District Level Judicial Candidates
Chart of Texas Judicial Department
Brochure of the Court System
Harris County (4,731,145 Population)
Civil District Court 11 Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins (IN) up for re-election 2024.
Judge Hawkins earned her bachelor's degree in government and Spanish from the University of Texas-Austin, and her J.D. from the South Texas College of Law. She began practicing as an attorney in 2000.
Civil District Court 55 Judge Latosha Lewis Payne (IN) up for re-election 2026. Judge Latosha Lewis Payne is the Presiding Judge of the 55th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas. She also serves as the current Harris County Administrative Judge. Prior to her election to the bench, she practiced at Am Law 200 international law firms for most of her 18-year law practice. Judge Payne is a former elected Partner of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP n/k/a Foley Lardner and was a Co-Founding Partner of Trahan Dinn Kornegay Payne LLP, a woman-owned civil litigation and insurance coverage law firm. Judge Payne earned her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 2000 and a double major from Tulane University, H. Sophie Newcomb Women’s College in 1996. She was recognized as a Tulane Honors Scholar after being awarded a postgraduate fellowship by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation to study “Culture and the Development of Women’s Sports” in Kenya, Botswana, Ghana, and Jamaica. She was also a scholarship athlete who is the former Metro Conference Champion in the Women’s 400Meter Hurdles. Judge Payne is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and has been honored as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Texas Bar Foundation. She has received many honors, including “Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year” by the Houston Young Lawyers Association. In addition to her service to the community on the bench, Judge Payne is an Adjunct Professor of a Communication Law & Ethics course at the University of Houston. She also dedicates over 500 hours per year as a volunteer head coach for 11-12 girls and hurdles with the largest youth track club in the United States. Source: https://www.justex.net/courts/civil/CourtSection.aspx?crt=2&sid=866
Civil District Court 61 Judge Fredericka Phillips (IN) up for re-election 2024.Phillips earned her B.S. in criminal justice from Lamar University in 1996. She later received her J.D. from the South Texas College of Law in 2000. She began practicing as an attorney in 2000.he was a civil litigator for over 16 years prior to being elected judge in 2016. She represented businesses and individuals in all state and federal courts including before the Texas Supreme Court and the US Fifth Circuit. Fredericka also represented companies in administrative hearings before city, state and federal agencies.Fredericka is licensed to practice in all Texas state courts, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Northern, and Southern District Courts of Texas and the US Fifth Circuit.
Civil District Court 80 Judge Jeralynn Manor (IN) Up for re-election 2024. Manor studied philosophy at Xavier University in New Orleans before finishing her undergraduate studies in Administration of Justice at Texas Southern University. She went on to Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where she earned the American Juris Prudence Award in Bankruptcy under the tutelage of the Honorable Justice Manual Leal of the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court and won 1st place in the Mock Trial competition. In 2001 Manor earned her Juris Doctorate and became a licensed attorney by the Texas Supreme Court. In her 17-plus years of practicing law, Attorney Manor has worked in several areas. She concentrated her early career as a fee attorney for 3 major title companies. Throughout her fee attorney and escrow practice, Manor closed and played an integral role in helping thousands of Texas to achieve home ownership.Judge Jeralynn Manor serves all Harris County residents as the presiding Judge of the 80th Civil District Court. Judge Manor took the bench in 2021 following a successful 20-year legal practice in Houston.
Civil District Court 113 Judge Rabeea Collier (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Collier earned her B.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin. She later received a J.D. from Texas Southern University. Collier is a private practice attorney. Judge Collier is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and was recently awarded the 2021 Jurist of the Year for the Texas Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Judge Collier serves on the Curriculum Committee for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, which is comprised of approximately 15 judges that develop judicial education for all Texas judges. She also currently serves as an executive board member for the Association of District Judges and a board member of the Asian American Bar Association of Houston. Judge Collier believes that judicial integrity is the necessary requirement to uphold the sanctity of our laws. As judge, she demands that the law is followed in each case and judged on the merits of the case free from bias and prejudice. As a native Houstonian, Judge Collier serves as your judge of the 113th Judicial District Court of Harris County.
Civil District Court 125 Judge Kyle Carter (IN) up for re-election 2026.Carter received his graduate of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, the University of Texas, and South Texas College of Law. Prior to taking the bench Judge Carter was a senior litigation associate with the Carter Law Firm, representing publicly-held corporate clients, small businesses, and individuals. Judge Carter has also served as general counsel to the legislative committees on General Investigations and Ethics, as well as the committee on Urban Affairs. In addition to being judge of the 125th District Court, Judge Carter is currently the president of the Texas Association of District Judges. Judge Carter also works with several charitable organizations. Judge Carter is an active Mason and Shriner, and active supporter of Shriner’s Hospital and Rite Care. Judge Carter has been honored to serve as a 2008 “Man of Style” benefitting Sickle Cell research. Judge Carter is also a member of the University of Texas Chancellor’s Council. Additionally, Judge Carter is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and serves on the International Committee. Judge Carter is the founder and president of Judges at Work in Schools, a charitable organization dedicated to teaching students of all ages about the judicial system. Finally, Judge Carter is also the founder and president of Join, Inc., a charitable organization that brings together judges to address specific community needs.
