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2014-2015 Exemplary Article Award: Hon. Elsa Alcala

Judge Elsa Alcala has served on the Court of Criminal Appeals

since her appointment in May 2011. While on the CCA, Judge Alcala

has authored over 50 majority opinions, 20 concurring opinions, 15

dissenting opinions, and participated in the resolution of over 30,000

cases. Judge Alcala received the honor for exemplary article for her

paper titled “Recent Developments in the Law Related to Search and

Seizure in Driving-While-Intoxicated Cases,” which she presented at the

2015 Regional Conferences. Her article has become a go-to resource

on DWI law. She has spoken for the Texas Center on many occasions

in the past few years, and her materials are always thorough, accurate,

and understandable. Prior to becoming a judge on the Court of Criminal

Appeals, she served for nine years as a justice on the First Court of

Appeals, an intermediate court of appeals in Texas with jurisdiction

over criminal and civil matters. There, Judge Alcala authored over 650

majority opinions and presided in approximately 3,000 cases. Prior to

serving on the appellate courts, Judge Alcala presided over trials as a

state district court judge for over three years.

2014-2015 Judicial Excellence in Education Award:

Hon. Dean Rucker

Judge Dean Rucker serves as the Presiding Judge of

the Seventh Administrative Judicial Region of Texas. He is

also a Senior Judge of the 318th Family District Court and

sitting by assignment. He is consistently a “yes-man” for

the Texas Center when it comes to supporting programs,

whether it be offering input for developing curriculum,

serving on committees, contacting speakers, or speaking

himself. Some examples of Judge Rucker’s commitment to

judicial excellence in education include his work with the

Children’s Commission. He serves as one of two Children’s

Commission Jurists in Residence. He also serves as the Legal

Representation Committee Chair. Recently, Judge Rucker

volunteered to serve on the Texas Board of Legal Specialization Advisory Committee which is working to

establish board certification in child welfare law. Judge Rucker is the 2014 recipient of the Samuel Pessarra

Outstanding Jurist Award given by the Texas Bar Foundation and the 2014 recipient of the Harriett Herd

Founders Award from Centers for Children and Families of Midland. In 2006, he was awarded the Chair’s

Award of Excellence by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. Judge Rucker was also honored as the 2005 Jurist

of the Year by the Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In 1997, Texas CASA

recognized Judge Rucker as the Clayton E. Evans Judge of the Year.