Ch 9 GOVT 2306.003
Popular in State and Local Government
Popular in Political Science
POLS 1101 096
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gt a J i if ii 3939 i f i 53 r 3 as We 2 926 NJ textj 5 r l l E l l l z he J o if t Cite c X r 91 r Kr Age 3 i L Y r I g liar it f 2 f 3 W W WEE jijmm g lili iiiig The presidingjudge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Sha ron Keller has cultivated a tough on crimequot image lier campaign literature for example has shown a figure behind bars with tl e headline He won t be voting for Judge Sharon Keile39 However Keller may have crossed the line in terms of her harshness toward criminal defendants on September 25 2007 That evening Michael Richard was scheduled to die by lethal injection Earlier that day the SUpreme Court of the United States had agreed to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of death by lethal injection Ordinarily that would lead to a petition to the Court of Criminal Appeals for a stay of execution in order to wait for the decision of the US Supreme Court Things went terribly wrong The lawyers for Michael Richard were working against a tight deadline for their petition and they claimed they experienced computer problems that created a delay in preparing their documents They called the Court of Criminal Appeals and asked that the court stay open an extra 20 minutes so that the stay of execution request could be filed Judge Keller refused to keep the court open in making this decision she did not consult with otherjudges on the court some of whom were working in the same building Otherjudges on the court have stated that they would have stayed late to hear the appeal if they had known about it Michael Richard was executed that evening Complaints were filed against Judge Keller with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct The hear ing officer known as a special master found plenty of blame to go around in this case He found that the Texas Defender Service which provided legal representation for Michael Richard was unable to show that it actually had computer problems that made it unable to file the claim on time In fact the Texas Defender Service did not even contemplate filing a lethal injection claim until over two hours after the Supreme Court had agreed to hear a lethal injection case and then it assigned a junior attorney to prepare documents the first of which was not ready until 445 PM and all of which were not completed until 556 PM that day Nor did the Court of Criminal Appeals escape criticism And though Judge Keller39s behavior did not according to the special master justify removal from offiCe or reprimand it was not exemplary of a public servant He stated quotAlthough Judge Keller says that if she could do it all over again she would not chan actions this cannot be true Any reasonable person having gone through this ordeal surely that open communication particularly during the hectic few hours before an execution woul terests ofjustice Further her go any of her would realize d benefit the in judgment in not keeping the clerk s office open past 500 to allow the TDS to file was highly questionable In sum there is a valid reason why many in the legal community are not proud I vwm a WWWMMMMMMMH u w am of Judge Keller s actions 1 in the fall of 2010 a special court of review dismissed the public warning against Keller on the grounds that a warning cannot be a pen alty following a formal proceeding against a judge For many people in the state this dismissal of the public warning against Keller may have been technically cor rect but politically a mistake making it appear that judges may be unaccountable for their actions It led to broadbased support for a constitutional amendment during the 2013 legislative session allowing for such public warnings Michael Richard s execution was not the only issue when Judge Keller ran for reelection in 2012 There was also her problem with the Texas Ethics Commis sion which had fined her 100000 the largest fine they had ever imposedfor failing to report 24 million in property and income on personal financial state ments that are required by the Ethics Corrimission2 First elected in 1994 Keller was the only Court of Criminal Appeals judge who axfaced Democratic opposition Her opponent Keith Hampton garnered endorse ments or favorable mentions from all five of the major daily papers in Texas and 52 percent of Texas lawyers favored him over Keller in a State Bar of Texas poll Still Texas is a Republican state and Keller had the advantage of being an incumbent with a Republican Party label in the election she got 5549 percent of the vote which was only slightly less than the 5664 percent of the vote that 4 was her victory percentage in 2006 prior to the Richard execution and the Texas Ethics Commission fine All did not go Keller s way In the 2013 constitutional amendment election Proposition 9 received 8465 percent of the vote Proposi tion 9 was an effort to correct the problem that led to the dismissal of the public warning against Judge Keller The Texas Constitution did not specifically say that a disciplinary case could lead to a warning although the state s legal code does The amendment would correct that glitch and allow the warning3 Thisepisode highlights two reasons thatjudicial politics matters to each and every citizen First because judges are elected judges and judicial candidates are encouraged to behave in ways that may cultivate the favor of voters even as the judges seem to sidestep notions ofjustice Second partisan jUCllClal elections make party affiliation and incumbency especially important factors in judges being elected to office since voters often have little other information quot aboutjudicial candidates One reason that Texas is the death penalty capital of the nation may be that it has a partisan election system for selecting not only judges but also the district attorneys who prosecute crimes M i w I Itquot WguWFNJ t4 I w v i 14 revieweraser i 39MIW v fp W r sl x r s I J i h v s 5 415quot quot Iv Vanr 3Vquot I i d 44 n aquot 21 ww gj ix raj 9 W x A eff quotquotquot39 ugf39 no t quot u I r i r iii 4 5 425 w I quot57quot 4 535 1 M p 9quot 1 3943 4 39 23 g I v 39W 9 53 quotv s sx w u M r s quotFquot error 39 Juve ee 39 Ma r x quot 5 f r d f r i a 39 45 5 If J 5 f 7 vfquottfjp I were j 39 4 a I i 5 f5 amp 9quot quotl ov a y gy j 3ng refuterus A New as 3i gampamp m f f fa nampm f a i arm r5 Wagsuifi rz r 26 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY Court Structure Like the federal courts the state and local courts in Texas are responsible for securing liberty and equality under the law However the democratic mechanisms put into place in Texas to select judges and to hold them accountable for their actions are quite different from those at the national level Federal judges are appointed by the president and con rmed by the Senate They have lifetime appointments This means that federal judges subject to good be havior in of ce are free from the ebb and flow of democratic politics They do not have to cater to public opinion and are empowered to interpret the law as they see t without fear of reprisal at the polls In Texas however judges are elected to of ce Although they may initially be appointed to their offices sooner or later they are responsible to the people for their decisions in of ce Election of judges brings not only the people but also interest groups into the selection and reten tion of judges The in uence of special interest money in judicial campaigns raises important questions about the relationship between the rule of law and the nature of democratic politics Texas has a large and complex court structure consisting of a hodgepodge of courts with overlapping jurisdiction see Figure 91 Additionally some courts have specialized jurisdiction whereas others have broad authority to handle a variety of cases At the highest level for civil cases is the Texas supreme Court which consists of nine justices including a chief justice This c0urt hears civil and juvenile cases only and at the state level it has nal appellate jurisdiction The only require ments for being a Texas Supreme Court justice are that one must be a citizen of Texas Supreme Court the highest civil court in Texas consists of nine justices and has final state appellate authority over civil cases The Texas Supreme Court is the highest civil court in Texas The court coatsists of nine justices pictured here as of 2014 COURT STRUCTURE 277 State Highest m Appellate Courts 5239Fiii l bbs ateJurisdis s 39l siri g and 39iuveniie39 Civil appeals in which State death Intermediate r penalty Appellate has been Courts 55 5139 In f 3 assessed iffafficiisi ists State Trial Courts of n General and Special Jurisdiction sustainedeaglepiaeessa to39certainspeCializ39ed Iii2 i39Liniited39jurisdictioner 39ivitquoth iatt rifzf d fli der County Trial passeestatessatestan courts of Q l Lmvyltegj I Jurisdiction threaten aasorestamens wagseissieiedemiwarm orwerecdrajrvmwnaa quot 39 Cnminal muscle I 39 sailor3 punishabiepy i5 1 seesaw 39 gig 921515 20 Exclusive jiinsdiction39 o39v39er municspa 39bidsiiahc39ejvibiatidns39 nes upjt 2990 quot 39 393 uses an penaltie s39i n sasesquot inventsg a39magistiajte39funuishs a Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Magistratejiun39ctwm39 278 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY the United States and a resident of Texas be at least 35 years of age and have been either a practicing lawyer or judge for at least 10 years The term of a justice is six years with at least three justices being elected every two years Justices on the Texas Supreme Court are paid 150000 a year the chief justice receives 2500 a year more Supreme Court justices are elected to sixyear terms The Texas Court at Criminal Appeals is the highest appeals court in the state for criminal cases This court also has nine judges including a presiding judge The pay terms and quali cations of Court of Criminal Appeals judges are the same as for the Texas Supreme Court Perhaps the most important task of the Court of Criminal Appeals is its jurisdiction over automatic appeals in death penalty cases Both the Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals have appellate ju risdiction This means that they have the authority to review the decisions of lower courts to determine whether legal principles and court procedures were followed correctly This authority also provides the power to order that a case be retried if mistakes were made Texas has 14 other appellate ecurts located in various parts of the state which have both criminal and civil jurisdiction These courts are inter mediate appellate courts and hear appeals from the trial courts Usually before the Supreme Court or the Court of Criminal Appeals hears a case the initial appeal has been heard by one of the courts of appeal These courts have intermediate appel late jurisdiction in various regions of the state for civil juvenile and criminal cases Presently there are 80 judges who serve on the 14 courts of appeal which range in size from 3 to 13 judges Although there are occasions when every judge on a court of appeal will hear a case mostly appeals at this level are heard by panels of three judges The requirements for a court of appeal justice are the same as those for jus tices of the higher courts Courts of appeal justices are paid 13 7500 a year and the chief justice of each of the courts of appeal receives an additional 2500 All of the justices on the courts of appeal are eligible for a maximum of an additional 7500 that would be paid by a county supplement The major trial courts in Texas are the district courts Each county has at least one district court although rural parts of Texas may have several counties that are served by one district court Urban counties have many district courts Harris County Houston for example has 59 district courts and Dallas County has 48 District courts usually have general jurisdiction meaning