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I've pondered for a couple days how best to introduce myself to the Advocate's many readers and online passersby.

I could pluck a headline from the national news and relate it back to Victoria, but that didn't seem to suffice -- at least not for my first blog.

So, here it goes ... Here's the whole truth and nothing but.

My name is Jessica Priest, and I'm the Advocate's new diversity/courts reporter. I grew up in Katy, what I like to think of as one of Houston's many suburbs. And before making my way to the Crossroads, I interned at the Houston Chronicle and served as the Temple Daily Telegram's city reporter.

Two weeks ago, I was elbow deep in budget stories. This is an exciting change.

It's now my fifth day on the job and I can confess I've at least mastered how to get from my apartment to this newsroom, although I guess that's not much of an accomplishment since it's a pretty straight shot down Navarro. The courthouse is also an easy route.

You'll see me a lot there in the coming weeks. In fact, I'm working on a story now about its security. Some area attorneys liken it to the TSA's screenings and say they and their clients are inconvenienced when they must kick off their boots everytime they enter a place where most of their business is conducted.

In March, police arrested 40-year-old Bartholomew Granger but not before he allegedly gunned down a family member and wounded four others in a shooting at the Jefferson County courthouse, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.

Police said then that he got the gun from his car after court broke for a regular docket call.

About five years ago, David Arroyo, Sr. allegedly fired shots on the steps of the Smith County courthouse. Tyler's KYTX found the sheriff's office has since added bulletproof glass, more security cameras, x-rays and metatronics.

View Courthouse shootings in Texas in a full screen map

In light of these events and considering the attorney's arguments ... How do you think the Victoria County courthouse compares with others in the region? Do you feel safe once through the door?

I'd like to hear from you about this and other legal issues you feel ought to be covered. You can reach me in a myriad of ways ... follow me on twitter @jessica_priest, e-mail me at or call me at 361-580-6521.