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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.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Who's Running for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Price's Old Seat?

Lots of action in races for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals seats. Tom Price, Paul Womack, and Cathy Cochran are not running for reelection.

Former federal prosecutor and former state district judge Bert Richardson and San Angelo state district judge Barbara Walther- best known for being the trial judge in the Warren Jeffs/FLDS cases- are seeking the Republican nomination to run for Price's old seat. The winner of that race will face Democrat El Paso criminal lawyer John Granberg and Libertarian Mark Bennett, author of the excellent Houston blog Defending People.

Readers of this blog will remember that I hold Warren Jeffs's petition to the CCA to be the worst appellate brief ever written.

Will have to put off the other two races to a later post.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Even Five Days After the Filing Deadline, the TXSecState, Other Information Sources and I Miss Joe Pool's SCOTX Bid

I told you about how Republican Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Lawrence Edward Meyers switched from the GOP to being a Democrat and running as that party's nominee against incumbent Texas Supreme Court Jeff Brown, and even though I waited five days after the filing deadline and cross-checked with other blogs and newspapers to see who all were running, Joe Pool, Jr.'s candidacy

only appeared on the Texas Secretary of State's office after Saturday, December 14, 2013. The photo above is of the candidate with his wife Leslie. He's a Republican running against Brown for the nomination. A son of the late Congressman Joe Pool, Sr., Pool emphasizes his Christian faith and his Texas values. Last election cycle he, along with Republican John Phillip Devine, challenged incumbent Texas Supreme Court Justice Republican David Medina. Of the three of them, Pool had the least money, and he pulled the fewest votes. Pool then threw his support behind Devine, which is how Devine won.
So Brown's going to have Pool running against him to his right in the primary and Meyers running against him to his left in the general election.

I said in the last post that my posts were only as accurate as the TXSecState's website, which is still the most authoritative internet source of information though it be as slow as molasses to post its knowledge and never says "Now the info is complete."
I am going to edit the former incorrect post.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Corrections, and Two Friends Run against Good Justices

I tried to use the Texas Secretary of State's Election page to describe and handicap the appellate judge races a little. Not a good idea. It only reported my law school classmate Republican Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals Justice Sharon McCally's
challenge to Texas Supreme Court Phil Johnson
since yesterday. Sharon is smart and nice and well-turned-out and can be tough. Suspected by some of being a secret proponent of plaintiffs, she's been remarkably even-handed as a judge.  She does not appear to have ever gotten an office from Governor Perry.
I don't know anything bad about Justice Johnson. He is a former president of the Lubbock County Bar Association, and appears to have been a white-shoe defense lawyer in civil cases. Governor Perry raised him up to be a Supreme from being the Chief Justice of the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo.
Sharon's a strong campaigner and money-raiser, while at least as far as his SCOTX career goes, Johnson is a creature of the governor and will almost certainly have his support and his friends' support, so it's going to be a hard-fought race. And people don't talk about it much, but in a Texas state race it is some better to be from a big city than from an area that's more spread out. More campaign money in Houston than in Lubbock and Amarillo combined.

It also did not have my old friend Republican former State Representative Robert Talton's

bid to oust Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.
The winner of this contest will face perennial candidate El Paso 34th District Court judge Democrat William Moody also known as Bill Moody.
Hat tip to Don Cruse at the Supreme Court of Texas Blog. I guess there is no substitute for actually being on the ground.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Switch of Parties by a Statewide Appellate Judge and Other Political News about Texas's Supreme Court

Texas state judges are elected by the voters, except when they are appointed to fill unfinished terms. Texas's highest court-- whose jurisdiction is generally limited to civil matters-- is the Texas Supreme Court. For criminal matters in the Texas state system nothing is higher than the Court of Criminal Appeals. Their courts' jurisdiction cover the state-- every county. All of the courts above the trial level and lower than those two have jurisdiction over multiple counties. To apply to seek nomination of the Democratic or Republican parties for offices covering more than one county, one applies at the respective party state headquarters in Austin. If you try to find from the state Republican web site who the candidates are, the that site sends you to the Texas Secretary of State's site. which did not say and does not say that it is complete. I assume that after the last three days, SecState's site is current. Understand that they do not promise it is, and know that a person with a writ could get anything changed.

Day before yesterday I published lineups based on premature SecState information for which I am heartily sorry.

It is obvious to me that reporting the Texas appellate court races will require more than one post. This post will be about l'affaire Meyers and other SCOTX news. I will follow up with posts about the contest for a seat on the Beaumont bench and for seats on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and Texas courts of appeals' races.

1.  Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judge Lawrence Meyers switched from my Grand Old Party to the Democrats to run against Jeff Brown for a Texas Supreme Court seat. Don't know the backstory to this, but and Cynthia Hampton and I, among many others, don't understand why he's doing this. He does not have to leave his seat on the  CCA to run to be a Supreme. His CCA term ends January 2017. The Democrat blog Burnt Orange Report points out that this makes Meyers

the first Democrat statewide officeholder since the second millennium of the common era (1998). Here's what Jeff Brown looks like.
Poor fellow, he has drawn repeat candidate Joe Pool, Jr. as a primary opponent, who is discussed in the post after next I missed him the first couple of days.
2. The Chief Justice race is covered in a subsequent post; this corrects an error in an earlier version of this post.
3. Democrat Corpus/Edinburg Appeals Court Justice Gina Benavides
challenges Republican incumbent Jeff Brown.
4. The battle for Place Eight is covered in a subsequent post, correcting that contest's nonappearance in an earlier version of this post.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Federal Fifth Circuit Combines Statements of the Case and of Facts and Standardizes Record References for Automation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit adopted proposed rule changes that combine statements of the case and statements of facts in briefs into a single statement of the case. They also standardized record references in briefs so that the references would automatically hyperlink to the record. These changes took effect December 1. The Fifth Circuit is the federal appeals court for Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.