Yesterday I noted the seemingly early nature of the Houston Chronicle's election endorsements and mused that maybe other papers would be joining suit this year. While the Dallas Morning News isn't starting with the top of the ticket, they have joined the fray in announcing their slate of judicial endorsements at the local level and now for statewide offices.
In all 3 of the contested Supreme Court races they have opted for the Republican candidates.
But in the one contested statewide Court of Criminal Appeals race, the Dallas Morning News has endorsed Democrat Keith Hampton.
Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 6: Keith Hampton
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has developed a reputation as a court that turns its back on verdicts that need a second or third look.
It's easy to see why. Seven of the nine judges have backgrounds as prosecutors, and the presiding judge once campaigned as “pro-prosecutor.” Court-watchers recite a list of marquee cases of failed justice. The court's tilt is a concern, considering that Texas leads the nation in executions and has far more DNA-proven miscarriages of justice than any other state.
The Nov. 2 election for Place 6 on the court is an opportunity for a rebalancing. Austin defense attorney Keith Hampton, running against veteran Judge Michael Keasler, has the legal credentials and a perspective now missing on the court: If elected, he would be the only member to have involvement in a capital murder case from indictment all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.