Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals Place 2

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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    Cindy Olson Bourland

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    Edward Smith

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Biographical Information

Background: 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?

Responsibilities: Which responsibility of a Justice, Court of Appeals, is your highest priority and why?

I attended Southwestern University and The University of Texas School of Law. Prior to being appointed to the Court in 2015, I was in private practice for 20 years and had extensive experience handling various types of cases, some of which resulted in Texas Supreme Court opinions cited throughout Texas.
E-filing has made access to records easier for judges, lawyers, and parties. Our court reviews many appeals wherein the appellant is indigent and has a court-appointed attorney. Because our review of the case cannot begin until we receive the record from the proceedings below, e-transmission of documents means that we can turn to the case more quickly.
Giving the cases on our docket a thorough, fair, and impartial review to make sure there were no errors of law in the proceedings below. It is also important to resolve cases as quickly as possible, without sacrificing thoroughness, so that the parties are not waiting for years on an outcome. I never lose sight of the fact that each case we handle (and we handle both civil and criminal appeals) directly impacts the life of someone who lives in our 24-county district, and often all Texans.
I’m a native Texan with a law practice that has spanned multiple jurisdictions. I have clerked with the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara and worked for both large and small personal injury firms representing injured workers and their families. My career has aimed at solving problems with pragmatic solutions.
Online legal resources and forms provide an opportunity for low income residents to access tools which were once only available to lawyers. For example, through the Texas State Law Library, many legal guides and form books can now be checked out online. Texas should expand funding for these important resources. However, the state must continue to encourage pro bono representation and fully fund indigent criminal defense, as no online guide can be a complete substitute for access to an attorney.
My highest priority is being an impartial justice with a pragmatic and progressive approach to the cases before the court. As someone who has spent much of my career representing injured workers and their families I will bring a diversity of thought to the court that the Texans living within this Court of Appeals district deserve. I will also work with the other justices to ensure the court’s role as a check and balance by giving each case I hear a fair review, and a just decision.