The following is a compilation of the unedited responses from Maria Jackson, Democratic candidate for Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, to the 2018 Amarillo Pioneer Voter Guide. Jackson will face Republican Sharon Keller in the November election.
Maria T. Jackson
Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Why did you decide to run for office?
I am running because my diverse background will be an asset to the Court Of Criminal Appeals. I will bring my 5 years experience as a Municipal Court Judge and my 10 years experience as the 339th State District Court judge where I have presided over 75,000 cases. I was voted most qualified by the State Bar Of Texas Judicial Poll and the Houston Bar Association. I have honed the ability to temper Justice with mercy. I have saved thousands of lives through rehabilitation and I have also sent thousands of dangerous criminals to prison. My reputation has gained recognition throughout the State as a Fair, Tough, wise and compassionate Judge. I was also Voted “Houston Press Best Criminal Court Judge”.
Please list any of your political, civic or non-profit experience.
Texas Bar College, Garland R. Walker American Inns Of Court, ALF American Leadership Forum, Fellow Texas Bar Foundation and Houston Bar Foundation, Houston Bar Association, Houston Live Stock and Rodeo Show Lifetime Member, Houston Chapter Links Inc., Delta Sigma Theta and many more.
What is your educational background?
B.A. Political Science University Of Texas At Arlington and J.D. Texas A&M University School Of Law
What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?
I have 5 years experience as a Municipal Court Judge and 10 years experience as the 339th State District Criminal Court judge where I have presided over 75,000 cases, including death penalty qualified cases. I was voted most qualified by the State Bar Of Texas Judicial Poll and the Houston Bar Association. I have honed the ability to temper Justice with mercy. I have saved thousands of lives through rehabilitation and I have also sent thousands of dangerous criminals to prison. My reputation has gained recognition throughout the State as a Fair, Tough, wise and compassionate Judge. I was also Voted “Houston Press Best Criminal Court Judge”. I have dedicated 30 years of my life to Criminal Justice Reform by teaching and rehabiliting economically disadvantaged youth offenders and gang members that are now successful and productive citizens in the community. I am a mentor in my community to our young people, law students, young men and women attorneys, and New Judges. I seek to improve all human lives on a daily basis, including myself.
How will you best represent the Texans who elected you?
I am known and respected on both sides of the political aisle. I am honest, fair, and possess integrity. I will continue to uphold the laws of this State and the laws of the United States. I believe that some non violent offenders may benefit from rehabilitation, some mental health offenders may benefit in mental health programs, and dangerous criminals need to go to prison to protect our community.
Are you supported by any political action committees? If so, which ones?
The Houston Police Officers Union, Harris County Deputies’ Organization, Harris County Mexican American Sherriff’s Organization, Houston Metro Police Officers Union, Houston Fire Fighters Association, the Mexican American Bar Association, The Pasadena Bar Assoiciation, Austin Black Lawyers Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, the Latino PAC, Across the Track PAC, and many more esteemed endorsements
How are you better suited than your opponent(s) to serve in the position that you are running for?
My opponent has made National news for several of her lapses in judgement including one in 1998, where DNA evidence cleared a wrongfully convicted man and my opponent refused to grant him a new trial then Governor Bush had to step in and eventually pardon him. Another case in 2007, a man was about to be executed and the defense attorneys wanted to present a last minute appeal and she refused to hear it. She said “ Our office closes at 5 o’clock” and sadly that man was executed. I have granted 2 Stays of execution to allow both sides to present any and all last minute appeals because we are dealing with human lives. I believe am better suited over my opponent for all of the reasons stated above.
Why should voters choose you in 2018?
Voters should choose me because I have a proven record of doing what is right by following the law, listening to all sides of the evidence, helping others and protecting the community. I want to bring dignity, morality and ethics to the position of Presiding Judge, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 1. My website is www.judgemariatjackson.com