Candidates for Court of Criminal Appeals - Presiding Judge answer survey
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Editor's note: The Advocate is profiling candidates in the Nov. 6 election. This profile compiled by the League of Women Voters features candidates for Court of Criminal Appeals - Presiding Judge.
• Name: Sharon Keller
• Political Party: Republican
NO REPLY RECEIVED.
• Name: Keith Hampton
• Political Party: Democratic
• Website: hamptonforjudge.com
• Email: email@example.com
What is your education and experience?
Keith Hampton graduated from The University of Texas 1984 and graduated from St. Mary's School of Law 1989. Attended the Institute on World Legal Problems, Insbruck, Austria. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law. Keith has defended the Texas Constitution for the last 20 years. Keith has been appointed by Gov. George Bush and Justice John Cornyn to judicial commissions. He was voted as the "Best Qualified" candidate in 2012 by attorneys and judges across Texas.
How do you maintain impartiality, given the need to raise funds for political campaigns?
Keith has and will continue to strictly comply with the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act. While this court does not decide financial matters like civil courts, Keith will recuse himself under any circumstance where impartiality becomes an issue due to campaign contributions. He will not participate in any case in which his impartiality might reasonably be questionable.
The Texas criminal justice system has undergone a number of reforms in indigent criminal defense. How is the system working now and what improvements are still needed?
Keith was very involved in most of the DNA testing procedure, innocence clinics, life without parole, assistance for mentally disabled and the Fair Defense Act reforms. The criminal justice system has improved, but lawmakers should do more to support rehabilitative approaches (like drug and veteran courts), which have shown to be more cost effective.
What are the most important obligations of a Court of Criminal Appeals judge and why?
The two fundamental duties of the court are to uphold the constitution and see that justice is fair and equal for all Texans. The first is an oversight function ensuring equal, impartial treatment. The second - reaching a truly just outcome - is often harder, but is vital to the integrity of our system.