Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
|Texas Court of Criminal Appeals|
|Method:||Partisan election of judges|
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in Texas, whereas the Texas Supreme Court is the court of last resort for all civil matters in the state. Texas is one of just two states (the other being Oklahoma) that has two courts of last resort.
In addition to being the high court for criminal appeals, the Court of Criminal Appeals (in partnership with the Texas Supreme Court) "promulgates rules of appellate procedure and rules of evidence for criminal cases. The Court of Criminal Appeals also administers public funds that are appropriated for the education of judges, prosecuting attorneys, criminal defense attorneys who regularly represent indigent defendants, clerks and other personnel of the state’s appellate, district, county-level, justice, and municipal courts. promulgates rules of appellate procedure and rules of evidence for criminal cases." 
The Court is composed of a Presiding Judge and eight judges. Each judge serves a six-year term. They are elected in staggered partisan elections. The position of Presiding Judge is a separately designated elected seat from the others.
|Name||Elected||Term expires||Party affiliation|
|Presiding Judge Sharon Keller||1994||2012||Republican|
Sharon Keller is the presiding judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Justice Keller is a Republican. She was elected the first woman judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1994. In 2000, she was elected presiding judge and re-elected in 2006.
The Court of Criminal Appeals exercises discretionary review over criminal cases, which means that it may choose whether or not to review a case. The only cases that the Court must hear are those that involve sentencing decisions in capital punishment cases, and cases where bail has been denied. The court, which is based in the state capital Austin, includes nine judges. Article V of the Texas Constitution vests the judicial power of the state in the court, describes the Court's jurisdiction and sets rules for judicial eligibility, elections, and vacancies.
The Governor, subject to Senate confirmation, may appoint a judge to serve out the remainder of any unexpired term until the next general election. Like the Texas Supreme Court, the Judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals are currently all Republican.
A qualified candidate is between 35 and 75 years of age, is a United States Citizen and a citizen of Texas, is licensed to practice law in the state, and must have practiced for at least ten years. Upon turning 75 years old, the judge may not serve more than another four years of their term.
Removal of justices
|Fiscal year||Cases pending at start of year||Cases added||Total on docket||Dispositions||Cases pending at end of year|
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals hears both mandatory and discretionary cases. "All cases that result in the death penalty are automatically directed to the Court of Criminal Appeals from the trial court level. A significant portion of the Court’s workload also involves the mandatory review of applications for post conviction habeas corpus relief in felony cases without a death penalty, over which the Court has sole authority. In addition, decisions made by the intermediate courts of appeals in criminal cases may be appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals by petition for discretionary review, which may be filed by the State, the defendant, or both. However, the Court may also review a decision on its own motion."
The chart below displays the Court's mandatory caseload from 2001 to 2010. Mandatory cases comprised 76.7 percent of the overall caseload in 2010. 
"In the 2010 fiscal year, the Court of Criminal Appeals received 13 appeals in death-penalty cases. The Courts of Appeals received 4,926 appeals in other criminal cases, and in 1,520 of those appeals the Court of Criminal Appeals was asked to grant further review. The Court granted review in 85 of them. After deciding each appeal, the Court delivers a written opinion that explains the reason for its decision. The Court also has sole authority to grant the writ of habeas corpus to a person who has been convicted of a felony (which is a crime that is punishable by death or by imprisonment in the Department of Criminal Justice). In the 2010 fiscal year, the Court received 4,275 habeas-corpus petitions and 54 death penalty habeas-corpus petitions." The appeals and habeas-corpus petitions give the Court of Criminal Appeals the heaviest caseload of any appellate court in the United States.
During the 2007 fiscal year, the court received 5,039 appeals in criminal cases, and in 1,532 of these cases, the Court of Criminal Appeals were asked to grant further review. The court granted review for 149 of these. The court has the sole authority to hear cases of habeas corpus to those convicted of felonies. In the same year, the court received 5,489 petitions and 62 death penalty habeas corpus petitions.
The Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals earns $152,500 annually, while associate justices earn $150,000, as of December 2005.
History of the court
The Texas Constitution of 1876 alleviated the heavy civil caseload of the Supreme Court of Texas. Article V of the constitution established a three judge Court of Appeals to hear all appellate criminal cases. In 1891, Texas voters approved an amendment to keep the Supreme Court and established the Court of Civil Appeals. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was the state's highest criminal court, and its three judges were elected to six year terms. In 1978, a constitutional amendment increased the size of the Court of Criminal Appeals to nine judges.