that they hear a broad range of civil and criminal cases However in urban counties some district courts with specialized jurisdiction hear only civil criminal juvenile or family law mat ters Those district courts having general jurisdiction would hear felony criminal cases divorces land disputes election contests and civil lawsuits District court judges receive 125000 a year and they may receive up to 15000 in additional salary a year from county supplement payments to the state salary Currently there are 456 district judges 9 State Supreme Court judges 9 court of criminal appeals judges and 80 court of appeal judges Texas is unusual in having the of ce of county judge in each of its 254 counties Not only does the county judge preside over the county commissioners court and thus have responsibilities for administration of county government but the county judge also presides over the county court Often these county courts have jurisdiction over uncontested probate cases and over the more serious misdemeanor criminal offenses involving nes greater than 500 or a jail sentence as well as over civil cases Where the amounts in dispute are relatively small generally in the 200 to 10000 range The county court may also hear appeals from municipal courts or from jus tice of the peace courts Thus the county judge combines politicaladministrative functions with some judicial functions However in the more populated counties Texas Court of Criminal Appeals the highest criminal court in Texas consists of nine justices and has final state appellate authority over criminal cases courts of appeal the 14 intermediatelevel appellate courts that hear appeals from district and county courts to determine whether the decisions of these lower courts followed legal principles and court procedures district courts the major trial courts in Texas which usually have general jurisdiction over a broad range of civil and criminal cases county judge the person in each of Texas s 254 counties who presides over the county court and the county commissioners39 court with responsibility for the administration of county government some county judges carry outjudicial responsibilities county courts the courts that exist in some counties that are presided over by countyjudges COURT STRUCTURE 279 nw A m The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court in the state for criminal cases Like the Texas Supreme Court it has nine justices pictured here as of 2014 statutory county courts at law courts that tend to hear less serious cases than those heard by district courts statutory probate courts specialized courts whose jurisdiction is limited to probate and guardianship matters justice of the peace courts local trial courts with limited jurisdiction over small claims and very minor criminal misdemeanors there are county courts at law and sometimes probate courts a result in the larger counties most and sometimes all of the county judges judic1al duties are now performed by other courts In larger counties there are statutory county courts at law Since the county courts at law were created by statute often at widely different times the JuI ISClJCtIOIl of these courts varies signi cantly Usually the county courts at law hear appeals from justices of the peace and from municipal courts In civil cases they usually hear cases involving sums greater than would be heard by a justice of the peace court but less than would be heard by district courts Typically county courts at law hear civil cases involving less than 100000 In comparison to the district courts the county courts at law would hear less serious criminal offenses Some of the county courts at law have specialized jurisdictlon most commonly these are in the most urban counties where some of the courts will have only 0le jurisdiction and others only criminal jurisdiction Currently there are 237 county court at law judges In the most urban areas of the state the legislature has created courts known as statutory probate courts These courts are highly specialized as their prlmary activ ity involves probate matters that relate to the disposition of property of deceasijeld persons They may also deal with matters relating to guardianship of people one e to handle their own affairs and they may handle mentalhealth commitments In other parts of the state depending on the statute probate matters may be heard by I the county court the county court at law or the district court Currently there are 18 statutory probate court judges 39 Each county in Texas has between one and eight justice of the peace precincts de pending on population although large urban counties have more than one judge in each precinct Harris County for example has two in each of eight preC1nctsW1th1ng each precinct are justice of the peace courts There are 819 justice of the peace courts CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY in Texas These courts hear class C misdemeanors which are less serious crimes They also have jurisdiction over minor civil matters In the past the courts functioned as small claims courts Unfortunately the courts used formal rules of evidence which gave a great advantage to parties represented by lawyers As a result of a law passed in 201 1 however while suits must be for less than 10000 the suits can be handled more informally Rules governing suits now may not be so complex that a reason able person without legal training would have dif culty understanding or applying the rules 4 Justices may issue search and arrest warrants In counties without medical examiners they may ful ll the administrative functions of coroners Justices of the peace mostly handle traf c misdemeanors Of the more than 237 million cases disposed of by justice of the peace courts in 2012 more than 15 million were traf c and parking cases In contrast justice of the peace courts heard only about 391000 civil cases Justices of the peace have faced considerable criticism in recent years In Dallas County an auditor discovered 22000 unprocessed traf c cases The justice of the peace had failed to collect as much as 2 million in nes Unlike any other judge in Texas except for the county judge who is often an administrator rather than a judge 92 percent of the 819 justices of the peace in Texas are nonlawyers and the lack of justices legal credentials has led to considerable debate in the state6 The of ce has its origins in medieval England and has existed in Texas since 183 7 even before statehood In the days of the frontier justices of the peace provided legal authority where no other existed Indeed the famed Judge Roy Bean was a jus tice of the peace The initial idea was that a justice of the peace would be a reapected person in the community who was chosen for ability judgment and integrity Today as the former Texas state bar president Frank Newton has pointed out In almost every large metropolitan area there are some JPs who do virtually noth ing and sort of get lost in the shuf e People don t tend to get all excited about JP elections Most people don t know what a JP does J P is not a very prestigious job 7 Municipal courts have been created by the legislature in each of the incorporated cities of the state There are 926 cities and towns in Texas that have these courts larger cities have multiple courts There are 1559 municipal court judges in the The boxes of evidence that the S rate of Texas prepared for the trial against tobacco companies in 1997 occupied an entire gym in 39Fexarieana In a civil case the plaintiff bears the burden of proof and must demonstrate that the defendant is more than not likely responsible for the harm suffered by the plaintiff municipal courts local trial courts with limited jurisdiction over violations of city ordinances and very minor criminal misdemeanors COURT STRUCTURE 281 ordinance a regulation enacted by a city government each of Texas39s incorporated cities and towns civil law a branch of law that deals with disputes usually between private individuals over relationships obligations and responsibility criminal law the branch of law that regulates the conduct of individuals defines crimes and specifies punishment for criminal acts complaint the presentation of a grievance by the plaintiff in a civil case answer the presentation of a defendant s defense against an allegation in a civil case contingent fee a fee paid to the lawyer in a civil case which is contingent on winning the case state Municipal courts have jurisdiction over violations of city ordinances and con current with justice of the peace courts have jurisdiction over class C misdemean ors for which the punishment for conviction is a ne Municipal judges may issue search and arrest warrants but they have only limited civil jurisdiction8 Municipal courts like justice of the peace courts function primarily as traf c courts In 2012 municipal courts disposed of slightly more than 6 million cases About 494 million of these cases were traf c and parking cases9 Great controversy has erupted in the city of Dallas where the city council has demanded that municipal judgeswthere are 11 fulltime and 18 parttime mu nicipal judges in Dallas get tougher with offenders or lose their judicial appoint ments In particular city of cials have claimed that the judges give too many trial postponements set nes too low and don t hold accused violators accountable for ignoring citations10 Just as the Texas Supreme Court hears civil cases and the Texas Court of Crimi nal Appeals hears criminal cases it is use ful to think of the law as divided into these parts Civil law involves a dispute usually be tween private individuals over relationships obligations and responsibility Though there are exceptions with a violation of the civil law the remedy is often for the offend ing party to pay compensation to the injured party In contrast criminal law involves the violation of concepts of right and wrong as de ned by criminal statutes In criminal law the state accuses individuals of viola tions and if found guilty the violator is subject to punishment In some cases that punishment may involve loss of liberty or even loss of life In civil law an aggrieved person will usually obtain a lawyer and le a petition that details the complaint against the person accused of causing the harm The peti tion is led with the clerk of court who issues a citation against the defendant The defendant will usually le an answer explaining why the allegations are not valid Depending on the issue the amounts of money that may be awarded as damages I and the probability of success the aggrieved person may be able to obtain the services of a lawyer on a contingent fee basis This means that the lawyer will not charge the individual if the case is lost but will obtain a portion of the damages awarded if the case is won It is not unusual for such contingent fee arrangements to involve onethird or more of the damages award plus expenses Lawyers whd quot handle cases on contingent fee agreements often handle personalinjury cases and are known as trial lawyers Traditionally these lawyers will contribute money to ju E dicial candidates who are sympathetic to plaintiffs They make money only if they3912 win so they have a strong economic interest in supporting judicial candidates who are sympathetic to plaintiffs and to the awarding of large damages The person being sued either will have to hire an attorney on his or her own or if insured will be represented by an attorney paid for by the insurance com pany Fee arrangements vary for civil defense lawyers but often they are paid the hour in which case they get paid whether they win or lose Their economic CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY incentives to contribute money to judicial campaigns may be different from the incentives trial lawyers have but civil defense lawyers do contribute large sums to judicial campaigns in order to elect judges who support their views on tort law The court to which a civil case is taken depends on the type of case and the amount