Monday, November 09, 2009

Hampton challenging Keasler for CCA slot in 2010

Keith Hampton, a veteran appellate lawyer and chair of the legislative committee for the Texas Criminal Defense Laywers Association, has announced his candidacy for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, lining up to run against Michael Keasler. Here's Hampton's campaign website.

I've had my differences with Keith but he'd be an overwhelming improvement over Judge Keasler, if only to add some balance to the range of opinions on the court.

Like J.R. Molina in 2006, I predict Hampton will receive more votes than the Democratic candidates for either governor or senator - not because of his own popularity but because the Court of Criminal Appeals is so widely disdained. Whether that will be enough to put Keith over the top depends on big-picture electoral dynamics he likely cannot influence. But at least he'll be in a position - like Craig Watkins in the '06 Dallas DA's race - to capitalize on serendipitous electoral trends if things happen to break just the right way. Dems have a better chance of capturing these seats IMO than they do senator, governor, attorney general, or any of the higher profile races on next year's ballot.


Anonymous said...

I think the U.S. House of Representatives pretty much put to rest any hope of any Democrat getting elected in Texas at the statewide level last Saturday night.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

A year is a long time in politics.

I'm not predicting it will happen in 2010, but when the Ds break through I'm convinced it will happen first in these judicial races. You can expect a Dem CCA candidate to get, say, 300,000 more votes than a Texas D senate candidate (as happened in 2006). And, just as was the case with Craig Watkins in Dallas, as well as judges in Dallas and Houston in the last two cycles, it could just happen to whoever bothered to sign up, even if they didn't appear to be a strong candidate at the outset.

For that reason, I'm just glad to see somebody qualified enter the race. I hope somebody also runs against Meyers as well.

Anonymous said...

I hope that everyone who cares about the fair adjudication of Texas criminal cases gets behind Keith: He's a thoughtful practitioner whose vote could go a long way toward ironing out some of the anomalies and injustices that have developed under the current CCA, and restoring the credibility of that institution. I am sure he will cringe the first time he realizes that he has to vote to uphold a conviction, but he's enough of a straight shooter to do what the law dictates, not just identifying the result he would like and working toward that (like some of those on the CCA at present). Judicial races don't typically acquire a high profile, but I'd urge the readers of this blog to consider talking to their non-lawyer friends and neighbors about backing him vigorously. I know him very slightly, but he doesn't know I'm writing this - just a note from a defense lawyer tired of seeing injustice stalking the land, and hoping for change now that there's a very credible anti-Keasler candidate.

Anonymous said...

From his website: "...Keith Hampton began his career at age 17, as the youngest precinct chairperson for the Texas Democratic Party."

There is obviously something wrong with this guy--Republican or Democrat--we don't need another idealogue.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, 6:22, I began my political career at 17 volunteering for Ronald Reagan's 1984 reelection campaign. It was partly out of ideology, and in part because I had crush on the daughter of the local Reagan campaign manager.

As far as "another ideologue," don't forget that's what you get on the bench with Keasler. There are nine judges, so even if what you say is true (and I can't predict how Keith would judge, I know him only as an advocate), I'd rather there at least be ideologues from differing camps to stir a more vigorous debate on the court. As I've said before, right now there is a conservative wing on the court and an essentially totalitarian one; a counterbalancing voice from a different point on the spectrum, ideological or not, would IMO improve the court from its current monolithic malaise.

Anonymous said...

Hell, I started younger than that handing out stuff for John Trube and David (can't even remember his name right now, but he had a hot daughter too).

Anonymous said...