Justice, 14th 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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Martha Hill Jamison
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?
I have represented individuals at the trial and appellate level for my entire career. As a criminal defense attorney, I represented death row inmates in state and federal court. Next, as an assistant public defender, I was in the appellate and felony trial division with a focus on mental health cases. I am now with a small civil litigation firm.
A system which automates attorney appointments and monitors attorney compliance improves the indigent defense system by increasing transparency and ensuring fair representation for indigent criminal defendants. Similarly, the bail reform system in Harris County will provide the courts with certain criteria, formulas, and documentation that make the bail system more transparent and help ensure that bail for indigent criminal defendants is not being set at an arbitrarily excessive amount.
The greatest responsibility of an appellate Justice is to ensure that the law (both procedurally and substantively) is applied correctly to the underlying facts and also to ensure that the law is being applied in a fair and neutral manner to all parties, regardless of that party’s socio-economic status, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical or mental disabilities, or any other factor.
Experience and background: Appellate justice since 2010. General Counsel to the Harris County Tax Office. Ten years as a Harris County civil district judge. Ten-year Mediator. Training: Journalist and civil lawyer. Characteristics: Hard-working, patient and fair. This difficult job requires the depth and breadth of legal experience that I bring.
Confidence in DNA testing is both a blessing and a curse. The testing is not available in all cases and is not cost-effective in others. The "magic bullet" remains a defendant's ability to hire a good lawyer. The willingness of lawyers to provide low-fee or pro bono legal services is very important where court appointment is not available. Outcomes can be greatly affected when defendants better understanding their rights and the justice system procedures early on in the process.
In most cases, the decision of our intermediate court of appeals is the final decision the parties will receive (the high courts do not to accept all cases). My responsibility as a Justice on the court is to interpret the law as it is written, even if I don't personally like it, and to explain my reasons for the decision in an accessible manner. I have demonstrated my ability and willingness to handle difficult, even politically-charged, cases and to apply the rule of law in a consistent manner.
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