Fifth Court of Appeals, Place 11

John Browning

Tom Nowak

Daniel Wyde




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Ph: 214.454.6563

Ph: 214.405.1179


Passman & Jones, P.C.

Henley & Henley P.C.


  • B.A. History (with general and departmental honors)
    Rutgers University (Rutgers College), 1986
  • B.A. Comparative Literature (with general and departmental honors)
    Rutgers University (Rutgers College), 1986

  • History, Texas A&M University, 2002
  • Political Science, Texas A&M University, 2002


J.D., University of Texas School of Law

J.D., Baylor Law School,


(also licensed in Oklahoma)




Appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to the Professional Ethics Committee  of the State Bar, a 9-member quasi-judicial body that writes and issues the ethics opinions governing the legal profession in Texas.

I have served as a Board Hearing Officer for cases involving Air Force members. In this capacity I act as a judge in an administrative hearing where the government seeks to remove a member from the Air Force rather than through a criminal proceeding. These cases are tried to a panel of other officers and enlisted members just like a trial.


Over the course of nearly 28 years of practicing law, I have had extensive trial and appellate experience throughout Texas and beyond. My experience covers a broad range of areas, including personal injury and wrongful death; product liability; commercial litigation; employment law; family law; probate law; defamation and media law; consumer protection law; health care; professional liability; cyberliability and data privacy; class action litigation; and all types of intellectual property litigation, including patent infringement, trademark infringement, and copyright infringement. My appellate cases have not only been before the Fifth Court of Appeals, but also other appellate courts throughout Texas. In addition, my work has been cited as authority by the Fifth Court of Appeals and by other appellate courts. I have practiced as an associate, and later a partner of a midsized firm; operated my own small firm for nearly 10 years; moved my practice to the Dallas office of a large national firm; was recruited to be the managing partner and open the Dallas office of another national law firm; and I am currently a partner in one of Dallas' oldest law firms.

After graduation from law school, I took an immediate position with the Dallas County District Attorney`s Office where I was tasked with prosecuting the worst offenders in Dallas County. In my time with the District Attorney's Office I was promoted by both Republican and Democratic District Attorneys due to my reputation as a fair but tough prosecutor. I served as a court chief for family violence cases, was assigned to the Organized Crime division prosecuting Dallas` drug dealers, and spent a considerable amount of time protecting Dallas County`s most vulnerable children from child molesters and pedophiles while with the Child Abuse Division. I left the District Attorney’s Office in 2010 and began practicing law as a defense lawyer.

Traditionally the 5th Court of Appeals handles more criminal cases than any other type.  It's why my Board Certification in Criminal Law, having tried over 100 cases to juries, is vitally important.  However, I have also handled juvenile, CPS, and civil matters.

I joined the United States Air Force in 2012 and serve as a reservist Captain in the JAG Corps.  I handle all types of cases including claims against the government, environmental issues, criminal proceedings, employment decisions, constitutional law, and provide advice to members, their families, and retirees while on duty.  In my time as a criminal defense practitioner, I have worked with a civil firm that specializes in real estate, personal injury claims, and general federal practice.

Almost daily, I appear in court to represent my clients in one of the 6 counties that make up the 5th District. Often, I appear in multiple counties in the same day. This familiarity with the judges, practitioners, and citizens of the 5th District gives me the necessary insight to be a leading-edge member of the Court of Appeals. My work with indigent defendants, mental health issues, and veterans means I'm ready to handle the most current issues facing our justice system.


None sought.

Criminal Law


  • All state courts in Texas
  • All state courts in Oklahoma
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Claims Court
  • US Court of International Trade
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
  • US District Court for the District of Colorado
  • US District Court for Western District of Oklahoma
  • US District Court for Eastern District of Texas
  • US District Court for Northern District of Texas
  • US District Court for Southern District of Texas
  • US District Court for Western District of Texas

  • All Texas Courts
  • Northern District of Texas, United States District Court
  • Eastern District of Texas, United States District Court
  • United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces


  • "AV Preeminent" rated by Martindale-Hubbell (5.0 out of 5.0)
  • Named a "Texas Super Lawyer" by Texas Monthly 2005-2017
  • Presidents' Certificate of Merit (2016)
  • Lola Wright Foundation Award for contributions to the advancement of legal ethics(2016)
  • Texas Bar College's Jim D. Bowmer Professionalism Award (2014
  • Texas Bar Foundation's Dan Rugeley Price Award (2013)
  • Texas Bar CLE's "Standing Ovation" Award (2012)
    Texas Bar Foundation's Outstanding Law Review Article of the Year Award (2012)
  • Texas Bar College's Outstanding CLE Article of the Year Award (2012)
  • Defense Research Institute's G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication of the Year Award (2016)
  • Burton Award for Distinguished Achievement in Legal Writing (2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014)
  • "Litigator of the Week" by Texas Lawyer
  • "Top Technology Lawyer" by American Lawyer Magazine
  • "Top Business Litigation Attorney" by American Lawyer magazine
  • Elected Member, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Elected Member, American Law Institute
  • Life Fellow, Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation

