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Candidates' Forum: Rebeca C. Martinez, Democrat
Candidate for: JUSTICE, 4TH COURT OF APPEALS DIST., PL. 7
After graduating from Boston University School of Law, I returned to Texas and clerked for a U.S. Magistrate Judge, and was an appellate court briefing attorney. During my nearly 20 years of legal practice, I have served as counsel for defense and plaintiff firms and continue to represent clients in civil and criminal matters.
Texas is one of a handful of states that allows its citizens to select its judiciary in a partisan election. This necessarily requires judges to raise big money to compete in expensive campaigns in pursuit of re-election, while at the same time to act with impartiality and avoid even the appearance of bias. The public’s confidence in the independence of the judge, to decide a case on its merits, is threatened when she acts with the appearance of having been influenced by campaign contributors.
In their report, “Lowering the Bar: Lawyers Keep Texas Appeals Judges on Retainer,” the not-for-profit Texans for Public Justice observed that “Regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans wield a judicial majority, the popular perception that justice is for sale in Texas will persist until Texas judges stop taking campaign money from donors with cases in their courts.” I believe the only way to combat this perception is for judges to take a strong stand against this practice and avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
As Associate Justice, I will work to restore public confidence in the judiciary and preserve judicial independence. I will not accept campaign contributions from parties or lawyers with matters pending before me.
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