Justice, 4th Court of Appeals, Place 4
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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Luz Elena Chapa
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?
Patrick is a criminal prosecutor for the Bexar County DA's Office. He is Chief of the Conviction Integrity and Ethical Disclosures Unit and Board Certified in Criminal Law. Having handled over a hundred jury trials and appeals means Patrick knows injustice when he sees it.
The most positive recent developments in our justice system are: (1) a greater public awareness of criminal justice issues, (2) increased prosecutor ethics training, and (3) attorneys doing some outstanding pro bono work for indigent clients. Running a Conviction Integrity Unit, I see these efforts making our entire justice system more effective, reliable, and fair.
Restoring the independence and impartiality of our judiciary. The job of an appellate jurist is recognizing injustice and setting things right, not favoring campaign donors. As a criminal prosecutor, I am not beholden to the special interests that threaten the independence of our judiciary. I strongly public service is a calling, not a business venture.
During my first term on the Fourth Court, I authored 730 opinions and approximately half of those opinions were in civil cases and the other in criminal. To date, I have not been reversed by a higher court. I have a proven judicial record of not allowing partisan politics to play a role in my decision making.
This question should be directed to our State’s Legislature as it provides funding for programs to support the State’s indigent defense system. I hope that the state, county and local agencies responsible for indigent legal defense will use the latest technologies to improve the system.
My highest priority as a Justice is to apply the law justly and fairly all while upholding the highest ethical standards. I also feel it is important to author opinions in a manner in which litigants can fully understand the disposition of their appeal. The Fourth Court has many pro se litigants come before it and they are rightfully entitled to a well reasoned opinion that is written in a concise and clear manner. Maintaining the people’s faith and trust in the legal system is crucial.
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