Our “Meet the Statewides” Series: Texas Supreme Court & Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates

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Over the past ten weeks, the Texas Democratic Party promoted an unprecedented “Meet the Statewides” campaign on our website. Each week, we promoted content for our statewide candidates on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. We asked candidates to submit a video, write an original op-ed, and provide biographical information. We at the TDP also penned an issue piece, sent out all material to our e-mail list, and created duplicative Spanish-language pages for each candidate.

In the coming days, we'll be revisiting the campaign. Today, we begin with our Texas Supreme Court & Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates. Click on the links below to learn more about our statewide Democrats, and how you can help them win in 2010.

Keith Hampton for Court of Criminal Appeals

If elected, Keith Hampton will be the only judge who has handled death penalty cases in all stages of litigation – from accusation, trial, appeal and all post-conviction proceedings, including appearing before the Supreme Court of the United States.

  • From Keith Hampton op-ed:

There are no “Democratic” decisions or “conservative” analyses; there is only the exposition of law in an impartial manner. The force and persuasiveness of the reasoning of judicial opinions must stand on their own. Political labeling is best left in the legislative branch. In this democratic society, the judicial branch of government must remain outside the lawmaking world and avoid the political storms and policy shifts of the day. In this way, judges can conduct their decisionmaking in an impartial way, free from the pressures of competing interest groups. Law itself is thereby strengthened, sustained by a judiciary that moves cautiously and skeptically on the issues before it.

The “totalitarian wing” of the Court has a well-documented and thoroughly perplexing history of unprofessional actions. From the “sleeping lawyer” case in October 2000, to investigations into the judicial conduct of Sharon Keller in 2007, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is in desperate need of professional, accountable judges on its bench.

Click on the “There's More” button below to read about our Texas Supreme Court candidates…

Blake Bailey for Texas Supreme Court, Place 9

Tyler attorney Blake Bailey, 63, has tried over 150 jury trials ranging from negligence, consumer and environmental protection, to industrial disease. He has also acted as lead counsel in approximately 40 appellate decisions.

When the Supreme Court of Texas issues a finding of “no evidence,” and they are doing so at an alarming rate, they are in effect saying that the decisions of the 12 citizens who listened to the evidence as it was presented, the trial judge and the three Court of Appeals judges were ‘unreasonable’. This action is tantamount to stealing our right to a trail by jury….a right that is guaranteed by both the U.S. and Texas constitutions.

From 2000-2008, the more money donated to Texas’ Supreme Court justices, the higher the chance of success. A study conducted by the non-partisan consumer advocacy group, Texas Watch, showed that the success rate among donors who gave to the justices on the Supreme Court increased based on how much the donors gave. Here’s a breakdown of their findings:

  • 345 donors who had cases before the court gave less than $10,000. They had a success rate – a favorable court ruling – of 54%.
  • 44 donors who had cases before the court gave between $10,000 and $24,999. Those 44 donors had a 58% success rate on their cases.
  • 48 donors who had cases before the court gave more than $25,000. Those 48 donors had a whopping 64% success rate on their cases.

Bill Moody for Texas Supreme Court, Place 5

  • From Bill Moody bio:

As a District Judge who has tried over 500 felony and civil jury trials, Judge Bill Moody knows what it takes to dispense justice with integrity and efficiency – he’s been doing it for over 23 years. He puts in long hours at the courthouse because he knows that justice delayed is justice denied – which is why he listens carefully to both sides of the case and treats everyone who walks into his courtroom with dignity and respect.

Judge Moody in 2006 ran for the Texas Supreme Court and received forty-five percent of the vote compared to his opponents fifty-one percent, the closest any Democrat has come to wining any statewide office in many years.  Judge Moody chose to take his campaign directly to the people and walked 1,027 miles from El Paso to Louisiana.  Judge Moody spent forty-four days and nights talking to Texans from every walk of life and carefully listening to their concerns.  He met Texans where they work and live: in barbershops and beauty parlors, at gas stations and convenience stores, at fire and police stations, in schools and churches, at city halls and county courthouses, in homes, parks, playgrounds and small businesses.  Justice Green in stark contrast spent much of his campaign time talking to the political elite, CEO’s, large civil defense firms and the country club set.

Of 144 rulings issued in fiscal year 2007, Justice Paul Green issued an opinion in only four cases. That’s right – Paul Green issued a ruling in less than 3% of cases in which the Texas Supreme Court took action, the fewest of any Justice on the Court.

Jim Sharp for Texas Supreme Court, Place 3

Jim Sharp was unable to provide the TDP with a web video, an op-ed, or any material for an issue piece. The following is from his “Meet the Statewides” page:

Jim Sharp is a Judge on the Texas First District Court of Appeals. Before his election to the Court, he worked as a solo attorney in the general practice of law for many years.

Judge Sharp grew up in Dallas and attended South Texas College of Law where he earned his degree while clerking full time.

Judge Sharp opted to not record a video for the Meet the Statewides campaign. However, you can learn more about him by checking out these articles:

Texas Lawyer
Off the Kuff – an older, but interesting and in-depth interview
Half Empty – Learn what constituents had to say about Judge Jim Sharp during his campaign for Texas’ First Court of Appeals.

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