Judges of the State of Texas:
The Judicial Section of the State Bar is welcoming some two hundred eleven newly elected judges year! This is the biggest turnover in judges since the creation of the College for New Judges, and it promises to bring many changes to many jurisdictions as these judges hone their skills and develop their own local procedures and practices. As an optimist, I always believe change creates opportunity, and I am confident that we now have the opportunity to improve the administration of justice in Texas as these judges implement "best practices" learned from their new colleagues and from the wise (and generally much older) faculty of judges at the College for New Judges, administered by the Texas Center for the Judiciary.
This year may also bring other big changes in the lives of most judges as the legislature convenes January-May 2019! Rest assured that the Judicial Section is fully engaged in monitoring all of the thousands of bills introduced, and is prepared to weigh in on those which may have a substantial impact upon our lives in the judiciary or upon the administration of justice. Courthouse and judicial security, bail reform and judicial compensation are all topics which will receive much attention. The Judicial Compensation Commission has again recommended a raise in judge's salaries to the legislature, and for the first time in recent history, the Comptroller has included an increase in judicial compensation in the base budget. Since we have only had two raises in the last 18 years, we remain confident that the legislature will "do the right thing" in support of the third branch of government. If you wish to help in this effort, please contact our Legislative Committee (led by Judge Alfonso Charles) first so that you can become informed, and so that we judges can speak with a unified and powerful voice in Austin. Please visit our new website (www.judicialsection.com) to get more information.
We are excited about our new website, and its newest and coolest feature: ethics opinions that are key-word searchable. The old index was not that reliable, and it required the reading of many opinions to find the right one. All that has changed. Now when you have that nagging ethical question as a judge, you can do a quick word search of all of the ethics opinions that have been issued over the years, in seconds! Many thanks to Justice Lee Gabriel and her committee for all their hard work in completing this project.
I am honored and humbled to serve as your Chair this year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your thoughts, whether they be positive or negative.