of money involved Most commOnly a civil case will be settled meanin the dispute is resolved without going to court Settlements may however occuf during trial sometimes immediately before a jury renders its decision If a case is not settled and goes to trial it may be heard either by a judge or if requested by ei ther side by a jury Although civil jury cases do not have to be uhanimous in Texas the burden of proof is on the plaintiff The standard of proof that the plaintiff must meet is preponderance of the evidence That means that the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant is the cause of the harm suffe d b the plaintiff re y Civil cases may involve tiny amounts of damages or they may involve billions of dollars which have the potential of breaking huge corporations such as happened in the 19803 when Pennzoil successfully sued Texaco in a diapute over the takeov of the Getty Oil Company er Civil case verdicts may of course be appealed Appeals are usually from the trial court to the intermediate court of appeal and perhaps further to the state supreme court Given the cost of appeals and the delay that is involved it is not unusual for some settlement to be reached after the verdict but before the case goes through the appellate process For example a plaintiff might agree to settle for much less than the verdict in the case to avoid the expense and delay of further appeals Litigating a civil case is time consuming and expensive As a result in Texas and in other states it is increasingly common to try to negotiate a settlement through mediation or arbitration With arbitration the parties to the dispute agree to present their case to a decision maker and to be bound by the decision With mediation the parties to the dispute try to reach a compromise resolution of the problem without going to trial Generally lawyers are used in mediations and arbi trations that have signi cant nancial value although persons assisting the parties in mediations and arbitrations do not necessarily have to be lawyers Mediation is especially popular in civil disputes because the parties to the dispute are reaching the agreement and are not forced into a particular decision as they would be with arbitration Mediation is also a very exible process for resolving disputes where resolutions of disputes are contractual agreements between the opposing parties To resolve the dispute they may agree to any legal remedy One of the most unl usual such remedies for a dispute occmred a number of years ago when Southwest Airlines and Stevens Aviation had a dispute over which company could use the slogan Plane Smart The two sides initially agreed to determine which compan would use the slogan by having an armwrestling match between Southwest s and Stevens Aviation s company chairmen Lawyers later worked out another agree ment but the company chairmen went ahead and held th felony a serious criminal offense punishable by a prison sentence or a fine a capital felony is possibly punishable by death misdemeanor a minor criminal offense usually punishable by a fine or a jail sentence grand gory jury that determines whether suf cient evidence is availabieto justify a trial grand juries do not rule on the accused39s guilt or innocence indictment a written statement issued by a grand jury that charges a suspect with a crime and states that a trial is warranted bench trial a trial held without a jury and before only a judge plea bargain negotiated agreement in a criminal case in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for the state39s agreement to reduce the severity of the criminal charge or prison sentence the defendant is facing xments others may not put the time and energy into a courtappointed case that they would if they were privately paid others take court appointments because Defendants may hire criminal defense attorneys who usually charge a at fee to handle the case Criminal defense lawyers of course do not work on a contingent fee basis Since most criminal defendants are found guilty criminal defense lawyers often prefer to obtain as much of their fee as possible in advance of the verdict Some parts of Texas have public defender of ces where salaried lawyers provide at least some adult indigent criminal defense services in a county Bexar County has established the rst public defender of ce for indigent criminal appeals Travis County has a public defender of ce representing only indigents with mental im pairments12 A public defender of ce represents indigents in capital cases in west Texas13 In Texas indigent criminal defendants are more commonly represented by courtappointed lawyers These are lawyers appointed by the judge to represent a defendant Usually these governmentpaid fees are less than would be charged to nonindigent defendants Thus some lawyers are reluctant to ful ll court appoint they have a limited number of paying clients and still others take court appoint ments to gain experience Concern over the poor quality of legal representation provided indigent criminal defendants especially in capital cases led to legislation in 2001 to increase the pay and quali cations of courtappointed lawyers Serious crimes are felonies in those cases as well as many lesser offenses known as misdemeanors prior to the trial there will be an indictment by a grand jury in Texas a grand jury consists of 12 persons who sit for two to six months Depend ing on the county a grand jury may meet only once or twice or it may meet sev eral times a week Although sometimes grand juries are selected randomly from a pool of quali ed citizens mostly Texas grand jurors are chosen by a commissioner system A district judge will appoint several grand jury commissioners who will then select 15 to 20 citizens of the county The rst 12 who are quali ed become the grand jury14 Grand juries can inquire into any criminal matter but usually spend most of their time on felony crimes They work in secret and rely heavily on the informa tion provided by the prosecutor though in some cases grand juries will work quite independently of the prosecutor These grand juries are called runaway grand juries because the prosecutor has lost control of them but such cases are very rare If 5 nine of the grand jurors decide a trial is warranted they will indict a suspect An indictment is also known as a true billquot On the other hand sometimes a grand jury 39 does not believe a trial is warranted In those cases the grand jury issues a no bill decision Although a suspect has the right to trial by jury he or she may waive that right and undergo a bench trial before the judge only Most commonly the suspect will engage in a plea bargain With plea bargaining a suspect agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence than might be imposed if the suspect were found guilty at trial Approximately 97 percent of criminal convictions in Texas are the result of plea bargainsIS If the suspect does choose trial by jury felony juries will 3 have 12 members misdemeanor juries will have 6 members There must be a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty If the jurors are not unanimous the result j is a hung jury and a mistrial is declared The prosecutor may then choose to retry the suspect In addition to the requirement of unanimity in jury decisions another important difference between civil and criminal cases is the standard of proof Int criminal cases rather than the standard of preponderance of the evidence the stand 284 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY dard is beyond a reasonable doubt This means that the prosecutor must prove the charges against the defendant and they must be proven to a very high standard 3 that a reasonable doubt of innocence does not exist 0 If a guilty verdict is returned there will be a separate hearing on the sentence wh1ch in Texas is sometimes also determined by the jury At the sentencin hear mg factors such as prior record and background will be considered even tghou 11 these factors could not be considered at the trial portion of the procleeding g Of course a defendant may also appeal a verdict Usually the appeals are b a convicted defendant who alleges that an error in the trial may have affected fhe case s outcome In rare cases a prosecutor may also appeal For the most art however criminal defendants will appeal their convictions to an intermediatdj a peals court and perhaps further to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals In ca itil cases however the appeal will be directly to the Texas Court of Criminal Appials Judicial Politics Although there are still generalist lawyers who handle all sorts of cases much of the 39 practice of law is very specialized Thus in Elie ciiril process trial lawyers and civil de ense a ers ten 39 39 dates for judgeships It is not unusual for trialvlawyers cfofulpisdfrtozizsgid gib often the Democrat who is more39lilcely to be the more liberal or proplaintiff candidate and for the civil defense lawyers to support the Republican who is more Judge Elizabeth Coleer swearing in former prosecutor Kuycee Jones as a new district judge Coleer became known as the reacting judge when it was discovered that during a trial of a defendant accused offclouy injury to a child she reacted prosecutor Jonas suggesting a line of questions that the prosecutors should ask the defendant Coker resigned while she was under investigation by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct beyond a reasonable doubt the legal standard in criminal cases which requires the prosecution to prove that a reasonable doubt of innocence does not exist JUDICIAL POLITICS 285 um saw m waAn mu a nwm likely to be the conservative or prodefendant candidate The civil defense lawyers will often align themselves with business groups and with professional groups such as medical doctors to support judges inclined to favor the civil defense side In the criminal process it is sometimes possible to see criminal defense lawyers backing one candidate and prosecutors backing the other Some prosecutors of ces are quite political and the prosecutors will publicly support proprosecution judicial candidates They will often be aligned with victims rights groups Criminal defense lawyers on the other hand will often back one of their own in contested criminal court races One big difference in the campaigns of civil court judges versus criminal court judges is the amount of money involved Enormous amounts can be involved in civil cases and so it is worth lots of money to trial lawyers and civil defense in terests to elect candidates favorable to their point of view On the other hand with the exception of a relatively few highly paid criminal defense lawyers the practice of criminal law is not very lucrative Prosecutors are on salary and usually the salaries are not large Criminal defense lawyers often represent clients with little money And most criminal cases are pleabargained The economic incen tives to contribute large sums to criminal court races don t exist The result is that a or w a strong candidate for the Texas Supreme Court may raise in the neighborhood 4 quot g a of 1000000 for a campaign whereas a strong candidate for the Texas Court of 39 fl 439 Criminal Appeals may raise 100000 However as Texas has become predomi a L i I 4quot nantly Republican at the statewide level hardfought contests between Democrats I 39 and Republicans for the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal M f Appeals have become rare c 39 I 0quot Vquot quot a 5 quot 3 r quotf l 3 X5 ln ital Appointment of Judges by the unvernor A notable aspect of the Texas judiciary is that with the exception of municipal judges who tend to be appointed by local governments all judges are elected in partisan elections Still because the governor appoints district and appellate judges to the bench to ll vacancies prior to an election or to ll judgeships on new courts large percentages of judges initially get on the bench through appointment Although there has been