Legal History Query

I can’t figure out a way to phrase this search on Westlaw, so I thought I’d turn to the the hive mind of the blawgosphere:

Has Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Sharon Keller ever voted in favor of a defendant in a criminal appeal?

I’ll send a valuable prize to the first person to offer either an answer, or an easy way to find a trustworthy (calling chambers is right out) answer. Lend me your suggestions in the comments.

0 responses to “Legal History Query”

  1. I didn’t have much success with Westlaw, though I found a term that you can add to a search for a specific judge [JU(name here)], and then enter other search terms. That didn’t produce any results for me, though.

    Lexis has a field called “or only with a document segment,” with a pull-down menu where you can select “judge” and then enter the judge’s name. I entered “Keller” there, and entered “criminal and overturn” for my search terms in the regular search field. That produced this case: Granger v. State, 3 S.W.3d 36 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). Keller concurred (with a note) in remanding a case to a lower court, as the defendant was entitled to a mistake of fact instruction.

    There’s also Vasquez v. State, 225 S.W.3d 541 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007), where Keller was in the majority in upholding an intermediate court’s remand to the trial court for a voluntariness instruction.

    I couldn’t find a way to produce a simple voting record, but this allowed me to fairly quickly find a couple cases where she threw the defendant a small crumb.

    Someone else can probably do better tomorrow, but I needed a quick study break. Now, if only I could learn the Federal Rules of Evidence that quickly, I’d be in good shape.

    Zeb in Baltimore

  2. She’s voted in favor of Tom Delay earlier this year, and she has, on several odd cases, voted in favor of D’s, almost exclusively when she would have otherwise been the lone dissenter OR the prosecutor conceded error.

  3. I found a way where you can look to Judge Keller’s cases in her judicial career divided by increasingly discrete subject matter on Westlaw. I started with the same method Zeb used, then used a tab on the side called “litigation history for Sharon Keller.” That produced a list of her cases by year, divided by subject matter. If you click on criminal justice, it divides it by topic (e.g. “sentencing and punishment,” “evidence,” etc.). This may help if you want to argue about a particular trial issue rather than making the broad argument that she never votes for defendants, although I recognize that the larger argument is weightier.

  4. Zeb, being first to comment with an answer (and a correct, verifiable answer to boot!) to my question, wins the valuable prize. (Zeb, email me at mark -at- FightTheFeds dot com with your mailing address.)

    The next question would be the voting record: we know that Judge Keller has ruled for the defense several times; how many?

    Then: did her vote for a defendant ever make a difference to the outcome of a case (probably not, per Anon).

    Antonio, that’s a good thing to know. All of Keller’s cases should be “criminal justice” cases, since she never served on any other appellate court than the CCA.

  5. I’m sorry, but being the cynic I am, I can’t resist.


    Sorry. You know me.

  6. Is the prize something really good, like B&B M&Ms, or is it one of those mugs that show up with a broken handle?

    Inquiring minds want to know?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.