Jury of our peers

State judge talks to students about the judicial system


Photo by Holland Rainwater

Judge Bill Davis speaks about the judiciary system during Hunter Davis’ government class.

Story by Craig Crawford, in-depth editor

Judge Bill Miller came to Texas High on Tuesday to talk to Hunter Davis’ A3 Government AP class period. Davis’ third period class is studying the three branches of government. Davis brought in judge Miller to talk more about the judicial branch and his field of work.

Bill Miller is the father of the senior Davis Miller, who is in Government AP this semester.

“I think it went really well. It’s really great that my dad got to come out to school and teach everyone what it means to participate in the government,” Davis Miller said.

Judge Miller is a state judge for the 5th district court of Texas. Through the 5th district court, judge Miller hears most civil cases and criminal cases exceeding $500.

Judge Miller spoke to demystify the rules and regulations of Texas government.

He emphasized the differences between “judges” (for lower level courts) and “justices” (for higher level courts). Miller spoke about the differences between “jail” and “prison”: jails are normally run by counties and cities for those who are awaiting trial, and prisons are run by the states and national governments for those convicted of crimes.

Students were instructed to prepare questions to ask Judge Miller during class.

“I learned that ethics are a part of anything in the government no matter how the media portrays it,” senior Kamryn Johnson said.

“As soon as you turn 18, you join the judicial system,” judge Miller said. “You join the military, you vote or you serve jury duty.”

“The judge can send you a fine for not showing up, up to $100, $500 or $1000,” judge Miller said. “If you’re on a jury and during [voir dire] you sit there and dont talk and don’t ask questions, you’ll end up on the jury. If you don’t want to be on the jury, ask questions.”

Judge Miller warned students about the importance of their electronic footprint in lieu of the Kavanaugh allegations.

“Remember: Somebody is watching. Someone is listening. Someone is tracking you down,” judge Miller said. “Don’t post stuff that someone 10 years from that someone will say, ‘Did you see what they did in high school?’ Be aware of what you’re putting out there because somebody else can look at it or use it.”

Miller encouraged students to get informed about the roles they play in their community, pertaining to their responsibilities and obligations as civilians.

“When you’re asking why it is important that you know something about the judiciary, it’s because you could be in that seat having to make that decision, along with of your newest best friends (jury) that you’ve never met before.”