some controversy over the relatively small number of ap pointments of minorities made by some governors gubernatorial appointment has generated little additional controversy16 Table 91 shows the percentage of district and appellate judges who have initially gained their seats through appointment by the governor Currently about 55 percent of appellate judges and 38 percent of the trial judges initially got on the bench through appointment Still the controver sial issue in Texas judicial politics deals with how the remaining judges obtained their seats and how all judges retain their seats if they wish to remain in of ce That controversy involves the partisan election of judges in Texas the Elections accrue Highly art lsan Until 1978 the selection of judges in partisan elections did not create much 1011 f39 cern Texas was overwhelmingly a Democratic state and judges were elected as 7 Democrats The only real competition occurred in the Democratic primary and I with the political advantage of incumb ency judges were rarely defeated even in the primary Competition in judicial races occurred in those relatively rare cases where there was an open seat in which no incumbent sought of ce Beginning in 1978 however changes began to occur in Texas judicial politics William Clements the CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDlCIARY 4 3 a an v i3 i quot 2r seen axis YEAR TRIAL cousrs APPEL LATEZCOURTS 1962 57 50 1984 67 51 1998 46 i 39 v 40 2001 34 I quotas 2003 43 43 2006 43 50 2009 36 51 2011 37 52 19 2012 38 5539 Trial courts are the district and criminal district courts 1 sogggellate courts are the supreme court the court of criminal appeals and the courts of appeal ES Anthony Champagne quotThe Selection and Retention of Judges in Texasquot Southwestern Law Journal 40 May 1986 6639 Texas Of ce of Court Administration quot Pro le of Appellate and Trial Jud esquot f 1998 2001 2003 2006 2009 March 1 2011 September 1 2012 g as 0 september 1 rst Republican governor since Reconstruction was elected The governor has the power to appoint judges to the district and higher courts when new courts have been created or when a judicial vacancy occurs as a result of death resignation or retirement Unlike the previous Democratic governors who appointed members of the Democratic Party Clements began appointing Republicans With that ad vantage of incumbency and with the increasing pOpularity of the Republican part label some of the Republican judges began to win reelection y Helped by the popularity of Ronald Reagan in Texas other Republicans began seeking judicial of ces and winning Thus by the early 19803 in statewide elections and in several counties in Texas competition began to appear in judicial races With that competition incumbent judges began to be defeated Sensing the growth of Republican strength a number of Democratic judges changed to a Republican Party af liation From 1980 through July 24 1985 13 district and appellate judges changed from the Democratic to the Republican Party 11 county court jud es switched and 5 justices of the peace changed parties Judge Don Koons switchged parties in early 1985 and explained his move to the Republican Party by saying i ran as a Democrat in 1982 It was a long tough year but we won On the othef hand it cost a lot more money and time away from the bench to run as a Demo crat The work suffers some and you ve got to be always hustling money quot13 Koons apparently believed that with the emerging strength of the Republican Part a switch in party af liation would make his job more secure y Judicial elections became more expensive because judicial candidates needed money to run meaningful campaigns In particular campaigns that usedtelevision advertising became very expensive because of high media costs JUDICIAL POLITICS 19 WW T ls Wit0L5 S lS TEM OF HWM JUW JN ELECTIONS 1 PEOPLE a UR WT r l j U r I 5 4 7 A J Iquot I 412 Texas Is justice for sale in Texas Because slatewide judicial races are expensive Icandra39a es fie judgeships have been forced to raise considerable amounts of money This in turn as e to criticism that judicial decisions are in effect being bought Judicial candidates needed money because judicial races tend to have lowCl visibility campaigns in which voters are unaware of the candidates The races ten to be overshadowed by highervisibility races such as the race for governor or US Senator Money was needed to give judicial candidates some degree of name visibility by voters However in general Texas voters do not give muchalmloney to judicial campaigns Instead it is lawyers interest groups and potenti 1t1gtnts who tend to be donors in judicial races19 That money to judicial candidates 0 en comes from parties interested in the outcomes of cases has raised concerns abou the neutrality of Texas judges who are deciding cases that involve the ring11a interests of persons who have given them campaign funds ATexas poll foun at 83 percent of the public thought that judges were strongly or somewhgt n uci enced by contributions in their decisions Ninetyn1ne percent of lawyerl e eye that campaign contributions have at least some in uence on judges Per aps even more striking 86 percent of judges reported that they believed campaign contribu 39 o r 1 p o n tions had at least some in uence on judicial dec131ons Contributions for judicial races in Texas can sometimes amount to several huri g39g dred thousand dollars especially for hotly contested district court races or appe late races In general however the most expensive races are for the Texas Supreme Court When races are contested between Democratic and Republican candidates a candidate can raise well over 1 million However hardfought races are now rare as these statewide elections have moved39into the Republican column Be cause these are statewide races and because this court sets the tone of tort law 288 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDlCIARY Federal judges are appointed for life by the president with the advice and consent of the US Senate Several states follow the federal model in which the governor appoints state judges with the advice and consent of the state senate ln Texas however members of the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals as well as all lower state courts are elected to their posts rather than appointed by the voters in partisan elections Texas is one of only seven states that elect judges in partisan elections Thirteen states elect judges in nonpartisan elections and another two have a mix of partisan and nonpartisan aspects in their elec tion ofjudges is there an alternative to appointing or electingjudges Many good govern mentquot advocates support merit selec tion which several states employ and which has been suggested many times as a possible alternative to the current system in Texas Merit selection in volves a commission that vets potential judges based on their character and temperament A group of approved judi cial nominees is then presented to the governor who appoints one asjudge After a period of time thatjudge runs in a retention election Thejudge does not face an opponent but the ballot question asks voters whether thejudge should be retained in office Supporters of the Texas model like the fact that it holds judges account able to the electorate This system leads criminal courtjudges to run cam paigns touting their tough sentencing practices and quotzero tolerance for crimi nals Texas model supporters maintain that the alternative is undemocratic because elites would choosejudges who would become entrenched in their positions and make rulings without any fear of public backlash lfjudges are in sulated from the public then they can render decisions without accountability Opponents of electingjudges argue that the Texas model inevitably leads to corruption because lawyers and other interests can make campaign contributions to judges which will influence their rulings Especially in civil cases Texas judges could sell out to the highest bidder According to critics ofjudicial elections in criminal cases the rights of the accused might not be taken as seriously as the public con sistently favors tough rulings and sen tences on criminals With the partisan election of judges the bestqualified persons are not chosen because voters tend to vote based on party affiliations ratherthan merit Some Texas state legislators have proposed changing the judicial selec tion system One Option that some observers have suggested is a hybrid system in which Texas Supreme Court and appellate courtjudges would be appointed while lower courtjudges would be elected This system might be an effective compromise to ensure responsiveness at a certain level How ever changing the selection system in any way would generally require a constitutional amendment which is not easy to implement The larger debate revolves around whether it is possible to keep politics out ofjudiclal selec tion Gubernatorial appointments also inevitably involve political consider ations As in most political debates there are clear trade offs involved when deciding which approach is best Which would you choose throughout the state a great deal of money is needed and a great deal can be raised Table 92 shows the average contribution to Texas Supreme Court candidates for each election period from 1980 through 2012 The contribution data are reported for those races that were contested by both a Republican and a Democratic can didate In the 2000 Supreme Court elections the Republicans were so strong that no Democrat even bothered to run for any position on the Texas Supreme Court By 2012 the Democratic candidate against Republican incumbent Nathan Hecht could only raise a little less than 76000 Any real battle for a posmon on the Texas Supreme Court is now in the Republican primary mortar Fort ALL 39 339 AVERAGE FOR 8189751155 WINNING CANDlDATES 1980 I 139 h a H I 298187 1982 173174 332998 1984 98f405 1922183 1988 519309 1024817 1988 859413 842148 1990 970154 1544939 1992 1098001 1098887 1994 1499577 1827285 1998 858190 1277127 1998 521519 829794 2000 NAT 584719ii 2002i 425474 588430 2004 894908 548885 r 2008M 995218 1792523 2008 854819 910973 2010 438854 744033 2012 3 208272 388838 Averages are reported for candidates from contested races featuring both a Republican and Democratic candidate The 1982 1984 2004 and 2006 elections each featured only one contested race Wlth both a Democratic and Republican candidate I I I iNo Democrats ran in the three Supreme Court elections In 2000 Average campaign contributions for the three victorious Republicans none had a Democratic opponent Chlef Justice Tom Phillips ran for reelection and refused to accept any campaign contributions beyond his cash on hand which amounted to 19433 His Democratic opponent however raised almost no funds 12815 Phillips 39 39 39 39 39 for this year was the water in this race which lowers the average contributions 39 SOURCES Kyle Cheek and Anthony Champagne Judicial Politics in Texas New York Peter Lang 2005 p 38 Institute on Money in State Politics 290 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDlCIARY Hampton for Judge 69 likes 4 talking about this 90itfclim I39m running for the Court 0 Crimlnal Appeals agaInst Sharon Keller because every Texan deserves access to justice About Seneca an crlii In spite of judicial campaigns however voters often know little about judicial candidates As a result they vote not for the bestquali ed person to be a judge but for the party label As the Republican Party has become increasingly dominant in statewide races it is the Republican label rather than the quali cations or ex perience of judicial candidates that has determined the outcome of judicial races Related to the importance of party label in judicial races is the effect of topofthe ticket voting In 1984 the popularity of Ronald Reagan seemed to help Texas judi cial candidacies as many voters cast straight or almost straight Republican ballots In that year Reagan received