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THE TEXAS THIRD COURT OF APPEALS
The Third Court of Appeals is the intermediate appeals court for 24 central and west Texas counties. All actions and decisions of the county and district courts within those 24 counties are subject to review by the Third Court. The Third Court is unique among the State’s 14 intermediate appellate courts in that it hears the appeals of cases involving Texas state government, state officials and state agencies. This makes it one of the most important courts in Texas due to the impact those decisions have on the entire state. In addition to complex State government appeals, the Third Court handles the appeals of all civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions from within the 24 county district. In 2017, the Third Court issued 841 written opinions. Its decisions represent the final word of the Texas justice system in nearly 97% of its cases.
Justice David Puryear is a 62-year-old native of Austin, a fifth-generation Texan, and senior justice on the Texas Third Court of Appeals. Being the first Republican ever elected to the Third Court in a contested race, he was first elected to the court in 2000 and re-elected twice to this position in 2006 and 2012. Prior to his election to the Third Court of Appeals, Justice Puryear served as Deputy Director, Special Crimes Division under (then) Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, where he supervised lawyers in the prosecution of various felony offenses.
Before serving in a state-level capacity, Justice Puryear was twice elected as Judge of Travis County Court at Law No. 6, serving from 1991- 1998, presiding over the disposition of some 40,000 cases. He also served as a Travis County criminal prosecutor from 1982-1990.
Justice Puryear began his higher education 30 minutes north of Austin at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas — a college chartered by the founding government of the Republic of Texas. He earned his undergraduate degree from Southwestern University in 1978, lettering all four years on the Southwestern University baseball team. Following his time at Southwestern, he earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University School of Law in 1983.
A HISTORY OF SUPERIOR PUBLIC SERVICE
Central Texans elected Justice Puryear to the Third Court of Appeals in 2000, and re-elected him in 2006 and 2012. This makes him the senior and longest serving justice on the Third Court of Appeals, as well as one of the longest serving appellate judges in the state of Texas. During this time, he has issued well over 3,000 written opinions. Justice Puryear ranked 1st in total opinion production among all Texas appellate court justices in both 2015 and 2016 according to the Texas Office of Court administration, which compiles state court data. Justice Puryear also serves on the Texas multi-district litigation panel, by appointment of the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.