Texas Decides 2018 Voters Guide
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Voters Guide

Justice, 4th Court of Appeals, Place 3

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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    Patricia O'Connell Alvarez

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    Jason Pulliam

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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?

As a justice, I authored 766 appellate opinions (about 50-50% criminal and civil). As an attorney, I tried complex cases. I am Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In 1992, I became AV-Rated (a nationally recognized “preeminent” peer review) and was a Texas Monthly Super Lawyer for 11 years.
The number one technological development is access to computer systems by indigent parties to allow them to connect with legal aid representation. Similarly, legal aid attorneys need access to high quality computer systems that in turn will allow them to better serve the indigent. As an appellate justice, my ability to affect the indigent defense system is to encourage the local bar and the Texas Bar to develop and implement technological initiatives designed to expand civil access to justice.
My highest responsibility, and top priority, is to apply the law as written without regard to politics or outside interests and influences. By doing so, I ensure fair and impartial treatment for all who come before me. As important is my responsibility to uphold and adhere to the highest standard of ethics and integrity– and always with sensitivity and respect to the parties and the attorneys. Finally, a justice must issue well analyzed opinions without delay. Justice delayed is Justice denied.
My experience as a litigator, mediator, appellate Justice, and trial Judge in civil and criminal cases make me the best qualified person for the Fourth Court. I presided over more than 100 trials. I was a U.S. Marine JAG Lawyer and 2002 Defense Counsel of the Year. I was the highest rated County Court Judge on the 2014 ballot.

Scientific improvements help ensure the integrity of the judicial process in civil and criminal cases. Advances in DNA testing, intoxilyzer alcohol breath testing, DWI blood draws, and drug testing protect citizens’ rights to a fair trial guaranteed in our federal and state constitutions. These developments aid those citizens who are indigent and the most vulnerable in our society. These positive changes strengthen public trust and confidence in our justice system.
My highest priority is to ensure that the correct legal result is reached in each case that comes before the court. Justices must follow the law and apply it equally to all citizens. To protect the rights of all citizens and ensure all citizens are treated fairly regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status, justice requires equal application of our laws.