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We all know that good judges matter and that a fair civil justice system should require judges to meet the highest standards of excellence.  That’s why we support legislation pending in the Legislature – House Bill 2384 – to increase judicial training and transparency.

HB 2384 by state Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano would establish minimum qualifications for judicial candidates and current judges to ensure they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively perform their duties.

The bill would also direct the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules on judicial training required of judges and set a one-year timeframe for completion.  New judges would be required to complete instruction on the administrative duties of the office and substantive, procedural, and evidentiary law, with additional  continuing education annually.

The legislation proposes to increase transparency in the judicial system by requiring a judicial candidate’s ballot application disclose any public sanction, censure or disciplinary sanctions in Texas or another state, to state the nature of the candidate’s practice, any legal specialization, the candidate’s professional courtroom experience, and any final conviction for a Class A or B misdemeanor in the past 10 years.

Candidates for appellate court seats would go a step further, describing appellate court briefs and oral arguments for the past five years.

The bill would provide the voters who elect leaders for these important positions a better understanding of the candidates asking for their votes.  Good judges matter, and we should all want our judges to demonstrate the highest level of skill and competence.

HB 2384 would help bring uniformity, transparency and accountability to our courts.