Webcast: 2020 Judicial Candidate Forum

If you think the judicial candidates on your Nov. 3 ballot aren't relevant to your life, think again.

Elected Texas judges decide issues as close to San Antonio's heart as the Hays Street Bridge (see that decision here) and can either perpetuate or support policies to change institutional racism and injustice (see 4th Court of Appeals candidates views on racial injustice here).

Cast a better-informed vote by watching the 2020 Judicial Candidate Forum on Oct. 15, 2020 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. right here on this page.

The forum is co-hosted by the San Antonio Bar Association Medical Legal Liaison Committee and the Bexar County Women's Bar. The forum is sponsored by Texas Medical Legal Consultants and Meritz Reddy Law Firm.

"Decisions made in the various courthouses affect local citizens and governments," said San Antonio Bar Association Executive Director June Moynihan.  "Informed voters understand that all courts, from the trial court to the highest state court color the details of citizen’s daily lives."

The candidates will each have two minutes to introduce themselves and make their remarks.

"We encourage voters to education themselves, preferably using non-partisan resources," said Moynihan.  "We encourage voters to attend candidate forums, read impartial voter education materials and if required, send questions to candidates directly via their various campaign websites, Facebook pages and other social media outlets."

Learn more from the Texas Lawyer's Judicial Candidate Q&A section here. Download the League of Women Voters of San Antonio Area's Voters Guide here for more nonpartisan information on judicial candidates.


  • Brittany M. Weil,  President, Bexar County Women's Bar
  • Dr. Christopher Ticknor, MD,  Co-Chair, SABA Medical Legal Liaison Committee

Confirmed candidates (in ballot order):


The Supreme Court of Texas is the court of last resort for civil cases in Texas. The Court also has administrative control over the State Bar of Texas, is the sole authority for licensing attorneys in Texas, and promulgates the Rules of Procedure, Rules of Evidence and other rules and standards. It consists of a chief justice and eight other justices.

Chief Justice, Supreme Court 8:02

  • Nathan Hecht (REP)
  • Amy Clark Meachum (DEM)
  • Mark Ash  (LIB) (unavailable)

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 7 12:03

  • Jeff Boyd (REP)
  • Staci Williams (DEM)
  • William Bryan Strange III (LIB) (unavailable)

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 8 17:29

  • Brett Busby (REP)
  • Gisela D. Triana (DEM)
  • Tom Oxford (LIB) (unavailable)


The Court of Criminal Appeals is Texas' highest court for criminal cases. Like the Supreme Court, the Court consists of a Presiding Judge and eight Judges. This year there are three open seats on the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3 22:29

  • Bert Richardson (REP)
  • Elizabeth Davis Frizell (DEM)

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 27:12

  • Kevin Patrick Yeary (REP)
  • Tina Yoo Clinton (DEM)

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 31:51

  • David Newell (REP)
  • Brandon Birmingham (DEM)


The Fourth Court of Appeals handles intermediate appeals of both civil and criminal cases from lower trial courts in 32 counties located in South Texas and the Texas Hill Country, including Bexar County. It is comprised of a Chief Justice and six other Justices. In this year’s election, there is one open bench on the 4th Court of Appeals, that of Chief Justice.

Chief Justice 37:37

  • Renée Yanta (REP)
  • Rebeca Martinez (DEM)


Bexar County District Courts are the trial courts of general jurisdiction of Texas. District courts have original jurisdiction in felony criminal cases, divorce cases, cases involving title to land, election contest cases, civil matters in which the amount of money or damages involved is $200 or more, and any matters in which jurisdiction is not placed in another trial court. In Bexar County there are 27 District Courts – 14 Civil, 10 Criminal, and 3 Juvenile. This evening, we will hear from candidates running for five District Court benches.

District Judge, 37th 37th Civil District Court 42:22

  • Joseph P. Appelt (REP)
  • Nicole Garza (DEM)  (unable to attend)

District Judge, 144th Criminal District Court (Unexpired Term) 45:10

  • Melisa Skinner (REP)
  • Michael Mery (DEM)

District Judge, 386th Juvenile District Court 51:14

  • Daphne Previti Austin (REP)
  • Jacqueline "Jackie" Valdés (DEM)

District Judge, 399th Criminal District Court 57:15

  • Walden Shelton (REP)
  • Frank J. Castro (DEM)

District Judge, 407th Civil District Court 1:01:47

  • Stephani Walsh (REP)
  • Tina Torres   (DEM)