nearly 64 percent of the presidential vote in Texas All four Republican incumbent district judges who were challenged by Democrats won Sixteen Democratic incumbent district judges were challenged by Republi cans Only three of those Democrats won 1n contrast in 1982 US Senator Lloyd Bentsen ran for reelection Bentsen was a very popular senator and a Democrat His candidacy on the Democratic ballot seems to have encouraged voters to cast ballots for Democrats further down on the ticket Bentsen received slightly more than 59 percent of the vote in Texas In that year 26 Republican incumbent dis trict judges faced Democratic Opposition only 14 won Yet 16 Democratic district judges faced opposition and 14 won21 Even voters who try to make a serious effort to learn about judicial candidates can have a hard time 111 Houston for example voters are faced with ballots loaded with so many judicial candidates that it becomes nearly impossible to be an in formed voter In 1994 one of the most extreme examples of along judicial ballot occurred in Harris County where voters were faced with 45 judicial elections that were primary elections and then 8 runoff primary elections In the general elec tion there were 59 contested judicial elections and 16 more elections Where the judicial candidate was unopposed In 2010 Harris County voters cast ballots in 10 contested appellate court races and 36 contested district court races In 2012 Har ris County voters faced a ballot with 11 contested appellate races and 23 contested district court races In 2012 Democrat Keith Hampton ran against Sharon Keller for presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals Although he ran a fairly strong campaign Hampton faced a major dif culty because Texas has more Republican voters than Democratic v0 tors and voters tend to follow party labels in judicial races Keller defeated Hampton 555 percent to 4139 2 percent in the general election JUDICIAL POLITICS 291 The iterate dense in 1994 Cathy Herasimchuk ran for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals In a threeway Republican primary she won only 26 percent of the statewide vote The candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries who did make the runoff for that seat all had simple easytospell and easy topronounce names Herasim chuk was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2001 but in running for election to the court in 2002 she realized she had a problem with her name As she said Everybody told me you couldn t win city dog catcher with the name Hera simchuk and they all turned out to be accurate llerasimchuk s problems getting elected certainly had nothing to do with her credentials She has been a Harris County prosecutor a criminal defense lawyer an adviser to then governor Bush and a law school lecturer When she successfully ran in 2002 she did so under her maiden name Cathy Cochran22 The name game continued in the 2008 elections for judges in Harris County quotMost Republican judges in that county were swept out of office but four Republi cans survived They had all been challenged by Democrats with unusual names As a result the incumbent Republican judge Sharon McCally was able to defeat the Democratic challenger Ashish Mahendru Republican judge Mark Kent Ellis de feated Democrat Mekisha Murray Judge Patricia Kerrigan a Republican defeated the Democrat Andres Pereira and Judge Joseph Halback defeated his Democratic challenger Goodwille Pierre23 I Some have claimed that a Latino name will hurt candidates in Republican primaries In reference to judicial races for example Justice David Medina was defeated by John Devine in the 2012 Republican runoff primary for the Texas Supreme Court and in 2002 Justice Xavier Rodriguez was defeated in the Repub lican primary for the Texas Supreme Court by Steve Smith There have been other nonjudicial Republican primary elections where persons with Latmo names have been defeated by persons with nonHispanic names However the victory of Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst in the 2012 Republican runoff primary for US sena tor from Texas suggests that the assertion that there is ethnic bias in Republican primary voting may be overblown24 Minority Representation in the quotteens ludieiary Minority groups have been concerned that countywide and larger partisan judicial races make it dif cult for minorities to get elected to judgeships and that Texas judges do not re ect the diversity of the state Although women do not make up 50 percent of the judiciary as they do of the population there is a higher proportion of women in the Texas judiciary than of minorities Women were at one time a great rarity on the bench In 1970 only 1 percent of the nation s judiciary was female As late as 1979 only 4 percent of the nation s judges were women25 In Texas the first woman to serve as a state judge was Sarah Hughes who was appointed in 1935 and who served as a district judgequot until 1961 when she was appointed to the federal bench Famous for a number of her decisions including one that forced Dallas County to build a new jail she is probably best known as the judge who swore in Lyndon Johnson as president after the assassination of John F Kennedy in 2012 however 42 percent of appel late judges in Texas were women and 40 percent of district judges were women Thirtyone percent of county courtatlaw judges were female as were 33 percent 292 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY of the probate judges Eleven percent of county judges 35 percent of municipal judges and 36 percent of justices of the peace were women26 Different interpretations have been offered for the low numbers of minorities on the bench The lack of racial and ethnic diversity on the bench is a nationwide problem Ninetytwo percent of the state judges in the nation are white27 Civil rights groups in several states with elective j udiciaries including Texas have argued that white voters dominate countywide and larger districts and will vote against minority judicial candidates Civil rights organizations representing Latinos and African Americans have argued that for minorities to get elected to of ce there must be smaller judicial districts where minority voters make up the majority An alternative argument is that minority candidates in Texas like minority vot ers tend to be Democrats at a time when Republicans increasingly are winning judicial races Thus minorities do not get elected to judicial of ce because they run as Democrats28 Still another argument is that there are few minority judges because there are few minority lawyers and with the exception of county judges and justices of the peace judges in Texas must be lawyers The issue of minority representation on the bench has been the subject of major concern by minority and civil rights leaders in Texas It was also the subject of pro longed federal litigation In 1989 a case was tried in federal court in Midland The case League of United Latin American Citizens a Mattox was a suit against county wide election of judges in 10 of the larger counties in Texas The suit led by minority plaintiffs argued that countywide election of judges diluted the strength of minority voters and violated the Voting Rights Act The trial judge agreed with the plaintiffs and after a political solution failed ordered that judges be elected in nonpartisan elections from smaller judicial districts The trial court order however was blocked by the Fifth Circuit which is the federal court of appeals for the re gion that includes Texas30 The case was then appealed to the U S Supreme Court along with a Louisiana case the Supreme Court held that the Voting Rights Act did apply to judicial elections31 The case was then returned to the Fifth Circuit to examine whether minority voting strength was diluted and to determine the state s interest in maintaining countywide elections Ordinarily the federal courts of appeal do not preside as an entire group to hear cases instead they hear cases in panels of three judges Such a panel decided in favor of the minority plaintiffs and a settlement seemed to be reached with the state to have elections of judges from smaller districts in the larger counties However in important cases it is sometimes possible to appeal a decision of a panel of three judges to the entire court of appeal When this happens the court is said to sit en banc That happened when some of the defendants in the suit were unhappy with the settlement and the entire Fifth Circuit ruled in 1993 that party af liation of minority candidates eXplained the failure of minority judicial candidates to win election rather than the candidates minority status Thus countywide election of judges was not illegal and there was no legal need to reduce the size of districts from which judges were elected32 Since that decision minority leaders and minority groups have continued to express concerns about the small numbers of minority judges but any solution that would involve smaller districts would have to result from an act of the legislature rather than the actions of a federal court Judicial reform bills in the legislature since this decision have included provisions for smaller judicial districts but those bills have not passed Perhaps the strongest judicial reform bill was one backed by thenDemocratic lieutenant governor Bob Bullock who createda task force to try to develop anacceptable compromise on the judicial selection issue The proposed en banc referring to an appellate hearing with all judges participating JUDICIAL POLITICS 293 constitutional amendment designed by the task force passed the Texas Senate in 1995 but failed to pass the Texas House Under the plan all appellate judges would be appointed by the governor District judges on the other band would be chosen from county commissioner precincts in nonpartisan elections After serving for a a 1 quot quot a a retention eiectisn an election in time they would run countywide in retention elections in which there would be a WhiCh VOters decide Whether yes or no vote on their retention in of ce and where they would face no op keep an incumbent in office by ponent on the ballot liming yes or no to retain the On the surface the compromise seemed to offer something for almost every incumbent and where there IS no a v A Opposing candidate one Because the governor appointed appellate judges judges would have greater 39 9 career security and no worries about campaign funding The business community recognizing that Texas tended to elect conservative governors and was increasingly likely to elect conservative Republican governors got appointed appellate judges Nonpartisan elections would protect trial judges from party sweeps in which judges are voted out of of ce solely because of their party af liation Minorities would get smaller judicial districts for the major trial courts But what looked r o 39 a like a great compromise fell through Although African Americans supported the compromise Latinos did not The two largest counties in Texas Harris and Dal las elected a total of 96 of the 386 district judges then chosen in Texas Under the compromise onefourth of Harris and Dallas county judges would be elected a 1quot from each of the county commissioners precincts in that county Both Dallas and g 0 Harris counties had three white county commissioners and one African American O a a Latinos on the other hand elected no county commissioner and believed that the compromise would not promote the election of more Latino judges They believed that to elect Latino judges considerably smaller districts were needed As a result 39 39 39 39 much Latino support was not forthcoming Further the political parties opposed the compromise Nonpartisan elections might protect the interests of judges but they weakened the political parties Additionally an appointive system for appel late judges reduced the number of elective of ces thereby reducing the role of 39 9 the political parties Although his powers would have increased with