  • Certificate of Competency by Judge Advocate General of the Air Force
  • Appointed as Commissioner Place 10 - City of Dallas Cultural Affairs Committee
  • Selected as one of 40 prosecutors statewide to attend Advanced Trial Advocacy Skills Course


Not applicable.

  • 2014: Lost Republican Primary for Dallas County District Attorney to Susan Hawk
  • 2012: Lost General Election for Criminal District Court #4 to Democrat Dominque Collins


Not applicable.

Not applicable.


  • Cathie Adams of Texas Eagle Forum (former Republican Party of Texas chair)
  • Numerous elected officials like Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper
  • Key Tea Party leaders like Ray Myers and John White
  • Harriet Miers (former White House Counsel)
  • Frank Stevenson (former State Bar President)
  • Bob Black (former State Bar President)
  • Jerry Alexander (former Dallas Bar Assoc President)
  • Ike Vanden Eykel (former Dallas Bar Assoc President)
  • Peter Vogel (former Dallas Bar Assoc President)
  • Robert Driegert (former Dallas County Republican Party chair)

  • Jeff Domen (Collin County Bar Association President)
  • Matt Rinaldi (TX State House Representative)
  • Christopher Kratovil (Appellate Expert)
  • Sheriff Terry Box ret. (Former Collin County Sheriff)
  • Mark Sales (Former Dallas County Bar Association and Texas Bar Association President)
  • Wade Emmert (Former Dallas County Republican Party Chair)
  • Michael Neerman (Former Dallas County Republican Party Chair)
  • Heather Barbieri (Criminal Defense Expert)
  • Barry Sorrels (Criminal Trial and Appellate Expert and Former Dallas County Bar Association President)
  • Leon Carter (Litigation and Intellectual Property Expert)


Like my friend and mentor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, I am an originalist who advocates judicial restraint and who believes in applying the law as it is - as it was written - and not as some would like it to be. I believe that judges must exhibit consistent and unwavering respect for the rule of law, and not legislate from the bench or attempt to rewrite laws and statutes. A judge should protect, defend, and interpret our laws without bias, not attempt to create law.

As a person who has dedicated his life to giving back to the country, state, and community that has given me so much, I am pleased to announce my candidacy for an open seat on the 5th Court of Appeals.  I feel that now, more than ever, we need leaders with real experience in our courts. We need expertise, such as my Board Certification in Criminal Law, to ensure that justice is being handled fairly by local courts. We need leadership like the kind I learned in the Air Force to be efficient. And we need integrity like the kind I learned from being on both sides of a case to make sure local judges are not legislating from the bench. It is why, after much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I decided that my representation of citizens in Grayson, Collin, Dallas, Rockwall, Hunt and Kaufman counties would be the best way to give back. The citizens of these 6 counties deserve judges who strictly interpret the law as written and not make law based on politics or personal agendas.
The decision to seek this position is not meant to be the sunset of my career. I promise, if elected, to help ensure strict construction of the law and the impartial administration of justice.  I plan to uphold true conservative principles for not only today, but for future generations as well.


Throughout my career, I have been a servant leader in the bar and the community. I have been a county bar president, and held or currently hold leadership positions in the Dallas Bar, the State Bar of Texas, and in national bar organizations. I have also served or still serve on various civic and charitable boards. I am a nationally-recognized legal scholar and writer, and serve as an adjunct law professor at 3 law schools - SMU, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. I have been a sought-after speaker and author on many legal subjects, including not just civil law but criminal law and evidence as well. I am regularly called upon to teach not only lawyers, but judges as well, and I'm a faculty member of the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Appellate Judges Educational Institute, and the Federal Judicial Center. I have litigated cases in all six counties that comprise the Fifth Court of Appeals' jurisdiction, While leaving my successful private practice involves financial sacrifice, I believe in public service and I believe it should be a sacrifice. I am running because I believe in public service, and because protecting the rule of law is too important to entrust to those without the experience, qualifications, or judicial temperament to do the job.

I am married to Christine Adamson Nowak and we have 2 beautiful children.


31 August 2017

Approval Pending

Last Updated: 31 August 2017

Last Updated: 8 September 2017

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