About Me

My photo

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, October 11, 2015

Personable, Hard-Charging, Drug-Court Leader Wants to Replace Larry Meyers on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Spanning the state to bring you the constant variety of Texas Court of Criminal Appeals politics, I am finding candidates for next year's election. First up--366th District Court Judge Ray Wheless of Collin County (the county north of Dallas County, and red as a beet), seeking position two. It is currently occupied by Lawrence Meyers, who switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic.
Judge Wheless's court handles civil and criminal cases. He is married to Cynthia McCrann Wheless, presiding judge of Collin County's 417th District Court, which has a juvenile docket.
Born in Abilene, Wheless dropped out of school and joined the Air Force during the Vietnam era. He fixed fighter aircraft in California and came out four years later with a G.E.D. and four years of college under his belt. He got a Bachelor's in Business Administration in California and went to UT Law in Austin. He became an AV-rated specialist in civil trial law and personal injury trial law, served as president of the Plano Bar Association, the Collin County Bar Association, and the Plano Metro Rotary Club. A 35-year Republican Party activist, he was appointed a public member of the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, a county-court-at-law judge in 2000, a district court judge in 2009. He's been a member of the Texas Parental Rights Advisory Panel. His main claim for preferment is that he established Collin County's first misdemeanor and felony drug courts, is Chair of the Specialized Courts Advisory Council, and is President-elect of the Texas Association of Drug Court Professionals.

This guy is very charming and energetic. I've had two phone conversations with him and enjoyed both of them immensely, Since I interviewed him in July, he has been to more political functions in my home county, Montgomery, than I have. What kind of Court of Criminal Appeals judge would he make? Only God knows. He doesn't have a background as an appellate lawyer nor as a prosecutor nor as a criminal defense attorney.
Houston criminal district judge Mary Lou Keel is the other person in this race with a campaign committee. I intend to have a piece about her at the end of the week

1 comment:

  1. Before taking the bench, I practiced criminal law and civil law for twenty years. I tried everything from solicitation of capital murder to burglary, but my specialty was DWI. At one time, I had a string of nineteen consecutive not guilty verdicts in DWI cases. But in 1998, I became Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law and in 1990, Civil Trial Law. After that, I concentrated on making money in civil cases, but still tried criminal cases to keep my court room skills sharp. (You could settle a lot of PI cases back then and never go to court.)

    I ran twice for District Attorney against Tom O’Connell, who was the DA for twenty seven years. I lost to him by 217 votes in 1986 and 214 votes in 1990. Mr. O’Connell has endorsed me in this race for the Court of Criminal Appeals. I have also been endorsed by Judge Sue Holland, who I tried criminal cases before in Collin County before she was elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

    I have also handled some criminal appeals- not as much as criminal appellate lawyers, but more than some criminal defense lawyers. Here are a few of the published opinions on appeals that I handled:

    Statham v. State, No. 05-83-01325-CR, COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, Fifth District, Dallas, 683 S.W.2d 89; 1984 Tex. App. LEXIS 6930, December 4, 1984 , Rehearing Denied January 2, 1985.
    Harrison v. State, No. 1269-86, COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS, 767 S.W.2d 803; 1989 Tex. Crim. App. LEXIS 51, March 15, 1989
    Ex parte Aiken, No. 05-88-00615-CV, COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, Fifth District, Dallas, 766 S.W.2d 580; 1989 Tex. App. LEXIS 732, March 1, 1989
    Harrison v. State, No. 1048-89, COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS, 788 S.W.2d 18; 1990 Tex. Crim. App. LEXIS 56, April 18, 1990
    Schenekl v. State, NO. 2-98-386-CR, COURT OF APPEALS OF TEXAS, SECOND DISTRICT, FORT WORTH, 996 S.W.2d 305; 1999 Tex. App. LEXIS 4349, June 10, 1999, Delivered , Appellant's Petition for Discretionary Review Granted January 5, 2000.
    Schenekl v. State, NO. 1529-99, COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS OF TEXAS, 30 S.W.3d 412; 2000 Tex. Crim. App. LEXIS 97, October 25, 2000, Delivered

    The last criminal appeal I handled was a boating while intoxicated case. I argued to the CCA that the Water Safety Act which allows a game warden to stop a boat solely to check for life jackets, etc. was unconstitutional. The CCA disagreed. That is the last appeal listed above. Two days later, I was sworn in as a judge.

    Sorry to be so long winded. I thought you might appreciate some more background info!