2012To organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
|Candidate||Incumbency||Party||Place||Primary Vote||Election Vote|
|Barbara Hervey||Yes||Republican||Place 7||100%||77.9%|
|Elsa Alcala||Yes||Republican||Place 8||100%||78.1%|
|Keith Hampton||No||Democratic||Presiding Judge||100%||41.2%|
|Lance Stott||No||Libertarian||Presiding Judge||3.3%|
|Mark W. Bennett||No||Libertarian||Place 7||22.1%|
|Sharon Keller||Yes||Republican||Presiding Judge||100%||55.5%|
|William Bryan Strange||No||Libertarian||Place 8||21.9%|
- John Preston White, Presiding Judge 1879-1892
- James Mann Hurt, Presiding Judge, 1892-1898
- William Lewis Davidson, Presiding Judge, 1899-1913, 1917-1921
- Albert Collins Prendergast, Presiding Judge, 1913-1918
- Wright Chalfant Morrow, Presiding Judge, 1921-1939
- Frank Lee Hawkins, Presiding Judge 1939-1951
- Harry Newton Graves, Presiding Judge 1951-1955
- William Arthur Morrison, Presiding Judge, 1955-1961
- William Thomas McDonald, Sr., Presiding Judge, 1964-1966
- Kenneth Koch Woodley, Presiding Judge, 1967-1970
- John Frank ("Jack") Onion, Jr., Presiding Judge, 1971-1988
- Michael Jerry McCormick, Presiding Judge, 1989-2000
- John Preston White, Judge, 1876-1879
- George W. Clark, Judge, 1879-1880
- James Mann Hurt, Judge, 1880-1892
- Samuel A. Willson, Judge, 1882-1891
- Clinton McKamy Winkler, Judge, 1876-1882
- William Lewis Davidson, Judge, 1891-1899, 1913-1917
- John Nathaniel Henderson, Judge, 1894-1907
- MiCahah Madison Brooks, Judge, 1899-1910
- William Franklin Ramsey, Judge, 1907-1911; Associate Justice, 1911-1912
- Felix Johnson McCord, Judge, 1910-1911
- Albert Collins Prendergast, Judge, 1911-1913
- Alfred John Harper, Judge, 1911-1917
- Wright Chalfant Morrow, Judge, 1917-1921
- Offa Shivers Lattimore, Judge, 1919-1937
- Frank Lee Hawkins, Judge, 1921-1939
- Harry Newton Graves, Judge, 1937-1951
- Tom L. Beauchamp, Judge, 1939-1953
- Meade Felix Griffin, Associate Justice, 1949-1968; Special Judge, 1969
- William Arthur Morrison, Judge, 1951-1976
- Kenneth Koch Woodley, Judge, 1953-1967
- Lloyd Witten Davidson, Judge, 1955-1961
- William Thomas McDonald, Sr., Judge, 1960-1964
- James Wesley Dice, Jr., Judge, 1967-1968
- Ernest Walter Belcher, Judge, 1967-1970
- John Frank ("Jack") Onion, Jr., Judge, 1967-1970
- Leon Burr Douglas, Judge, 1969-1980
- Truman Ernest Roberts, Judge, 1971-1982
- Wendell Albert Odom, Judge, 1971-1984
- Thurman Morris Gupton, Judge, 1976
- William T. Phillips, Judge, 1976-1980
- Thomas Gilmer Davis, Judge, 1977-1987
- Jim D. Vollers, Judge, 1978
- Carl E. F. Dally, Judge, 1978-1983
- W. C. ("Bill") Davis, Judge, 1978-1990
- Samuel Houston Clinton, Jr., Judge, 1979-1996
- Michael Jerry McCormick, Judge, 1981-1987
- Marvin Odell Teague, Judge, 1981-1991
- Charles Frankin ("Chuck") Campbell, Judge, 1983-1994
- Charles Edward ("Chuck") Miller, Judge, 1983-1994
- Bill Marvin White, Judge, 1985-1997
- Official Website for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
- Wikipedia: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
- University of Texas: Timeline of Judiciary