Democrats, are you tired of hearing “we can’t do this” and “we can’t win”? So am I.
I’m tired of our courts and our system of justice being held hostage by antiquated ideologies. I am Keith Hampton and I am your candidate for presiding judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals.
I am running against Sharon Keller.
For those who don’t know, this is the judge who closed the courthouse doors at 5 o’clock to Michael Richard, a death-sentenced inmate seeking a stay of execution. She said famously, “We close at five.” He was executed within the hour.
For her irresponsible decision to close the courthouse doors at 5 p.m., she was condemned by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Many people hold her responsible for the man’s execution.
Even Republicans don’t approve of Keller’s reckless actions on the court. For a sitting judge, it does not get worse than this.
And yet it does. I want to tell you about Cesar Fierro, a man who confessed to a crime, but only after police told him his parents were being held in Juarez, Mexico, and would be tortured and killed if he didn’t confess. The evidence of coercion was not disclosed until after the trial. The prosecutor said he would not have prosecuted him if he had known. Judge Keller’s opinion: sure the man was denied his constitutional rights, but he wasn’t sufficiently prejudiced by it.
And there’s Roy Criner. He was convicted of terrible crimes. He contested the DNA evidence which convicted him. He proved his innocence by having it tested and the DNA proved not to be his. But it wasn’t enough for Judge Keller. When asked, “If DNA can’t prove your innocence, then how can an innocent person prevail?” she said, “I don’t know.” It had never occurred to her.
And then there’s Mr. Tuley, who everyone agreed was innocent and petitioned the Court for exoneration. But she didn’t think judges should be bothered by claims of innocence. Her solution? Let Rick Perry decide.
By the way, I argued that case and I won it.
I could go on. But her record as judge is well-known. It is likely the reason that in the heavily Republican statewide judicial bar poll I beat her. I got 52 percent, and she got 38 percent from the judges and lawyers across the state.
Democrats and Republicans in the legal community already believe I am the best candidate and I should replace her on this court. With your help, I will.
This is a winning race. She is the weakest candidate they have. Republicans are embarrassed by her. I spoke with a well respected political science professor, and asked him “Can a Democrat win in 2012?” He responded, “A Democrat can win statewide in 2012 if you have three things: 1. It must be a presidential election year; 2. It must be a judicial race; and 3. Your opponent is just really, really bad.”
We have all three. Democrats, you will not have this opportunity again. This is the winning race.
But you wouldn’t know it from newspapers, pundits and bloggers. They say no Democrat can win. I have been defending your constitutional rights for over 20 years, and if you tell me I can’t win a case, it does nothing but provoke me.
How much sweeter victory will be when no one saw it coming.
How great would it be to wake up in November after the election to read the headline “First statewide Democrat elected since 1994”? Do you like the sound of that?
All it takes is one break-out. That break-out, just as it was for Republicans decades ago when they were in the political wilderness, was a judicial race. Today, the breakout for Democrats is my race.
With your help, I will be your break-out candidate. Together we can revitalize our party, take back important seats in the House and Senate, and restore justice from a judge who the Statesman called “cold-blooded.”
So let us do this for the sake of the Democratic Party. Let us do this for the sake of our great state. We can do this. We must do this. We will do this.
I am Keith Hampton and I want your support to restore justice this November.