it has been an inglorious year for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the court of last resort for all criminal matters in the state. Presiding Judge Sharon Keller drew national condemnation for refusing to take a last-minute appeal for a stay of execution that almost certainly would have been granted after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively halting executions earlier that day. As a result, convict Michael Richard was put to death.
While other justices were kept in the dark by Judge Keller, the judicial shame resulting from her actions reflects on the entire institution. As a result, the court needs a balanced perspective.
• Susan Strawn, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3: The Chronicle believes the best candidate for Place 3 is Democrat Susan Strawn, a fourth-generation Houstonian and former federal prosecutor who worked on white-collar criminal cases during 14 years at the Justice Department. She also has international experience investigating extremist groups and organized crime in the Balkans and West Africa.
Strawn, a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, currently teaches anti-corruption law at the University of Houston Law Center. She will bring fresh views and strong leadership skills to a court whose public image is badly in need of rehabilitation.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times Editorial Board
recommends the election of Susan Strawn, Democrat, a Houston lawyer who served 12 years with the U.S. Department of Justice, from 1990 to 2002. She served as a judicial reform adviser in Kosovo and in West Africa. Recently, she has been an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
The incumbent in this race is Tom Price, Republican. He has been on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 11 years and over that period of time he has earned a reputation for his frequent absences and low productivity. The third candidate on the ballot is Matthew Eilers, Libertarian, a lawyer in Universal City.