Last month, Trinity University published a joint alumni profile on three 4th Court staff attorneys: Hayley Ellison, Michael Ritter, and Andrea Morris.
“Ellison, staff attorney to Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion, thinks of her role as a ‘watchdog’ for the law. “If a Court of Appeals reverses a conviction, it’s not because we think someone is innocent; It’s because our job is to make sure everyone is getting a fair trial,” she says. “It’s our job to make sure the system is predictable, because predictability is what makes it fair.”
“Ritter, who works for Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa , explains that if a party involved in a trial asserts that the trial judge ruled in a way that incorrectly affected the outcome of the case, that party can file a notice of appeal. Staff attorneys review the court reporter’s trial transcript and draft an opinion…. Ritter, who graduated cum laude from Trinity with a speech communication major, explained that while the work can be behind-the-scenes, “what we do truly matters to people throughout San Antonio and 31 other counties in central and southwest Texas.” The Fourth Court of Appeals oversees 32 counties including Bexar County.”
“Morris, who graduated magna cum laude as an economics and sociology double major, offers an example of a recent issue seen by the Fourth Court of Appeals that was important to citizens in San Antonio. The proposed park around San Antonio’s Hays Street Bridge, which was constructed in 1900, was a contentious case….Morris agrees that her work as a staff attorney for Justice Beth Watkins is meaningful: “The opinions I draft are important to the communities we oversee.”
The whole article is available here.