Judge Charlie Baird will decide today whether to recuse himself from an investigation into the innocence of Cameron Todd Willingham, the Corsicana man executed in 2004 for the arson deaths of his three young daughters. But with or without Baird, a bigger question is in play: Is a court of inquiry the appropriate venue to consider Willingham’s guilt or innocence?Full Story
The Texas judicial system features five layers of courts and a bifurcated appellate system that separates criminal and civil appeals at its highest level. Article 5 of the Texas Constitution governs its structure.
The lowest court is the Justice of the Peace Court, or JP court, which handles criminal misdemeanors "punishable by fine only" and civil matters where the "amount ...
The protracted U.S. attorney appointment process has claimed its latest casualty: Michael McCrum, who withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday.Full Story
The Supreme Court justice on being the first Latina on the court, whether the all-Republican high court is too one-sided and whether Texas has seen enough tort reform.Full Story
The state court of appeals says two men can't turn their Massachusetts marriage into a Texas divorce.
Do two recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions have the far-reaching effects on Texas judicial elections that some in our legal community fear? Or do the state's current campaign finance laws adequately address the issues presented by both cases?Full Story
Plaintiffs in so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs, use the court system to bury opponents in a crush of legal fees and paperwork of Bleak House proportions. They're not concerned about winning damages. They usually don’t expect to be successful, and the targets often don’t have the money to adequately defend themselves. Yet in otherwise tort-reform-happy Texas, there is no prohibition on filing this particular form of meritless suit — yet.Full Story
The former Texas Supreme Court justice on her 18 years in the judiciary, women on the court, the all-Republican bench and what she really thinks about judicial elections.Full Story
Texas has more unfilled U.S. attorney positions than any other state — and that isn’t going to change soon. Currently, none of the four Texas districts have "presidentially confirmed" federal prosecutors, who are responsible for enforcing federal laws. Last week, John B. Stevens, a state district judge in Beaumont who was Barack Obama's only nominee in Texas, withdrew his name from consideration, citing the protracted confirmation process. And that means we risk being left out of the administration’s inner circle on criminal and civil justice issues.Full Story
Ever since his narrow March 2 win set off a collective grumble from the legal establishment, there’s been a movement afoot to shore up support for his runoff opponent. Now the fruits of those efforts have ripened. Full Story
Even if 84 percent of Americans believe judges should not hear cases from major campaign contributors, the big Texas law firms that have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to them over the last ten years see nothing wrong with business as usual.Full Story