The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals certainly gets a lot of press – very little of it good. Texas Monthly calls it "Texas' Worst Court." The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned many of its rulings in death penalty cases.
And last fall, the nine-member panel became a national scandal when inmate Michael Richard went to his execution because Presiding Judge Sharon Keller refused his rushed request for a stay, telling his lawyers the court's office closes at 5.
Judge Robert Francis, a Coppell resident who has served on criminal district court in Dallas since 1997, says somebody on that panel ought to have been outraged enough to speak out and vow to reform the process. "All the court has is the public trust," he told us, with palpable passion. Hear, hear.
We are pleased to recommend Judge Francis in the March 4 GOP primary for the Place 4 appeals court seat currently held by Judge Paul Womack.
Judge Womack, a Georgetown two-termer who reversed an earlier pledge not to seek re-election, doesn't seem to be terribly exercised about the appeals court's credibility crisis. The sleepy 60-year-old jurist sees no problem with taking the time to teach a class at the University of Texas law school, even though he misses some oral arguments and has a relatively small number of signed opinions to his name.
By contrast, the energetic Judge Francis, 48, says the public deserves an appeals court member who will focus entirely on the job. Again: hear, hear.
We're also troubled by the stiff sanctions and fines levied against Judge Womack several years back for failing to file seven campaign finance reports. At the time, Judge Womack claimed that attention deficit disorder might be at fault – an affliction he since has conceded he doesn't have.
Whatever. Judge Robert Francis, a fully engaged reformer who built a strong reputation on the North Texas bench, is the clear choice for Texas Republicans.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Dallas Morning News endorses Judge Robert Francis for CCA
Today Dallas Morning News endorsed Judge Robert Francis in the March 4 GOP primary for the Place 4 appeals court seat currently held by Judge Paul Womack.