Justice, 2nd Court of Appeals, Place 5
6-year term. Hears appeals on civil and criminal cases from lower courts in its district. Current Salary: $154,500Plazo de 6 años. Escucha apelaciones sobre casos civiles y penales de los tribunales inferiores en su distrito. Salario actual: $ 154,500.
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Delonia A. Watson
What training, experience, and background qualify you for this position?
Access to Justice:
What recent technological developments provide opportunities to improve the state's indigent defense system in civil and criminal cases?
Which responsibility of a Justice, Court of Appeals, is your highest priority and why?
My qualifications are demonstrated by a 35-year legal career handling trial and appellate matters, a board certification in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2001 (held by less than .5% of Texas lawyers), and my published articles on the law.
A program to protect the rights of criminal defendants is the creation of Conviction Integrity Units in D.A.s’ offices. In Tarrant County, the unit not only reviews claims of actual innocence in prior convictions, but develops practices “to facilitate prosecutors’ diligently and ethically fulfilling their responsibilities toward the rightful administration of justice.”
A Justice on the Court of Appeals must decide appeals correctly. That responsibility requires: 1) careful consideration of the arguments; 2) care in the research, analysis and writing of opinions; and 3) an open-mind to the views of the other justices. Underlying this responsibility, my guiding principles on the bench will be honesty and a commitment to a judicial philosophy that dictates total fidelity to the rule of law.
I have practiced as an appellate advocate for over 34 years, including several years before the Court of Appeals. Most of my experience has been as an Assistant U, S. Attorney doing criminal appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. I have drafted hundreds of briefs and appeared for oral argument many times.
The justice system has not taken sufficient advantage of recent technological developments to improve the system for indigent individuals. This is an area that I would want to explore if elected to the bench. I would be especially interested in looking at how we can improve access via local law libraries and law schools.
My highest priority is to provide fair, consistent, and speedy justice to every litigant who appears before the Court of Appeals, without undue regard for the socio-economic status of the parties. Without both justice and the appearance of justice, our system would devolve into anarchy.
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