Friday, June 12, 2009

Meyers, Keasler, should be Dems' CCA electoral targets

The Dallas News' Michael Landauer writes that "Lawrence Meyers, the longest-serving member of the Court of Criminal Appeals, says he's running for re-election. In doing so, he cites the court's reputation for fairness. Try not to laugh." The other two Texas CCA judges up in 2010 are Michael Keasler and Cheryl Johnson, all Republicans.

There is no liberal wing on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. There's a conservative wing, to which Judge Johnson belongs, and a more or less totalitarian wing, in which Keasler and Meyers reside along with Presiding Judge Sharon Keller.

I respect and support Judge Johnson, who has been a key leader on the court standing up to Judge Keller and trying to haul its reputation out of the muck. IMO, she's earned her spot battling it out in the trenches with Keller and Co. for the soul of the court. The Dems would have to come up with a stellar candidate for me to consider voting against her. Against Keasler and Meyers, I'd be much less picky: This court desperately needs new blood.

RELATED: Court races will be spearpoint of Texas Dems' future statewide success

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grits, I must disagree with you on one point. The Chief Judge belongs in a category all by herself. I think of her as the more or less wacko-authoritarian wing of the Court. Not be be confused with the non-wacko-authoritarian wing which includes Judge Womack.

Anonymous said...

Johnson is no conservative. She is a Grits liberal.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"She is a Grits liberal."

B.S. It redefines the term "liberal" to an absurd degree to apply it to any sitting member of the CCA.

Anonymous said...

Well I agree your liberalness is absurd.

Anonymous said...

You can add Tom Price to your list of liberals on the CCA as well. Has he ever voted to uphold a death sentence? The truth of the matter is that the CCA has been sliding further and further to left as time goes along. What some members of the left fail to understand is that in the vast majority of criminal appeals, the verdict of the jury should be affirmed. Given the fact that the burden of proof on the prosecution is "beyond a reasonable doubt," when the jury returns a guilty verdict that verdict should be generally upheld except in those cases were error is egregious. Judges who routinely affirm convictions and sentences for guilty defendants are merely doing the job that the voters elected them to do.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I am conservative and I look upon our present criminal justice system with complete disgust. If these justices consider themselves to be conservatives and Christians, I suggest that they examine the Bible with regard to standards of evidence. I completely believe that the Bible was a significant source for the formation of our Western Justice System. The Bible commands that civil government be a terror to evil doers, but has strict requirements for passing judgment. These requirement do not include the phariseeical standards articulated by anonymous at 4:50 PM.

Although I believe that civil government is empowered to employ the death penalty, I can no longer support the use of such a penalty because of the corruption and politicization inherent in our present system. The use of jailhouse snitches, the lack of consequences to those who bear false witness and the "win at all costs" attitude of career prosecutors as well as all of the points that Grits addressed here: http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2005/11/requiring-corroboration-for-eyewitness.html have convinced me that our justice system has lost the integrity necessary to administer the death penalty.

"Judges who routinely affirm convictions and sentences for guilty defendants are merely doing the job that the voters elected them to do."

The above is a sickening statement. It defines the attitude that "might makes right", a completely utilitarian notion that it at odds with our Constitutional Republic and Biblical standards of justice .

I refuse to believe that it defines a conservative approach.

The Local Crank said...

wow "egregious error" is the new standard of review in ALL cases? I missed that memo. And what about jury verdicts where the jury was deliberately prevented from hearing potentially exculpatory evidence?

Anonymous said...

Justice is about balance and fairness in resolving conflicts and availablity of opportunities. It is not defined by the number of convictions notched in the prosecutors belt or the number of appeals that affirm the state's position.

The sad history of justice in Texas is that justice has been construed by many conservatives to mean knee jerk (often ideologically driven) punitive responses and "zero tolerance policies." Such simplistic approaches amount to ineffective symbolic policy response to complex and deeply entrenced social problems. They are more interested in "send a message" than dealing with the underlying social problems. The end product is to produce injustice rather than justice.

The rigidly punitive and ideological judicial philosophy of the majority of Justices on the CCA - is less concerned about justice than reflexive reinforcement of state authority. This is the antithesis of justice because -- in all but the most eggregious cases -- the ideological fix is in....

Balance, fairness and reason need not apply.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Tom Price has repeatedly affirmed death sentences. Describing him as a liberal would be a sick joke. In fact, there is no member of the current court who has not voted to uphold death sentences. You can find the court's opinions on their website if you know the name of the defendant/appellant you are interested in (which is not user-friendly, but then what is user-friendly about this court, unless you are a prosecutor?).

Boyness said...

There is NOT ONE LIBERAL on the CCA. Period.

Anonymous said...

Johnson is certainly a Grits eating liberal. Read any 10 dissents by her.

Price would be a liberal if he weren't so lazy.

Mike Howard said...

Jeez, exactly what is your definition of 'liberal' if members of the CCA fit in there? I've read more than my share of CCA opinions and I can't say I've ever read something I considered liberal. Absurd? Yes (usually, in fact). Stretching the bounds of common sense? You betcha. But liberal? No. Thurgood Marshall on the SCOTUS, that was a liberal (God rest is soul).