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Melissa Goodwin

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Melissa Goodwin
Current Court Information:
Texas Third District Court of Appeals
Title:   Judge
Position:   Place 4
Salary:  $
Active:   2011-2016
Past position:   District 427 Court Judge
Past term:   Before joining appellate court
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Texas
Law School:   St. Mary's School of Law

Melissa Goodwin is a judge on the Texas Third District Court of Appeals Place 4.[1] She was elected in 2010 (effective in 2011) and her current term expires in 2016.[2]


Goodwin received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and her J.D. from St. Mary's School of Law. [3]


Goodwin was a partner with the firm Potts & Reilly, LLP. She has also served a judge on the Texas District 427 and as justice of the peace in Travis County. In addition to serving as an appellate attorney, she worked in the General Counsel's Office for the State Bar of Texas. [3]

Awards and associations

  • 2009 Pathfinder's Award, TCWLA
  • Former member, Judicial Ethics Committee, Judicial Selection of the State Bar of Texas
  • Former instructor, Texas Justice Court Training Center
  • Member, South Austin Civic Club
  • Member, Travis County Women Lawyer's Association
  • Board of Directors, Oak Hill Business & Professional's Association
  • Former Advisory Board Member, Austin Community College's Center for Public Policy and Political Studies[3]

2010 election

Goodwin defeated Democrat Kurt Kuhn in the general election, winning 57.1% of the vote.[4]

See also: Texas judicial elections, 2010

Campaign finance law violation

Goodwin was fined $2,050 in June 2011 by the Texas Ethics Commission "for accepting a $25,000 loan from her father- and mother-in-law."[5] Texas judicial candidates cannot receive more than $5,000 from a single donor per election. The $5,000 limit is waived in the case of relatives. Goodwin explained she thought the loan was within campaign finance law because it came from relatives. The Ethics Commission ruled that the waiver only applies to relatives who are within the "second degree of consanguinity" and that in-laws do not meet the criteria.[5]

Notable cases

Tom DeLay's convictions for illegal campaign contributions, overturned

On September 19, 2013, Tom DeLay, the former Republican Party House Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, was acquitted of all charges, overturning his 2010 conviction for his illegal campaign finance activities in the 2002 Texas elections.[6]

In 2010, DeLay had been convicted of conspiracy and money laundering for illegally funneling money from corporations to Texas candidates. He was sentenced to three years in prison and it effectively ended his political career. Following conviction, DeLay was out on bail, pending his appeal. The prosecution argued that DeLay's motives involved gaining a Republican majority in the Texas State Legislature, redrawing district lines, and thereby keeping a political stronghold in the United States House of Representatives.[7]

The Texas Third District Court of Appeals overturned DeLay's convictions. Justice Melissa Goodwin wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Justice Gaultney.[6]

Justice Goodwin, in her opinion, stated: “The fundamental problem with the State’s case was its failure to prove proceeds of criminal activity.” Justice Jones, in his dissent, opined: "A rational juror hearing the evidence presented in this trial could have found that the relevant corporate contributions to TRMPAC (Texans for a Republican Majority Political Action Committee) were made with the intent that they be used to support individual candidates or be put to other purposes not authorized by the state election laws."[7]

See also

External links


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