lifelong Democrat and long-time community advocate, Beth has volunteered with and supported many local organizations. She has served as a board member for St. Luke’s Infant Care Center, First English Lutheran Child Development Center, AISD Doss Campus Advisory Committee, and CampFire Central Texas as well as the Capital Area Democratic Women and NxNW Democrats. Beth has also supported a variety of other local and national organizations such as the Northwest Austin Civic Association, KUT, KLRU, the Anti-Defamation League, Planned Parenthood, Meals on Wheels, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Center for Child Protection. From volunteering on Governor Ann Richard’s successful 1990 campaign to serving as Precinct Chair with the Travis County Democratic Party, Beth is an engaged Democratic activist. She is also a proud union member of AFSCME Local 1624.
Beth and her husband, Ariel Payán, a local attorney who is the Legal Director of Capital Area Private Defender Service (CAPDS) live in Austin with their two kids, and their dog, Abbey.