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I literally am a citizen judge. Steve Mansfield STEVE MANSFIELD IS the 42-yearold insurance company lawyer who last month rode a Republican tide to a seat on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. “Has any statewide candidate come to the job as ill-equipped as Republican Stephen W. Mansfield?” senior reporter Robert Elder, Jr. asked in a brief introduction to a Texas Lawyer interview. In 80 responses across two pages of the November 21 issue of the Lawyer Mansfield himself answered Elder’s question with what amounts to a clear, unequivocal: “No.” Democrat incumbent Charles Campbell was an unremarkable justice who spent $40,000 to Mansfield’s $10,000 and still lost by a 46-54 percent margin. But as a former prosecutor, Campbell at least understood criminal justice in Texas and knew the workings of the court, from which he oversaw the state’s death penalty litigation. Mansfield, on the other hand, is remarkable. If a majority of voters knew what the readers of the Texas Lawyer knew, we would be looking at an altogether different high appellate bench than the one to be sworn in in January. \(And that includes the Supreme Court, where a very under-experienced Priscilla Owen padded her resume and defeated Third Court of Appeals Justice Jimmy Carroll, whose resume needs no. embellishment. In fairness to Justice-Elect Owen, though, she can’t be compared to Mansfield, whose campaign and personal history seems to have developed in a zone What the Texas Lawyer \(and, to be fair, campaign was recapitulated in a post-election story written by Jane Elliott, who, under the headline “Unqualified Success” described Justice-elect Mansfield as being burdened by “serious credibility problems.” Jane Elliott and the Lawyer’s editors should be commended for their restraint. Mansfield lied about his place of birth \(he said he had never run for office and he his trial experience \(it seems he has none or it’s As a former girlfriend from Houston, who admits to administering a physical beating to Mansfieldwhom she met through a personal ad and who told her he was a former professional football player told Tim. Fleck of the Houston Press: “You guys are going to find that he lies. Lies a lot. Anything he said, you can pretty much bank is not the truth.” The woman provided Fleck a copy of Mansfield’s response to a personal ad query, in which he wrote that he had “brown/black hair and deep blue eyes; I believe you’ll like what you see. To answer a question that is on your mind, I have dated seriously a black lady before, namely the person who died.” In an interview with Fleck, Mansfield admitted that the woman he referred to in the letter was not dead. “Oh, that was puffery,” he says of the story about the dead woman. “It never happened.” Interviews with Mansfield seem to end up as something of a liar’s minuet, one step forward then two back, dancing around the truth. With apologies to the Texas Lawyer, full attribution, and what we believe to be a reasonable understanding of the “fair-use doctrine,” we proceed with excerpts from Bob Elder’s interviews with Justice-elect Mansfield. Q: Let me go back to a couple of points in our forum… You said “My background is primarily criminal defense.” Given your employment history as listed to the Board of Examiners, and what you’ve discussed previously, can you in good conscience say your background is primarily in criminal defense at this point? A: I would have to retract that. Q: Okay, how would you characterize it? A: Well, certainly I have criminal defense experience, but certainly more of my practice has been in the area of federal tax law than in criminal defense. Q: You also said you’d appeared in courts in Illinois, Florida and Massachusetts. A: That’s true. Q: In what capacity? A: Well, actually, Illinois, that’s a mistake, it should have been Pennsylvania. I did appear in one case in Pennsylvania. Q: Whatever. And sb most of your criminal experience was in Massachusetts, from ’78 to ’80? A: Yes, I had several clients there I represented. Q: Several. A: And certainly in Florida. I appeared in court there. Once. Q: In what capacity? A: Well, I went to court with a friend there, not as an attorney though, as an adviser. Q: So when you say you appeared in courts rift THE TEXAS It IP server DECEMBER 9, 1994 VOLUME 86, No. 23 FEATURES After the Fall By Thomas Ferguson 8 DEPARTMENTS Editorials Judicial Selection By Jim Harrington 2.6 Las Americas Drugs & Politics in Mexico By Louis Dubose Zedillo’s Mexico By John Ross 14 16 Interview Carlos Fuentes By Donald Demarest 1 8 Jim Hightower 1 2 Molly Ivins 13 Books and the Culture The Visible Social Order Book review by Elaine Robbins Dance Across Texas By Ann Daly Weather Report from Amarillo Movie review by Steven G. Kellman 20 21 22 Afterword Dead Party Board Game By Dick Reavis 23 Political Intelligence 24 Cover photo by Jennifer Binder in Illinoiswhich you now mean PennsylvaniaFlorida and Massachusetts, and in Florida you appeared not as an attorney but an adviser, isn’t that kind of shading, isn’t that what this editorial is talking about, your “shading the truth”? A: Fine, fine. I’ll acknowledge that. Q: Given all that, do you feel you’ve deceived voters to a significant degree about your qualifications? A: No, because Texas Lawyer as well as other publications have very clearly questioned my background. The last response, specious reasoning notwithstanding, at least suggests a mind at work. A candidate for office can lie as long A Poster Boy for Reform THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3