Tuesday, July 26, 2005

FORMER PROSECUTOR ANNOUNCES HER CANDIDACY, For Justice Of The Third Court Of Appeals, Place 3

AUSTIN – Long-time Austin attorney, Diane Henson, announced her candidacy for Justice of the Third Court of Appeals, Place 3. This position is presently held by Democrat Bea Ann Smith, who has announced that she will not seek another term on the court. Henson brings 26 years of experience in various capacities, as a prosecutor and as a civil litigator.

An honors graduate of Drake University Law School, Diane Henson began her career as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. prosecuting corrupt politicians. Henson, a board certified attorney, was the first female litigation partner at one of Austin’s most prestigious firms, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody and practiced there for 12 years before opening her own law firm in 1995. Henson practiced law with Bea Ann Smith at Graves, Dougherty for several years before Smith was appointed to the Court of Appeals. Henson has received two Outstanding Achievement Awards from the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association. In 1997, Henson was inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates, an honor that few lawyers are able to attain.

“A fair and independent judiciary is important for the protection of the rights of all Texans. We must have a balanced court, free of undue influence by special interests,” said Henson. “Any time one political party has too much power, there is a real opportunity for both corruption and extremism. Our courts should be independent of political control or influence.”

In 2004, Henson almost upset Republican incumbent and former Rick Perry aide, Bob Pemberton, who had been appointed to Place 6 on the Court of Appeals. Despite George Bush’s tremendous coattails, Henson, the Democratic nominee for Place 6, earned nearly 49% of the vote in her first try for elective office. Henson received more than 360,000 votes, was endorsed by law enforcement groups and was one of the few non-incumbent judicial candidates to be endorsed by several major Texas newspapers. Henson stated, “We were within striking distance and we’re going to build on that base of bi-partisan support.”

As a young attorney, Henson achieved national attention for her ground-breaking litigation involving Title IX on behalf of young women in sports. Thousands of young women have had opportunities to attend college on athletic scholarships because of Henson’s work.

The Third Court of Appeals encompasses 24 counties in central and west Texas: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Coke, Comal, Concho, Fayette, Hays, Irion, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, McCulloch, Milam, Mills, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Sterling, Tom Green, Travis and Williamson Counties.

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