Judicial Q&A: Justice Jerry Zimmerer

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. Much more information about Democratic primary candidates, including links to the interviews and judicial Q&As, can be found on Erik Manning’s spreadsheet.

Justice Jerry Zimmerer

1. Who are you and in which court do you preside?

Jerry Zimmerer, incumbent Justice 14th Court of Appeals, Place 3.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

The Texas Court of Appeals primarily hears cases involving appeals from trial courts in both civil and criminal matters. This includes

  • Civil Appeals: These can involve various issues such as contract disputes, family law matters (e.g., divorce and child custody), personal injury claims, property disputes, and appeals from administrative agencies.
  • Criminal Appeals: These cases involve appeals from criminal convictions in trial courts. The Court of Appeals reviews whether errors during the trial affected the case outcome or violated the defendant's rights.
  • Juvenile Appeals: Cases involving juveniles, including delinquency matters and appeals from decisions of juvenile courts.

Overall, the Court of Appeals serves as an intermediate appellate court in the Texas judicial system, reviewing decisions from trial courts to ensure they were made correctly and fairly according to the law.

3. What have been your main accomplishments during your time on this bench?

When I took office, I had three primary initiatives for my first term:

  • 1st was to eliminate the backlog.
  • 2nd was to use my office as a vehicle to promote democratic values.
  • 3rd was to help facilitate our Democratic Primary Process through a series of voter education tools.

I have succeeded in each of these initiatives. But I am not done; I have more to do next term.

4. What do you hope to accomplish in your courtroom going forward?

  • I hope to maintain a prompt docket, writing clear opinions that help explain the law.
  • I want to help develop and support the State Bar of Texas in creating a new specialization called "Effective Administration of Justice." This would create a new credential for judges and help them develop processes to run court dockets better and manage cases.

5. Why is this race important?

The appellate court's role is to provide a forum for the resolution of legal disputes, interpret laws, and ensure that the government's actions align with the principles outlined in the Constitution. The appellate courts ensure a system of checks and balances, promoting accountability and preventing any branch from accumulating unchecked power.

6. Why should people vote for you in March?

  • Education Matters: I hold three law degrees, did my internship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and am credentialed by the A.A. White Institute in International Commercial Arbitration.
  • Experience Matters: This year, I will celebrate 40 years as a practicing trial lawyer and judge.
  • Family and Life Experience Matters: I come from a long line of strong women. I have raised two strong daughters.
  • Endorsements Matter: AFL-CIO, LGBTQ+, BAND, and others.
  • Caring Matters: More than all the above, I care about the state of our judiciary. Our courts should not be extensions of our political parties but rather a place for reason to prevail.

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