an appointed g a j appellate judiciary Governor George W Bush opposed the compromise probably a e e 39 a 6 9 because he did not want to oppose the Republican Party Because the plan had the i support of Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock and because he gave the legislation A priority on his legislative agenda that year it passed the Texas Senate However the proposal died in the Texas House The Bullock proposal was probably the best hope for judicial change for a long time to come33 One of the business community s underlying concerns about smaller districts seemed to be a fear that small districts might create a narrower electorate for judges That narrow electorate might in some areas prove unduly sympathetic to plaintiffs who le suit against businesses Whatever the cause of the low number of minority judges the lack of diversity on the bench the role of money in judicial 4 3 races the defeat of incumbents the importance of party label topof theticket voting and the name game have all created support for alternative judicial selec tion systems 5 eaternative Means of neiection Judges are selected in the United States by a variety of ways One way is through appointment by the governor and approval by the state Senate This method is f used in Texas to select judges to new courts or courts where there has been a death resignation or retirement during a judicial term It is also similar to the system forfij selecting federal judges who are appointed by the president and con rmed by vote s h tjefi0n2390r 294 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY amp of the US Senate However this method of judicial selection is contrary to Texas s traditional distrust of a powerful chief executive At a time when Texas governors are Republicans it also is not a system that Democrats tend to favor Another system for selecting judges is nonpartisan election Such a system for selecting judges in Texas would eliminate much of the partisan politics but at the same time it would make it more dif cult for candidates to reach voters This is because in a truly nonpartisan election judicial candidates would have to run for of ce without the bene t of political parties in some states that have ostensibly nonpartisan elections such as Ohio the parties continue to take an active role to the point that it is dif cult to distinguish that type of nonpartisan system from a V T 5 a f i partisan election system If Texas instituted a truly nonpartisan system however 39 39 J UdlClal as candidates would require even more campaign money to reach voters they could i 439 I 39 l I 39 i 39 no longer reach through the mechanisms of the political parties Most commonly however judicial reformers argue for a system of judicial selec on merit selection a judicial reform tion that is commonly called merit selection of judges in this system a blueribbon l I i as Maryland 911038 island Wider WhiCh JUdgeS WOUld be chmmittee consisting of lawyers and lay people supplies to the governor the names i W M a gg iizjficut 35135 use titan i r nominated by a bluei ibbon of a small number of candidates for a judgeship The governor makes the judicial 39 7 3975 I Delaware New Haipshire digger Do a l 39 1 I b iz t committee39 woum be appoi te appointment from this list39 and after the judge serves for a brief time he or she a Hawa New M xico Wyoming I f I i IS H by the governor and after a brief y I 4 p z 8 use tool period in O ice39 would run in 3 runs in a retention election In a retention election the incumbent does not have an retention election opponent instead voters are as ed whether the incumbent should be retained for p 4 p N another term of of ce The voters then vote yes or no on the judge s retention r Many stat As might be expected in an election where one does not have an opponent the j W W 4 39 g f 391 mam N393ako ta incumbent usually wins One study of retention elections found that only 16 per Mi I 39 55 snitch Oregon i i i cent of incumbent judges were defeated in retention elections34 Yet from time to Gubernatorial or l h t 13man 2 2 time interest groups will organize against a judge in a retention election and Spend legiS39ame appmmmen 51pm mom I I a great deal of money trying to defeat him or her sometimes those efforts have I A California Virginia gmemo r Qi wonmn to same on the Texas been successful One of the great concerns about merit selection is the nature of 39 3fersey 339 Gamma Summm Com0 zz 6 the merit selection commissmn because those commissioners lter out all but a 4 a Wear26y on the court Guzman halld d 0f PI OSPeCtiVe lUdgesr some are ql te feal Of this centralized mathOd 0f Partisan eiection i i fht1t ls g a fix 39 39 was elected to a full term in the determining who should be judges and although there is much support for merit Merit selection through nominating commission Nonpartisanolection f In 2009 Rick Perry appointed Eva Guzmanwrite rst Latina Combined merit Alabama Ohio Arizona New York 9 Pennsie lvania j 39 g Florida Oklahoma j 1 In recent years one of the most popular reform proposals has been a system Louisiana Texas I i Indiana 5 Dakota are mt Ste 0 the bailo known as appointelect retain Under this system the governor would ap quot a PM W Virginia 32 4 Kansas Tennessee point a judge with con rmation by twothirds of the state Senate The governor 3 a 39 39 aroma 1 39 39 Missouri 009155339 appointed nominee would not assume of ce untii con rmed by the Senate which zquot N V j 5 p and Olhefimemods would meet year round for the purpose of dealing with judicial con rmations quot 39 l 39 l i in the rst election thereafter the judge would run in a contested nonpartisan election and subsequently in retention elections This is of course a hybrid plan that encompasses aspects of gubernatorial appointment nonpartisan election and merit selection a Another reform plan would have appellate vacancies lled by gubernatorial ap a i f a Merit segectlon wough pointment with senatorial con rmation The appellate judges would then run in 1 nominating commission nonpartisan elections followed by retention elections In Dallas Tarrant and Bexar p j 3Gubemafofiag or Fegmame counties district court judges would be elected from county commissioner pre quot i i appolntment without cincts rather than from one district encompassing the entire county Additionally il c mina g mm 5quot in Iiarris County district judges would be elected from smaller geographic regions 4 Parssan erection 4 than county commissioner precincts Supporters of this plan tend to believe that it H p would increase the number of minority judges especially trial court judges in ur39 1 iif ban areas Of course this is also a hybrid plan designed to combine various reform 430 mb md may selection proposals in order to gain suf cient support to become the new way Texas selects and Other mamas 39 ifff its judges 2 8 ii 5a are x 1 39 39 39 a 539 39 Wm I 2010 election 39 selection in Texas there is also much opposition N quot r quotHMS 2x I c Nonpartisan election ithout nominatlng commission URCE American Judicature Society Judiciai Selection in the States httperudicialselectionus accessed 51414 CHAPT R 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY 75 i lt3 At least for the time being however it seems likely that not much will change in the way Texas selects its judges Restructuring the system would be a major change and these are always dif cult to initiate Changing might upset many vot ers who like being able to vote for judges and it would surely upset the politi cal parties which like having large numbers39of judicial candidates running under their party label It might also upset lawyers accustomed to the traditional ways of selecting judges and even judges who have bene ted from the present system That has led some to argue that judicial reform needs to be less drastic and more r incremental These reformers have suggested lengthening judicial terms of of ce on the grounds that longer terms mean fewer election contests and therefore less need for campaign money less of a chance for defeat of incumbents and less in volvement of judges in politics Another proposed incremental reform is to remove judges from the straight party vote This means that a voter would actually have to cast a ballot for the judicial candidate rather than simply voting for everyone on the Republican or Democratic column by casting a straight party vote Such a reform would remove judicial candidates from the effects of topoftheticket vot ing it would of course also reduce the votes that judges receive and lessen their dependence and reliance on the political parties Still another suggested reform is to increase the levels of experience needed to serve on the bench The idea is that even if judicial races are subject to the whims of voters high quali cations for judges would mean that there would be experienced judges on the bench rather than highly inexperienced judges who won simply because they were good cam paigners or because they had the right party af liation in that election year ivii ases and Tort Reform Figure 92 shows the numbers of civil cases disposed of by the courts of appeal and the trial courts in 2006 2010 and 20 2 The Texas court system is overloaded and would not be able to function adequately without the aid of visiting judges who are retired or defeated judges who continue hearing cases in order to assist with the growing caseloads The Texas Supreme Court sets the tone for civil cases throughout the state Most important of those types of cases because of the large amounts of money involved is tort law Tort law refers to civil cases in which one person has been harmed by the actions of another For example medical malpractice cases are a common type of tort case In the early to mid19805 the court tended to be sympathetic to the plaintiffs positions in tort cases That is the court tended to support the side in a case that was suing businesses professionals and insurance companies However in 1988 more justices began to be elected who favored the defendants in civil lawsuits One reason for this change was that in 1988 Repub lican justices began to be elected and they were more conservative than many of the previous justices who were Democrats Another explanation is that inter 5 est groups that were harmed by the proplaintiff tendencies of the court began to organize raise and spend money and elect justices more sympathetic to their perspective In the 19803 plaintiffs lawyers lawyers who sue businesses professionals and insurance companies worked to elect proplaintiff justices The tide turned Judicial Campaign Fairness Perhaps the most signi cant judicial reform in TeXas is the Judicial Campaign and business prefessmnal and insurance interests were now electing prodefense 39 Act a judicial reform that places Fairness Act Texas is the only state with a campaign nance regulation of this type f 39 l m39ts 039 JUd39C39a39 Campa39g Among the most important aspects of compliance with the act are campaign con39 contributions tribution limitations For example statewide judicial candidates limit themselves to contributions of no more man from any individual in any election 600000 w ditionally statewide candidates can receive no more than 30000 per election 339 I from any law rm Although the amounts of money that can be donated are stille 500 000 N v quitequot high there has been a signi cant reduction from contribution amounts inf the 19805 when prior to the act some donors would give candidates 25000 50000 and even more in campaign contributions A recent strengthening of 39 campaign contribution limits requires that if a judge receives campaign contribu39g tions from a party to a lawsuit or if the party s lawyer had made contributions in excess of the limits in the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act the judge would recuser him or herself from the case36 39 For many the role of money in judicial campaigns is the most troubling issue Texas judicial politics As long as judges are elected