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Dallas Morning News - "My Ballot"


Location: Dallas, TX

Dallas Morning News - "My Ballot"

Length of residency in Texas:

Tom Price: I have lived in Texas for 50 years

Occupation/main source of income:

Tom Price: Judge Court of Criminal Appeals

Current civic involvement/accomplishment highlights:

Tom Price: I am an active member of First Methodist Church Richardson,Texas

Previous civic involvement/accomplishment highlights:

Tom Price: As a Trial Judge I was actively involved in substance abuse issues and rehabilitation

Previous public offices sought/held:

Tom Price: I was a County Criminal Judge for over 12 years and a criminal District Judge for 10 years in Dallas County. I have been on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 11 years.

How much funding have you raised for your campaign?

Tom Price: 403 dollars

Who are your top three contributors?

Tom Price: Bexar County Republican Party and Richard Garland

Have you ever been arrested? If so, explain:

Tom Price: No

I am the most qualified candidate for this position because:

Tom Price: I practiced law for only 4 years and I have dedicated my professional life to improving the Texas Judiciary as a trial judge for over 22 years and a Judge on the highest Criminal Court in Texas for more than 11 years.I love the law and I attempt to improve the criminial justice system wherever needed.

What changes, if any, would you like to see made to the administration of the death penalty in Texas?

Tom Price: I would rather have medical doctors making the decisions in Texas as to what drugs are used and in what quantaties. Today in Texas that decision is made by civilians without any requirement that they consult with medical professionals.

Michael Richard was executed after Presiding Judge Sharon Keller refused his plea for a 20-minute extension to file an appeal. How would you have handled that case?

Tom Price: I was in my office at the court on that day waiting for the appeal for a stay to be filed.If I had known that he had requested an extension of time, I would have granted the request and allowed the paperwork to be filed. This is the worst failure of our system in my 33 years as a judge.

This court has a reputation for being tough on crime — sometimes unreasonably so. Is this reputation deserved?

Tom Price: The courts reputation is based on who you are talking to. All courts are required to follow the law.It is a matter of perception, we are required to be fair and sometimes that translates into being tough but not unreasonably so.

What sitting judge do you hold up as a role model? Please explain.

Tom Price: John Roberts.Because of his intellect and fairness.

What role, if any, does mercy have in justice?

Tom Price: Mercy is not a legal concept that judges are able to use in a trial on guilt or innocence or in the appeal of a criminal case.Mercy can be taken into account by juries on punishment if they choose or by prosecutors in evaluating cases.

Describe what you see as the proper temperament for a judge.

Tom Price: A judge should always conduct himself in a manner that is consistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

When should a judge overrule the decision of the jury?

Tom Price: I was a trial judge for 22 years and I never overruled the decision of a jury.

As an attorney/judge, what types of cases have you handled in your career?

Tom Price: I practiced law for 4 years in which I handled criminal and divorce cases.I have been a criminal court judge for over 33 years.
For appellate court incumbents, what's the average time it takes from the time a case is filed to when it is disposed of in your court?

Tom Price: The average time from a case being filed and disposed of is around 5 months

If you have been a judge, what was your reversal rate?

Tom Price: I was reversed 4 times in 22 years as a trial judge.I tried more than 800 cases.

As a judge (if applicable), have any complaints been filed against you to the Judicial Conduct Committee? If so, please explain the disposition of those complaints.

Tom Price: Yes. I was given a public warning for stating in a campaign brochure that I cared more for victims of crime than I did for convicted criminals. The rules have changed today and I would be permitted to make that statement.

As a lawyer, have you had any proceedings (complaints) filed against you with the Grievance Committee? If so, what was the disposition (unfounded, private reprimand, public reprimand, suspension, disbarment)?

Tom Price: NO

Because Texas selects its judges and justices through partisan elections, you chose to run as a Republican or a Democrat. What philosophies of that party led you to choose it for this race?

Tom Price: I have been elected as a Democrat and as a Republican since 1974. My philosphy has always been the same, follow the law and be fair.

The Supreme Court oath that all lawyers take requires them to say that "we will avoid the appearance of impropriety." In light of that oath you took, how can judges justify accepting campaign contributions from lawyers who have appeared, or will appear, before them in their courtroom?

Tom Price: It is very hard.The answer is to have non partisan elections and judges won't have to accept any contributions.

Is there a problem with legal services provided indigent defendants in this state? If so, how would you as a judge seek to address it?

Tom Price: The problem with legal services in a state as big as Texas is that there is a lack of uniformity in funding.Some areas just don't have the money or lawyers willing to handle serious criminal cases.I would try to assemble a pool of lawyers willing to handle cases in remote areas and train them and assure judges in those counties that cases will be handled in a skilled manner.Some of the larger counties have Public defenders offices.The legislature has been helpful in funding in death cases.Trial judges are the key to the problem,getting them on board is essential.We could write a book and still need help.

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