Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The Breakdown

Job Description
  • The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the state’s court of last resort in criminal matters

  • The court reviews criminal cases to decide whether the decision of the lower court should be reversed, but they may generally choose whether or not to review a case.

  • The only cases the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals must overview are those involving death penalty sentences. They must also review applications for prisoners or detainees that wish to see the court to determine if their imprisonment violates a constitutional right.

  • Length of term: 6 years

  • Number of Justices: 9

  • Term limits: none

  • In the 2016 fiscal year, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals received 4 appeals in a death penalty case.

  • They received 4,454 appeals for other criminal cases and granted review in 96 of them.

Republican Canidates
Place 3: Bert Richardson
  • Has 30 years of experience as a trial and appellate lawyer and as a state judge

  • Promises to be a “conservative-minded” judge

Place 4: Kevin Yeary
  • Before being elected to the court of appeals in 2014, he gained 20 years of experience as an appellate prosecutor

  • Believes the judiciary branch should be “fiercely independent”

  • Was sued by a former secretary for wrongful firing due to her left leaning political views

Place 9: David Newell
  • Has 20 years of experience in criminal law

  • Co-authored a regular journal column that analyzed and summarized significant decisions of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Democratic Canidates
Place 3: Elizabeth Frizell
  • Has 20 years of judicial experience and 26 years of legal experience 

  • Promises to focus on death penalty cases and to allow claims of actual innocence to be fully presented and argued

  • Aims to prevent wrongful convictions before the defendant serves time in prison

Place 4: Tina Clinton
  • Has 25 years of experience in criminal law

  • Current presiding judge over Dallas Criminal District Court No. 1 

  • First generation Asian American immigrant that believes she can bring a fresh perspective to state criminal appeals

  • Has practiced as both a judge and prosecutor for nearly 20 years

  • Is the presiding judge of the 292nd judicial district in Dallas County

  • Runs a podcast that looks at famous historical trials and describes the analytical process of murder investigation

Place 8: Brandon Birmingham