however money will be necese sary to run judicial campaigns and where elections are competitive a great deal campaign money will be necessary a I I wing 39 v gt c u it 4 is 4 got 539 39 x 2 Am Issues in the Texas Court System 4 Courts of District County level El appeals courts 39 courts 3 One of the most important issues in Texas has been tort reform which is the effort to change the system for awarding damages in lawsuits where harm is claimed Tort form has had important effects on the T exa39 judiciary 39 I CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY ISSUES IN THE TEXAS COURT SYSTEM justices In 1996 97 civil defendants won threefourths of the time and insur ance companies won almost all their substantive cases Physicrans hospitals and pharmaceutical companies won all seven of their cases before the Texas Supreme Court In 199798 civil defendants won 69 percent of the time However by 1998 99 the court was not as strongly prodefendant perhaps because of several new justices on the court who were regarded as somewhat moderate in their ju dicial philosophy In insurance cases defendants won only 40 percent of the time plaintiffs won 40 percent of the time and the decision of the court was a split decision 20 percent of the time Defendants in medical cases typically hospitals or doctors however still won 100 percent of the time38 Most recently the court seems to have shifted strongly in favor of civil defendants A study of the decisions of the Texas Supreme Court in tort cases found that defendants won 87 percent of the time39 Still another study of the Texas courts of appeal also found a strongly prodefendant pattern in civil matters When plaintiffs in tort cases won at the trial court level and the defendants appealed the appellate courts reversed the decision 39 percent of the time When defendants in civil cases prevailed and the plaintiffs appealed the trial court decision was reversed only 25 percent of the time The authors of this study add Tort reform measures enacted by the legislature as well as Texas Supreme Court decisions favoring tort defendants have discouraged some plaintiffs from ling suit at all 0 it is this power of the lexas Supreme Court to set the tone in civil cases that makes that court a political battleground since millions even billionsmdf dollars can be at stake as a result of the court 5 decisions indieiai hatriets Texas judges may be elected but Texas judges do not represent an electorate like legislators or county commissioners do As a result Texas judges are not subject to redistricting according to the one person one vote standards used in districting officials in legislative bodies The result is that Texas judicial districts are a hodge podge of jurisdictions Things have not changed since a 1993 report that critiCized the structure of the Texas courts That report stated The framers of our current Constitution deliberately designed a system to local ize justicequot establishing a multiplicity of largely autonomous conveniently located courts across the state With the passage of time the organization of the courts has become more not less cumbersome A case may frequently be eligible for ling in more than one court either became of overlapping geographical boundaries or overlapping subject matter jurisdiction Courts with the same name may have dif ferent responsibilities and similar places may have quite dissimilar court structures An illustration of this cumbersome court structure can be found in the district court structure in Anderson County in east Texas There are four district courts in Anderson County One of those courts also has jurisdiction in Henderson and Houston counties one of them also has jurisdiction in Freestone Leon and LameE39 stone counties one has jurisdiction in Houston County and the fourth has JUI ISEquot diction in Cherokee County Bastrop County has three district courts two them have jurisdiction only in Bastrop County but the third court has jurisdiction 5 in Bastrop Burleson Lee and Washington counties Dallas County has 39 district courts all with jurisdiction solely in Dallas County Since district court judges 300 CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY have fouryear terms that means there may be roughly 20 district court judge ships on the ballot in Dallas County in any general election Harris County has 59 district courts which means there might be about 30 district court judgeships on the ballot in Harris County And of course the number of judgeships on the bal lot is even more overwhelming for voters39because Dallas County also has 16 courts at law and 3 probate courtsmnot to mention ll justice of the peace courts at the precinct level Harris County has 19 courts at law in addition to the 59 district courts and 16 precinctlevel justice of the peace courts These judgeships do not include appellate courts 2 The idea may be that state judges should be accountable to voters through elections but when there are numerous judicial contests and since most judicial contests are low visibility races it is hard for a voter to cast a thoughtful ballot but very easy to simply vote on the basis of the party af liation of the judicial candidate The hole at Lawyers Lawyers occupy a crucial role in the legal process in order to practice law one must be a licensed lawyer and in order to be licensed in Texas it is generally necessary to complete a Juris Doctor JD degree at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association Usually this degree takes three years beyond the bachelor s degree if the law student attends fulltime After completing law school it is necessary for a prospective lawyer to take the state bar exam After passing the Texas state bar one may be sworn as a lawyer in Texas Texas has an integrated bar which means that all licensed lawyers in the state must join and pay dues to j the State Bar of Texas That agency offers a variety of services to lawyers such as insurance plans a journal and professional meetings Since lawyers must undergo continuing education the state bar authorizes continuing education credit for a number of educational programs The State39Bar of Texas is unusual in that it is not only a professional organization of lawyers but also an agency of government that is charged with enforcing ethical standards for the profession Lawyers can be disci plined for a variety of infractions ranging from serious criminal behavior to failing to keep a client informed of the status of a legal matter to failure to promptly pay out funds from a legal settlement The state bar may also enforce rules against illegal efforts to generate litigation in 2012 for example a Houston lawyer was disciplined for permitting a nonlawyer to make a number of telephone calls from the lawyer s of ce to patient rooms at a large Houston hospital for the purpose of soliciting legal business for the lawyer43 Illegal generation of litigation is commonly known as barratry and the state legislature has become so concerned about lawyers inappropriately generating le gal business that in 2011 it passed new legislation that allows for a penalty of up to 10000 and the recovery of attorney s fees The goal of the new legislation Was to prevent what is commonly known as ambulance chasing something that appears to continue to be a problem in spite of longstanding state bar rules against it Some of the horror stories of barratry include people being solicited to sign con tracts with lawyers for lawsuits at home in hospitals and even during funerals At times the relatives of accident victims have been offered large payments to sign a contract with a39particular lawyer to le a lawsuit44 It is too early to assess the value of the new law in discouraging barratry though three months after the law was passed the rst barratry lawsuit was led against two south Texas lawyers who were accused of ring their office manager when she ISSUES IN THE TEXAS COURT SYSTEM 30 1 5 l l STAR FIND A LAW YER 39 iirii 39r39iu39 urwrr do u af39 quottoon 391 Ammi 5 run lmWFIKS ma 39nIE PUHUC Iwv1as GIVING IMCK NEWS AND I39uamcw39nom EVEN IS AI E s31 341 Texas Bar Posts s39lay39 Ul quot39J39ijr39 f rom 21an Bar of Turin g I m is ul 23911 25min l iii15 rmsi Hg quot A quot Iliulnycs 3 Fa Inn Thaw gamma1 Find Loam Research 5 Insurance I Find lawyers in your area 5 Explore our library of Acccss free Inga research 5 Exchange 333 Member Benefits Gl s for using our advanced free legal information here i t 39 Occasions search Exp quotm 0 quot ovum a mm 5mm io w39 I Tau 39 today quot Ii izslimliJ39mlicuni39ivc39l i1lgs r Amali39l39ilis inkriskingquot l ruftss nn 3 EEEETPHH ili UUlltCIIb NEWS amp INFORMATION rvyug ng 39 Allan K Dullois has been elected Stale Bu of39l exas presidentelect for 20142015 ngwlggogggg C Barrett l hmnus has been ctcclcd Texas Young lawyers Aazoda on presidentclcct for 20142015 111933142 resulgj RomI the grass claim Are you a veteran looking for legal assistance More Hum 10000 veterans have been helped by 300039l exus attorneys through the 39l ems lawyers for39l exas Vctcmns tvllcrcso ii13untiloutlmu intuit it Michael Morton lm 39a 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all 50 slnlc s with Q glmlgc tgyjl cscnrch The State Bar of Texas webpage shows the variety of activities of the state bar Every lawyer licensed to practice in T23an must be a member of the State Bar of Texas bonus payment for illegally soliciting and referring cases to the lawyers45 in 2012 state representative Ronald Reynolds was arrested for the crime of barratry Reyn olds who was a supporter of the new barratry law in 2011 was charged with illegally soliciting clients on his own and through the office of a chiropractor The alleged scheme to solicit clients was discovered when a runncr a person used by an attorney to solicit clients for the attorneymapproached an attorney who was involved in a car accident The runner tried to get the attorney in the accident to hire Representative Reynolds to represent her but the accident victim instead reported that solicitation to authorities46 That charge against Reynolds fell apart when an investigator in the case was arrested for stealing evidence in a case But Reynolds was arrested a second time on another barratry charge for allegedly pay ing a man kickbacks who would examine accident reports and then approach and persuade accident victims to Sign contracts for legal representation47 In 2010 there were slightly more than 77000 active lawyers in Texas and more than 12 million active lawyers in the United States In Texas 3056 active lawyers exist for every 10000 people and in the United States as a whole 3842 active lawyers exist for every 10000 people48 With the decline in the number of legal 1 jobs during the Great Recession both in Texas and nationally there is much discus sion about whether there are too many lawyers although it seems likely that the demand for lawyers will increase with an improvement in the economy Of course lawyers trained in outofstatc law schools may take the bar exam and be licensed CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY refused to Sign a contract with them where the of ce manager would receive a in Texas but the state has a substantial number of law schools the University of Texas Texas Tech Texas Southern St Mary39s South Texas Southern Methodist University Baylor and Texas Wesleyan A new law school in Dallas the University of North Texas College 1 of Law opened in 2014 In spite of the weakened job market for lawyers Texas has law schools aplenty The legal process in Texas relies on lawyers Constitutional county court judges are not required to be lawyers and justices of the peace do not have to be lawyers but all other judges must be learned in the law a term found in the Texas Constitu tion whose meaning has come to require a law degree Even justice of the peace courts which in theory are informal courts where people can easily resolve their minor criminal and civil issues often have rules of operation that would be