David Bridges' campaign website reads: "My opponent is currently on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and I ask you to Google her name*..."
The presiding justice of this important court should be above reproach. The incumbent judge, Sharon Keller, is not. Issues concerning her judgment, basic decency and ethics have dogged her 24-year tenure on the court. In 2010 she was fined $100,000 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to disclose personal real estate holdings worth nearly $3 million.
Republican voters should resist the temptation to pull the lever beside a familiar name, and vote for her well-qualified challenger: Bridges.
Bridges, 62, began his career as an assistant district attorney before serving as senior disciplinary counsel for the State Bar of Texas. For the past 21 years, he's been justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas where he handles from 40 to 60 criminal appeals a year. The Texas Tech School of Law graduate is board certified in both criminal and criminal appellate law.
With regard to Keller's infamous line: "We close at five," issued callously in response to a last minute execution appeal, Bridges told us that his bench will stay open late even if someone is just about to get his truck taken away by a creditor. Keller's scandal happened more than a decade ago, but it still haunts our criminal justice system.
A staunch Republican, Bridges believes that "conservatives have no desire for innocent people to be in prison."
This is in contrast to Keller's refusal to grant a new trial in a rape case despite DNA evidence suggesting the accused did not commit the crime. Justice was delayed until then-governor George W. Bush pardoned the accused.
It's past time for Keller to hang up her robe. Either Bridges or Democratic challenger Maria Jackson should prevail and restore the reputation of this office in November.
* Hyperlink to Google Search added to cached version