Here is a great card I have found from the Texas Law Review. It is from a piece called, "Elected Judges and the Death Penalty in Texas: Why Full Habeas Corpus Review by Independent Federal Judges Is Indispensable to Protecting Constitutional Rights.
Texas' judges - all of them - are elected, not appointed. This is often controversial, because judges are supposed to rule on the law instead of on popular opinion. But what happens if they make a decision that is legally right, but unpopular? They don't get reelected. Many political scientists think this is a conflict of interest, and that because the jobs of judges rely on popular vote they will sway (sometimes illegally or unfairly) to popular opinion.
The author Stephan B. Bright, said the following in terms of how elected judges relate to the unfairness of the death penalty:
"Texas has neither an independent judiciary nor an adequate system for providing representation to the poor. As a result, the process by which poor people are condemned to death is often a farce, a mockery, and a disgrace to the legal system and the legal profession. The Texas judiciary, responding to the perceived will of the state's voters, instead of protecting rights, is not only ignoring constitutional violations, as so many elected judges must do in order to stay in office. It is actively engaged in denying rights to people by providing them grossly inadequate legal representation. An accused may stand virtually defenseless facing the death penalty as his lawyer naps at a trial that is in no way adversarial, and then be denied any post-conviction review because his lawyer misses a deadline or fails to raise any issues. The courts, as Judge Overstreet warned, have blood on their hands.
The lethal virus that infects the Texas judiciary is not limited to the Lone Star State. Adequate legal representation is a serious problem in many jurisdictions throughout the United States in both capital and noncapital cases.(n238) Judges have been voted off courts in other states(n239) and the newly constituted courts have abruptly changed course and found ways to affirm cases that previously would have been reversed.(n240)
Perhaps the day will come when state court judges will be able to follow the law without regard to political considerations and the passions of the moment. Perhaps members of the legal profession and others in leadership positions will someday be successful in obtaining independent state courts and strong and independent indigent defense programs. But that day is a long way away. Until it comes, full habeas corpus review by independent federal judges is essential to guarantee that the protections of the Bill of Rights, including the most fundamental right, the right to counsel, are not denigrated and disregarded--as they frequently are in the state courts of Texas--but are fully enforced in order to ensure the fairness and integrity of cases in which life and liberty are at stake."