confusing to nonlawyers The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and Evi dence for example apply to civil cases in justice of the peace courts although not when justices of the peace sit as judges in small claims courts a distinction that itself is confusing to non lawyers and much of the litigation in justice of the peace 1courts involves lawyers who for example are representing businesses trying to col cct debts or apartment complexes trying to evict a tenant Of course in civil and awycr ntage if criminal litigation it is possible for a layperson to pursue a case without a 1 but it 15 generally recognized that nonlawycrs are at a signi cant disadva they are Without legal help in either a civil or a criminal proceeding quot iccpluo or judgoo The State Commission on Judicial Conduct was created by a constitutional amendment in 1965 It is charged with investigating allegations of judicial miscon duct and disability and is charged with discipline of judges There are 13 members on the commission and they serve sixyear terms Members of the commission are unpaid The commission also has a staff of 14 In 201 1 the commission spent nearly 997000 mostly on staff salaries The commission is an unusual hybrid ggency in that two attorney members are appointed by the state bar and the six jud rules and the legislatively imposed requirements in which case it would be uiicliar what the commission should do Still another problem With the ICOIITI39I39IISSIOI I is a because it deals with ethical issues of judges its decision making is done be In closed doors and thus the commission lacks openness and transparency in dec1sion making Still other than impeachment by the legislature or criminail prosicution of judges both rare and extreme measures the commissipn is the on y mec anism for regulating ethical and legal conduct of Texas judges I In 2012 the commission imposed 49 sanctions on judges and three suspenSiolrlis of judges In addition the commission accepted three re31gnations of judges w 3 chose to resign rather than to be sanctioned The commissmn canrecommen public censure or removal of a judge or the judge s involuntary retirement Ida sevenjudge review tribunal that is composed of the chief jUSUC if Teflras an 1 appellate judges The review tribunal s dec1Sion can be appeale 1321 tOeCh a eci i judge to the Supreme Court of Texas No such case occurred in 20 Jf er eh sions of the commission can be appealed by the affected judge to a court 0 revrew consisting of three appellate judges Three such cases occurred in 2012 I 39Most of the disciplinary actions of the commission involve private sancppgis of the judge In 2012 34 sanctions were of a private nature and CO SlSteh o d e commission providing a private admonition warning or reprimand to t e juhge admonitions are less severe sanctions than are warnings which are less szievere an are reprimands In 13 of the private sanction cases judges were ord ere to 0 tag additional training In only eight cases were sanctions made public law were pun lic admonitions one was a warning one was a reprimand and one was apub dc sanction with an order for continuing education of the judge Public repriman s do have especially serious consequences for judges as often when judges Ire cire they become visiting judges where they are paid to hear cases when Sitting ju ges In another widely publicized case in 2013 Judge Elizabeth Coker see photo on p 285 a district court judge in Trinity Polk and San Jacinto counties resigned rather than face discipline from the conduct commission Judge Coker allegedly texted a prosecutor in the gallery during a trial when she disliked how a witness was being questioned and urged that the examining prosecutor should ask differ ent questions that might yield greater success i trality expected of a judge in a case52 The most widely publicized disciplinary case against a judge in recent years was the one against the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Sharon Keller As discussed in the introduction to this chapter Judge Keller re fused to keep the clerk s of ce at the court Open beyond 5 PM to receive an appeal from death row inmate Michael Richard As a result Richard was executed later that evening Although Keller received a public warning as a disciplinary action by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct she was successful in her litigation against the discipline by arguing that a warning cannot be a penalty following a for mal proceeding against a judge Reelected to another sixyear term in 2012 with 5549 percent of the vote she remains the presiding judge of the court n the case thus violating the neu 9 Thinking Critically about the Judiciary in Texas Texas elects its judges in partisan judicial elections For many years when the quot Democratic Party was dominant Texas judicial elections were staid lowbudget noncompetitive events However with the growth of the Republican Party ju are on vacation or where dockets are overloaded and they also continue to be pald dicial elections became highly political and large amounts of money have been retirement income Judges who receiVe a pUbliC reprimand are HOT aHOWEd to serve raised for judicial candidates especially in Texas Supreme Court races Often these as visiting judges A disproportionate share of sanctions are against justices of the peace 3O of the 49 sanctions in 2012 were against justices of the peace llwas against a county constitutional court judge I against an appellate judgel against a cpounty court at law judge 6 against district judges and 10 against munic1pal judges In Ad A widely publicized disciplinary case occurred against Judge W1 ram arms In 2012 Judge Adams a county court of law judge in Aransas County Tehxas suspended for a time and then disciplined by a public warning In 2011 is a 1 daughter released a videotape on the Internet that depicted the judge heatingJf er when she was 16 years old in 2004 He struck her at least 17 times yelled pro ani ties and threatened additional harm to her The release of the Video led to inter national media coverage In the course of the investigation of the matter incidents were also discovered where Judge Adams appeared to display anger and a poor judicial demeanor toward some attorneys in his courtroom The comm1331on 121 1 eluded quotthat Judge Adams actions depicted in the 2004 Videotape once Sub 1 released cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially as a ju ge an I interfered with the proper performance of his judiCial duties The COITIIIliSSlO 39 also concluded that Judge Adams treatment of certain attorneys in his court room fell far below the minimum standards of patient courteous and digni e courtroom demeanor expected of judicial of cials As a result the commissron 39 51 condemned Judge Adams s behaVior by issuing a public warning CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDICIARY judicial races pitted business interests against candidates backed by the plaintiffs bar because the Texas Supreme Court sets the tone of tort law in the state These elections have calmed down in recent years as the Democratic Party has weakened and at least in statewide races judicial elections have become less competitive There have been problems in Texas judicial races in large part because voters often don t know much about judicial candidates As a result voters often decide on the basis of the candidate s party af liation or the candidate s name appeal The result has been the election of several judicial candidates who lacked signi cant quali cations for the job Numerous efforts have been proposed to change the way judges are selected in Texas There have been efforts to change the system of selection to merit selec tion and to nonpartisan election Minority groups have pushed to reduce the size of judicial districts in order to increase the election of minority judges However no change so far has been successful No majority coalition can agree on appropri ate changes in the judicial selection system and signi cant opposition to change comes from groups such as the political parties and business interests Additionally Texans seem satis ed with the current system of selection and seem to prefer to elect their judges Recent injustices in the Texas criminal system do raise questions Iabout how the system can be improved One might speculate that a criminal justice system in which both judgesand prosecutors are elected creates political pressures to gain convictions at all costs quot x In 5 a 13 l v I o h Texas courts handle large caseloads of both c1V1l and cr1minlal caseiiTRhe hlijgllim epu 39 39 Supreme Court currenty an a 39 i1 court in the state 18 the Texas 39 se cwurt elected with strong support from busmess 1nterests The coirtfas lyeenme11 Zrel criticized for being too sympathetic to those interests The 1g etst c2112 an courty in the state is the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals That cour ist rs and allRepublican court which was elected with strong support frog prosei t court ictims rights groups Perhaps its most important function is as e appe v he death enalty in the state td forBfecause thPe Texas court system effects the liberty and especially the 1123er books of Texans it will continue to be an area of concern and iontroversyg WhiCh most controversial area of Texas justice will continue to be t e process y judges are selected CHAPTER 9 THE TEXAS JUDlCiARY Court Structure 39 Describe hawthe39 Tee39s sour system is organized The appellate court system in Texas is divided into civil and criminal tracks with the Texas Supreme Court being the highest statelevel court for civil cases and the Texas Crimi nal Court of Appeals being the highest for criminal cases Texas has an intermediate appellate court system and trial courts that range from district courts for the most important criminal and civil cases to county courts for less important criminal and civil cases tojustice of the peace and munici pal courts fcr settling the lowest level of conflicts Key Terms Texas Supreme Court p 277 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals p 279 courts of appeal p 279 district courts p 279 county judge p 279 county courts p 279 statutory county courts at law p 280 statutory probate courts p 280 justice of the peace courts p 280 The Legal Process Explaiiit39h39e39 39r ga39l pld e39ss aiid 39tii diir 39reh s 39 39 between criminai39amr civillair rip zszsssr Civil law is dramatically different from criminal law with the burden of proof relying on different standards Plaintiffs are the initiators of legal actions in civil cases Defendants in civil cases reapond to accusations made against them Civil cases may lead to trial or dismissal by ajudge They may also be resolved by a settlement between the parties The state is a prosecutor in a criminal case and the accused individual is the defendant Criminal cases can result in a trial a dismissal or a plea bargain Key Terms civil law p 282 criminal law p 282 complaint p 282 municipal courts p 281 ordinance p 282 Practice Quiz 1 The highest criminal court in the state of Texas is the a Texas Supreme Court b Texas Court of Appeals 0 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals d county court a district court 2 The major trial courts in Texas are the a courts of appeals b justice of the peace courts 0 district courts cl municipal courts e county courts 3 Which of the following positions in the judiciary are filled primarily by nonlawyers a Texas Supreme Courtjustices b districtjudges c justices of the peace cl Texas Criminal Court of Appeals justices e probate judges answer p 282 contingent fee p 282 preponderance of the evidence p 283 capital case p 283 felony p 284 misdemeanor p 284 grand jury p 284 indictment p 284 bench trial p 284 plea bargain p 284 beyond a reasonable doubt p 285 Practice Quiz 4 Grand juries a determine the guilt of defendants b decide whether a trial of an accused is warranted STUDY GUIDE 30
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