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progressive voters is the choice between Frank Maloney and Moms Overstreet for Place 1 on the Court of Criminal Appeals. A ‘third candidate, Jeff Van Horn, a Caldwell County District Attorney, has positioned himself to the right of most Republican candidates for public office, and seems to ignore the accusatory nature of the American judicial system. Morris Overstreet is a black Potter County District Judge who narrowly missed a chance to be the Democratic Party candidate for the Supreme Court when the State Democratic Executive Committee supported, by a 33-24 vote, Karl Bayer. Bayer went on to replace resigned Justice James Wallace and was defeated by Republican Eugene Cook. Overstreet goes up against Frank Maloney, who one Austin civil rights attorney describes as “one of the best authorities on legal procedure in the state.” And the Court of Criminal Appeals deals with procedure. We endorse Maloney, 67, who has a longer and more notable criminal-defense resume than anyone currently on the court. An African-American candidate on a statewide ticket is obviously long overdue. And Morris Overstreet is at least as qualified as several current members of the Texas Supreme Court. Yet the opportunity to elect a jurist like Maloney to the body that is the court of last resort for all criminal cases outweighs the very important issue of minority representation. For Place 3, we recommend Pat Barber, who is running against incumbent Justice Bill White. White has never denied his predisposition toward prosecutors. Barber is backed by criminal-defense attorneys. L.D., A.F. Attorney General The People’s Candidate The Observer endorses John Odam for attorney general. Odam served as an executive assistant attorney general for John Hill before Hill abandoned in principle his party . . . and in practice his principle. Odam, a Houston trial lawyer, has conducted the most peculiar sort of campaign for public office at least when measured by the standard against which we measure most political campaigns today. John Odam has been talking to the people. He has visited every county courthouse in the state, talked with county commissioners, local officials, and voters in places where most candidates for statewide public office won’t even buy airtime. Odam has also served as Harris County Democratic Party Chair and as a legislative liaison to the Mark White administration. He is endorsed by the progressive Harris County Democrats and backed by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. While trial-lawyer bashing has become fashionable, particularly among some of the more shrill newspaper columnists in the state’s major dailies, it might be wise to pause and recall the Texas Supreme Court when it was a subsidiary of oil and insurance companies. Only after plaintiffs’ attorneys organized and began backing candidates did progressive justices such as Bill Kilgarlin and Ted Z. Robertson begin to win elections. While we don’t confuse the profession with the Sisters of Charity, we do recognize that trial lawyers’ self-interest more often than not coincides with the interest of most working people in the state. Odam would have won the support of the Texas AFL-CIO, if their convention had endorsed candidates rather than adjourning when they were unable to resolve a bitter fight between Jim Mattox and Ann Richards. He had both of the convention committees’ endorsements which are a prerequisite to endorsement on the floor. John Odam So we will go with Odam, the more experienced and more progressive of the two candidates. He is backed by the right people, seems inclined to pursue the same aggressive environmental and anti-trust .course charted by Jim Mattox, and will probably improve ALAN POGUE the backlogged child support division. While John Bryant and Lloyd Doggett would have been our first and second choices, Odam is the better candidate in March and will run a strong race against Pat Hill or Buster Brown in November. L.D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5