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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Texas is one of  only two states-- Oklahoma is the other one-- that has more than one highest court. In addition to the Texas Supreme Court-- the highest court for civil matters, including juvenile cases-- the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest Texas court for criminal matters. Like the Texas Supreme Court, it has nine members, though it only had eight recently when an appointment to the court was delayed as an economy measure. Supreme Court members are called justices while the members of the CCA are only called judges.
Led by Presiding Judge Sharon Keller, a Dallas real estate heiress infamous for closing the court on an execution evening. The rest of the court is nondescript. Judge Tom Price, for example, claims on the CCA website to be only the third person from Dallas ever on the court. The Court made news a few years ago when it refused to grant a new trial to Jose Medellin, murderer of a pair of teenage girls in Houston even though the International Court of Justice had ruled in Medellin's favor.
All death penalty cases in Texas are automatically appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

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