Justice, 3rd 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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Thomas J. Baker
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 was licensed in May 1984 to practice law in Texas. I served in Navy JAGC 1984-1991. I am a member of the State Bar College of Texas, exceeding continuing legal education standards I was Board-Certified in Family Law in 2010. I have practiced in Central Texas since 1994 as a trial lawyer principally in civil law and in appellate courts
The Texas Indigent Defense Commission working with the 24 Texas counties the court serves is key to advancing the state's indigent defense system. Access to caselaw through the internet for all counsel providing indigent defense is critical to the quality of indigent legal defense. I will attend educational programs to learn and support indigent defense. I have supported pro bono service in private practice and will support advancing indigent defense.
My highest priority is to ensure any opinion I write or in which I concur follows state and federal law and the evidence. Quality, not quantity, of a justice's work is critical to the parties before the court and precedent for our trial courts. The court must provide timely justice. Justice delayed is justice denied. As a justice, I will treat counsel and parties with respect and dignity in my written opinions. I will be fair and impartial to all. I will recuse myself when I should.
I am the senior justice on the Third Court and began serving on the court in January of 2001. During my tenure on the court, I have authored well over 2500 opinions. I led all Texas appellate court justices in total opinion production in 2015 and 2016, issuing some 220 opinions in 2016. I also served as a County Court at Law judge from 1991-1998.
The Texas appellate courts have implemented electronic filing of all briefs and documents in all cases. This has resulted in easier, quicker and less costly filings of the documents necessary to process an appeal.
My highest priority as a justice on the Court of Appeals is to issue prompt and concise opinions that conform to the rule of law, which includes strict adherence to the constitution, our state laws and case law precedent. There is a saying that "justice delayed is justice denied". In an effort to deliver timely justice to all litigants, I led all 98 Texas appellate court justices in opinion production in 2011, 2015 and 2016.
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