Press Coverage

Republicans vie for nominations to state's highest criminal court,
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 20, 2016

Attorney Steve Smith, 54, a former Texas Supreme Court justice, said he believes he is a "proven conservative" and some of his opponents don't necessarily fit the bill.
"I entered the race to ensure that Republican primary voters had a proven conservative choice in the race" for Criminal Court of Appeals Place 5. The court, he said, has veered from a far-right stance.
"The balance between moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans has shifted, and it's important that a proven conservative take this spot," Smith said.

Court of Criminal Appeals Candidates Emphasize Experience,
Texas Tribune, February 5, 2016

Harle's most vocal opponent is Steve Smith, a former Texas Supreme Court justice. Smith advocates merging the state's two highest courts, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court, and has focused on his opposition to what he calls "judicial lawmaking." Smith said he entered the race largely because he thinks Harle is too moderate.
"I got in at the last minute, right before the filing deadline, when it was clear Harle would not have competition," Smith said. "The balance between moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans has shifted, and it's important that a proven conservative take this spot."
Smith cites Texas v. Villlarreal, a case in which the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 5-4 that blood drawn from drivers without their consent and without a warrant is not admissible evidence in a DWI case, as an example of a case that he says could've easily been decided the other way with a fifth conservative voice.

Bad old days return to criminal appeals court races,
San Antonio Express-News, December 10, 2015

Few Texans can name a member of the state's highest criminal appellate court, and the candidates can't raise enough money to make a blip on the political radar.
Civil courts attract the attention of moneyed interests concerned about high-stakes litigation resulting in big settlements. But few people care enough about the plight of convicted criminals appealing their cases to contribute to a candidate for the criminal appellate court.
As Texas Criminal Appeals Court Judge Mike Keasler once noted, "It's like Rodney Dangerfield. You don't get no respect. You drive across the state and have two minutes to speak."