The Austin Chronicle endorses J.R. Molina, the Democratic candidate running against Judge Sharon Keller for Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Fort Worth attorney Molina, who has run previously for this court, has lengthy experience as both a prosecutor and a criminal-defense attorney and would bring balance as well as social diversity to the court, which sorely needs it. He has pointed out in the past that criminal appeals court judges too often impose their own law-and-order political priorities on life-and-death decisions, and he can be counted on to bring a fresh and experienced perspective to a court that has been fairly described as the worst in Texas.
And if there were no other reason to vote for Molina, ridding the court of incumbent Judge Sharon “Hang ‘Em High” Keller would be more than enough. For too long, Keller has been a disgrace to the court, and indeed to fair criminal justice in Texas. “She keeps going to the right as far as she can,” noted one observer – not a left-wing or even Democratic critic, but Keller’s Republican opponent in the spring primary. Keller is notorious, even among her colleagues, for arbitrarily bending the law to sustain convictions no matter how unjust. It’s past time Texas voters sent her packing.