Houston, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: How can you find out how many of a judge's decisions were overturned on appeal as a member of the public ?

I am looking for this information for judges in Harris County, Texas.

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: I would use a targeted search for appellate decisions of cases determined by that judge during his or her tenure on a site like Westlaw or LexisNexis, then narrow that search using the word "reverse," and then scroll through the results to count how many of those cases include a judgment of an appellate court which reverses that judge's decision versus other use of the work "reverse" in the body of the opinion.

Realize that, in Texas, a reversal on appeal is rare, especially in a criminal case. Each year, our appellate courts consider about 2,500-3,000 criminal cases out of the more than 500,000 criminal cases filed in more than 1,000 trial courts statewide. About 4% of criminal cases are reversed, and another 8% result in some form a modified judgment. So maybe 350-400 cases per year statewide.

The highest chance of a judge's decision being reversed is in a capital murder case. In 2021, 30% of such cases (3 out of 10) resulted in a reversal of a trial judge's decision.

So, on average, a particular criminal trial judge is overturned on appeal maybe once every 2-3 years.

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