The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in the State of Texas. The Court, which is based in Austin, is composed of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges.

Article V of the Texas Constitution vests the judicial power of the state and describes the Court's jurisdiction and sets rules for judicial eligibility, elections, and vacancies.

Jurisdiction

Only Texas and Oklahoma have two courts of last resort. In Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals has final jurisdiction over all criminal matters, while the Texas Supreme Court is the last word on all non-criminal matters. The Court of Criminal Appeals exercises discretionary review over crimes, which means that it may choose whether or not to review a case. The only cases that the Court must hear are those involving the sentencing of capital punishment or the denial of bail.

Court Composition

The Court is composed of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges (unlike the Texas Supreme Court which is composed of a Chief Justice and eight Justices). Each Judge serves a six-year term, and they are elected in staggered partisan elections. The Presiding Judge is a seat elected by the people. In order to be a Judge, a person must be at least 35 years of age, a United States and Texas citizen, licensed to practice law in Texas, and must have practiced law at least 10 years. Judges must retire at age 75, even if the birthday falls in the middle of a term. The Governor of Texas, 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.

The current Judges of the Court are:

* Sharon Keller, Presiding Judge

* Lawrence E. Meyers, Judge

* Tom Price, Judge

* Paul Womack, Judge

* Cheryl Johnson, Judge

* Michael Keasler, Judge

* Barbara Hervey, Judge

* Charles Holcomb, Judge

* Cathy Cochran, Judge

 

Quotes About Sharon Keller

"We should expect fair and judicious treatment from our courts not cruel and callous actions such as this. Otherwise, we are no better than societies without an impartial justice system."

Steven Rosner, Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public

 

"I am deeply disturbed at the damage caused by this single incident to the integrity of our justice system, an issue more important than even a single man's life. Unless consequences are addressed, this behavior undermines the very foundations of respect for our legal system. Criminal behavior often occurs because criminals don't respect our legal system, therefore we demand a legal system worthy of respect. A judge is only a civil servant, but one who is held to the highest standard of trust to be impartial and fair and not impose their own cynical ideology."

Debbie Deiters, Austin, Texas,

Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public

 

This act is the most disgraceful thing I have ever heard of a judge doing and it should not go unpunished. Justice Keller needs to be removed from the bench and placed on the other side facing charges of negligence, malpractice and murder.

Andrew Ritzdorf, Centennial, Colorado
Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public
 

This conduct was most appalling and vile - especially coming from someone supposedly qualified to affect justice! She is a disgrace of the highest order, and her wanton disregard for a man's right to (try to)live must be punishable by removing her from office.

Dorothy Finch, Atlanta, Georgia
Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public
 

Your actions should be criminal in a world where the harm done to society is actually judged by harm and not class status. This is an example of how justice not only sleeps, but saunters lazily out of the courtroom even at the peril of death to others, whose right to an appeal was immorally thwarted. I would never clerk for a judge like you. Despicable. Disgusting. You will forever be pinned in my judicial Hall of Shame. If I end up teaching law, your name will be forever ringing as an example of incompetence and hatred under the guise or procedure.

Heather Burke, San Diego, California
Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public
 
 
"Way to serve the public, your dis-honor." 
 
Michael Murphy, Houston, Texas
Signed Judicial Complaint from Members of Public

Call Your Legislator

Please take a moment to call your member of the Texas House of Representatives and tell your State Representative that you want the Texas House to impeach Keller. You can find out who your State Representative is by going to the link below and entering your address. http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us