B.A. (History and Comparative Literature), Rutgers University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with general and departmental honors; J.D., University of Texas School of Law
I have over 28 years of trial and appellate experience - the most by far of any candidate in this race. Appellate judges write, and I am one of the most prolific and accomplished legal writers in Texas (author of 4 books and many articles).
I am in favor of utilizing technology to help provide indigent defendants with equal access to justice. That's why I helped organize and speak at a free CLE seminar for Legal Aid attorneys from all over the state recently, entitled "With Technology and Justice for All." It gave these attorneys guidance on using technology to assist indigent Texans in civil/criminal cases.
A Court of Appeals justice must not only be experienced in appellate law and an accomplished legal writer, he or she must be impartial and ethical. I have not only received Texas' highest awards for my writing, but also for my legal ethics. In 2016, I received the Bar's lifetime achievement award for contributions to legal ethics. I also teach judges about legal ethics.
Nimitz High School, Irving, TX, Diploma;
University of Texas, Austin, TX, B.A. Government, History;
University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX, Juris Doctor
I'm a career appellate lawyer, having written nearly 100 appellate briefs. I enjoy delving into what happened at trial, researching the law, and writing about it, which is the chief job of an appellate court justice. I confess: I'm a law nerd!
One excellent development is electronic filing, allowing talented lawyers from all over the state the chance to assist indigent people in remote counties on appeal. Also, the appellate courts and many counties provide electronic access to case documents, allowing attorneys to work much more efficiently, increasing the quality of their work and reducing the time to do it.
My priority is writing readable, thoughtful opinions. Sometimes, there will be disagreement, and there should be. I will not shy away from writing in concurrence or dissent to explain why the law requires a different result. Litigants deserve justices committed to this back-and-forth, and, selfishly, it allows me to dig into the legal arcana to find the right answer.
Texas A&M - History and Political Science
Baylor Law School
USAF - JAG School
Hundreds of trials, thousands of cases handled, and being in court daily means my experienced is unmatched. I am trusted by counties to handle indigent defense. I can provide veteran leadership (USAF JAG). I am a strict Constitution originalist.
Tech advances have improved access to appeals. By making advances with official transcripts and records, it should be cheaper and faster for indigents to appeal their cases. New scientific tests may make the outcome more certain, but could result in higher costs to appeal. We must make sure that we are efficient with how we spend our resources to accomplish the task.
Because the 5th CoA is the biggest and busiest, the Court must focus on moving the cases it hears more efficiently. The time it takes for a case to make it through the system can be made faster. I hope to leverage my skills, especially in criminal law (the bulk of the cases), to speed up the length of time it takes for cases to be decided. Practical skills, like mine help.
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON LAW CENTER, Juris Doctor, May 1990
First Place, school-wide mock trial competition.
Best Oralist, school-wide mock trial competition
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
BBA in Finance with concentration in Tax Accounting
Former Judge, 8 years
Presided over 500 jury trials and 500 bench trials.
99% Court of Appeals affirmation rate.
Former Asst. Dist. Atty, 6 years
Private Practice, Civil Litigation, Family, Probate Law
Bd. Certified Crim. Trial Law Specialist
Each County is responsible for providing Access to Justice. This is accomplished by each County funding private attorneys or public defenders to represent indigent defendants.The funds should be allocated from each County's budget for Public Justice.If a prosecuting agency loses a case, the funds provided for the defendant should be deducted from that agency's budget.
Guarantying Due Process (Notice of proceedings and the Opportunity to be heard) to all parties and their legal counsel in each appeal
filed before the 5th District Court of Appeals at Dallas. Many trial court judges, under the guise of "discretion", refuse to issue rulings and orders for fear of upsetting campaign contributors or drawing an opponent in the next election.