Often, before a case goes to trial, a grand jury will determine whether there is enough evidence against a defendant to justify a trial. Judges at every level are elected.

Texas Secretary of State

However, if there is a vacancy before an election, the governor will appoint someone to serve until the next election. Judges must campaign for office in an exceptionally partisan election, which generally requires drawing support from one side of the bar or the other for example, civil judges draw support from either the plaintiffs bar or the civil defense bar, and criminal judges draw support from the prosecution or criminal defense bar. Accordingly, elections become political contests between influential segments of the legal community.

Furthermore, the selection method has made it difficult for minorities and women to become judges in Texas. However, there are a higher proportion of women on the Texas judiciary than minorities.

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One reform that has been suggested is to provide for retention elections after an initial appointment by the governor to reduce the political nature of judicial selection. The most significant judicial reform in Texas is the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act, which limited campaign contribution amounts and placed more strict regulations on the source of campaign contributions.

The death penalty is the most visible issue addressed by Texas courts, particularly the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Minorities are disproportionately represented on death row, highlighting racial and ethnic disparity.

Other issues addressed by the courts include tougher criminal sentencing, tort reform, school financing, and tobacco litigation. However, the most controversial area of Texas justice continues to be the judge selection process. Norton and Company, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Judicial Selection in the States - Judicial Selection in the States - Texas

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Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

Slaughter, Ash Photos from Campaigns. Slaughter vs. Ash Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 8 Over the past year, we have been asking candidates running for various local and statewide offices to answer questions for our Voter Guide.

Texas General Election Results for 2018 Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals

While full responses are available at AmarilloVotes. Michelle Slaughter Republican Why did you decide to run? I first ran for this district court bench because I was tired of complaining about what I was seeing in that court.