The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is based in the Supreme Court Building in Downtown Austin and is composed of a Presiding Judge, as well as eight additional judges. It is the court of last resort for all criminal matters in the state of Texas. The Court of Criminal Appeal judges are elected and can determine whether or not to review a case.
In the 2016 fiscal year, the Court of Criminal Appeals received 4 appeals in death-penalty cases. The Courts of Appeals received 4,454 appeals in other criminal cases, and in 1325 of those appeals the Court of Criminal Appeals was asked to grant further review. The Court granted review in 96 of them. After deciding each appeal, the Court delivers a written opinion that explains the reason for its decision.
The Court also has sole authority to grant the writ of habeas corpus to a person who has been convicted of a felony (which is a crime that is punishable by death or by imprisonment in the Department of Criminal Justice). In the 2016 fiscal year, the Court received 4,632 habeas-corpus petitions and 30 death penalty habeas corpus petitions. The Court of Criminal Appeals typically disposes of more matters each year than any other appellate court in the country.
Because the court is made up of leaders chosen by voters state-wide, making the right decision at the polls could be the deciding factor of whether justice is fairly administered. Voters must carefully elect judges who will consider the safety of our communities, ensure justice for victims, work efficiently and uphold the rule of law at all times.
WHERE I COME FROM
My hometown is Waco where I was raised and still live with my family. We were raised by my parents in the local church. My mother, Darlene Parker Mattlage, was very active in the Republican Party as McLennan County Vice-Chair. As a teenager, I would join her in working for the party. My husband, Dr. Kevin Kallal, and I live in Waco, and in addition to our professional careers, we both serve in faith-based leadership positions where we care for and advocate for those in need in our community.
A THRIVING CAREER
I attended Baylor University majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing, and shortly thereafter put my degrees to work building homes with my father, Homes by Gina. Not long after, I attended and graduated from Baylor University School of Law. I have had a wide-ranging career that has spanned the practice of civil law, business law and criminal law, including criminal appellate work. Also, serving as a City Attorney, Assistant County Attorney and Assistant District Attorney provided legal experience. I have prosecuted misdemeanor, felony and juvenile cases, handled mental illness proceedings and will bring experience with complex criminal law to the bench. Most of my career was spent practicing law as a solo practitioner which required not only knowledge of the law but demanded business acumen in order to best serve my clients and succeed in business at the same time. While serving for over eight years in a quasi-judicial capacity as both a commissioner and Chairman on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, I along with the other commissioners, had the duty of overseeing various agency matters and ruling on administrative law case appeals that spanned over 20 industries at the time.
A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSWOMAN
A lifetime dream of starting a successful business was fulfilled when Dental Creations, Ltd., a dental manufacturing company, was founded in 2001. It was established with hopes of supporting missions, helping abused women and providing second chances through employment to those with hopes of rebuilding their lives. Both businesses provide an opportunity to grow professionally and provide a place to serve those in my employment as well as my clients and customers. Dental Creations, Ltd, manufactures and sells time-saving and innovative products for use in labs, dental offices, and orthodontic offices not only in the United States but worldwide. As owner and General Manager of the company, my legal experience has proven beneficial to the manufacturing company in securing patents and trademarks, drafting royalty agreements, negotiating contracts, dealing with onerous government regulations, working with international law, and researching and developing products.
WHY I’M RUNNING FOR JUDGE
After much prayer and discussions with family and friends, I decided to run for office. I am willing to work hard to defeat the opposition candidates in 2020 and will be a stalwart to defend our constitution, uphold the rule of law and interpret and apply the law as written. As a constitutional conservative who loves Texas, I’m running for judge to keep our communities safe, preserve the rule of law and ensure justice for victims.