Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Justice, 1st Court of Appeals, Place 8

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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    Richard Hightower
    (Dem)

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    Michael Massengale
    (Rep)

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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?

Education: Baylor Law School, 1980, Baylor Law Review 37 years experience in many types of litigation with a significant background in public education, governance, employment, personal injury, and mediation. Rated AV Preeminent (highest peer rating) in ability and ethical standards and recognized as a Super Lawyer by Texas Monthly Magazine.
Courts may grant habeas corpus relief based on scientific evidence that was not available to be offered at the time of trial, or contradicted scientific evidence relied on by the State at trial. This allows for the release of those who have been wrongfully convicted. The development of electronic monitoring in lieu of incarceration for non-violent crimes is also advantageous. Improvements in DNA testing may also be useful in determining paternity in civil cases.
The most important responsibility of a Justice, Court of Appeals, is to follow the rule of law regardless of personal opinions and beliefs about the law. Often serving as a school district hearing officer/examiner, I have carefully followed the law when making difficult decisions concerning the rights of students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Justices should avoid any associations or political activities that might impair their ability to follow the law or to serve impartially.
Over 9 years of experience as an appellate judge, with hundreds of written opinions and a proven record. Board certified in civil appellate law. Experienced trial attorney and former partner of Baker Botts L.L.P. Former Federalist Society Houston lawyers chapter president. Honors graduate of The University of Texas School of Law. Eagle Scout.
I’m proud to serve by the Texas Supreme Court's appointment as a member of the Texas Access to Justice Commission and as a member of and senior judicial advisor to the Children’s Commission. The internet allows widespread, low-cost dissemination of training videos and forms that greatly improve indigent defense, both for appointed counsel and self-represented litigants. Following the example of the Florida Justice Technology Center, we can do more to make legal services accessible to all Texans.
Writing accessible, well-reasoned, and correctly decided judicial opinions. Our responsibility at the First Court of Appeals is to carefully review the legal arguments presented to us and to write opinions that not only explain the outcome to the litigants before us, but also to provide guidance to people, lawyers, and other judges to improve the stablility and predictability of the Rule of Law. My record shows that I am a highly effective judicial author with an exceptionally low reversal rate.