Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Justice, 5th Court of Appeals, Place 11

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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    John Browning

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    Cory Carlyle

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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 received my law degree from the University of Texas, and I have 29 years of extensive trial and appellate experience. I am a distinguished writer (4 law books and hundreds of articles), and have received Texas' highest awards for legal writing, ethics, and public service. I have judicial experience, as well as experience writing opinions.
With smartphones so widely available, and court websites that advise indigent defendants of basic court information, we have made great strides. New videoconferencing technology provides a means of remote interpretation for non-English speaking defendants (and those needing sign language interpretation), which is critical due to the shortage of qualified interpreters. In 2017 and 2018, I've organized free seminars to train Legal Aid attorneys on how to use technology to help their clients.
My highest priority will be to be fair and impartial, treating parties with respect and dignity while also showing consistent respect for the law. A good justice must have respect for dispensing justice and serving the public. My priority will be to protect, defend, and interpret the law, not create it, and to refrain from legislating from the bench.A judge should apply the law as it is, not as he/she might like it to be, in an evenhanded, respectful manner. A good judge is like an umpire.
I'm a career appellate lawyer, having litigated more than 100 appeals. I enjoy delving into what happened at trial, researching the law, and writing about it, which is the chief job of an appellate court justice. I confess: I'm a law nerd!
One excellent development is electronic filing, allowing talented lawyers from all over the state the chance to assist indigent people in remote counties on appeal. Also, the appellate courts and many counties provide electronic access to case documents, allowing attorneys to work much more efficiently, increasing the quality of their work and reducing the time to do it.
My priority is writing thoughtful, readable opinions. And, I will not shy away from writing in concurrence or dissent from the majority opinion to explain why the law requires a different result. Litigants deserve justices committed to this back-and-forth, and selfishly, it allows me the luxury o to dig into the legal arcana to find the right answer.