Civil District Court 127 Judge R.K. Sandill up for re-election 2024. He earned a B.A. in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. Sandill’s career experience includes working as an attorney with Steele Sturm, PLLC. Judge Sandill has served as judge of the 127th Civil District Court in Harris County since 2009. He is the first ever district court judge in Texas of South Asian descent. Judge Sandill works incredibly hard for the people of Harris County. In his time on the bench, he has resolved more than 21,000 matters and tried over 1600 cases. He is the only civil district court judge in Harris County who adjudicates all cases filed in his court, including seizure/forfeiture and tax cases.
First judge of South Asian descent elected in Texas
First judge in the nation to sign a standing order establishing parental leave for counsel
First judge in Harris County to establish cost-saving process for expediting discovery disputes
First judge in Harris County to require implicit bias training for all those seeking court appointments
First judge in Texas to move to an on-line platform for court hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic
First judge in Harris County to conduct a remote jury trial during the COVID-19 pandemic
First judge in Texas to utilize a digital questionnaire for jury selection
Civil District Court 129 Michael Gomez (IN) up for re-election 2024. Judge Gomez is the highly rated judge of the 129th Civil District Court in Harris County, Texas. He is a lifelong resident of Houston and a graduate of Rice University and the University of Houston Law Center, where he served as articles editor for the Houston Law Review. During his time on the bench, Judge Gomez has disposed of tens of thousands of cases and presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials. Judge Gomez has received the Hispanic Bar Association Judge of the Year award, the Outstanding Public Service Award from the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation, and the Houston Bar Association’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service for his work with the Harris County Law Library and its work to assist pro-se litigants. Judge Gomez is also a fellow of the Houston Bar Foundation, Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation. Judge Gomez is a frequent continuing legal education speaker addressing topics of importance to the bar and speaks often at public schools regarding the importance of higher education and careers in the legal profession.
Civil District Court 133 Judge Jaclanel Moore McFarland (IN) up for re-election in 2024. bachelor of arts degree from Baylor in 1974 and a juris doctor degree from Baylor's School of Law in 1977. She also did graduate work in comparative constitutional law at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. Licensed to practice law in Texas in 1977, McFarland also was licensed to practice in U.S. District Courts, Southern District of Texas, in 1979. A member of the State Bar of Texas, she also is a member of the Houston Bar Association and has been a participant in several comparative international law institutes. She has been recognized in Foremost Women of the 20th Century and in Who's Who in the World, in American Law, of American Women, in the South and Southwest, Among Rising Young Americans, and in the World of Women. McFarland is a life member of the Baylor Alumni Association and Baylor law alumni. She is a member of the Baylor Bear Foundation and a founding member of the Baylor Women's Association of Houston. McFarland is a member of South Main Baptist Church in Houston. She formerly served as first vice president and sat on the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. McFarland is a member of the Executive Committee of Texas Baptists.
Civil District Court 151 Judge Mike Engelhart (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Judge Engelhart received his undergraduate degree from University of Michigan and his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to his election to the bench, he was in private practice at Engelhart & Greenwood, LLP. Mike Engelhart (UHLC 1995) has been the Judge of the 151st Civil District Court of Harris County, Texas since January 1, 2009. He was an Associate Editor of the Houston Law Review, and holds a BA in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Michigan. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial law. Judge Engelhart is a Fellow of the College of the State Bar of Texas and a certified mediator. In 2016 he won the Law Center Alumni Association’s “Public Sector Achievement Award,” and the TACTAS “Trial Judge of the Year”. In 2017, Judge Engelhart was awarded the Franklin Jones Best CLE Article prize by the College of the State Bar of Texas. In 2019, he received the President’s Award from the HBA for his work as co-chair of the 2019 Civil/Appellate Bench Bar Conference.
Civil District Court 152 Judge Robert Schaffer (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Schaffer received his undergraduate degree from University of Arizona and his J.D. from South Texas College of Law. Prior to his election, he was in private practice at his own firm. Judge Schaffer has been Judge of the 152nd Civil District Court since January 1, 2009. Prior to assuming the bench Judge Schaffer practiced law in the Houston metropolitan area for 24 years representing individuals in many areas of civil disputes. He also served as a mediator for 16 years. In 2013, he was elected by the Harris County District Court judges to serve as Local Administrative Judge for the Harris County District Courts. He also served as the Administrative Judge for the Civil Trial division from 2012 to 2013. In 2010 he served as a Justice on the 14th Court of Appeals by special assignment. The State Multidistrict Litigation Panel selected him to serve as the statewide pretrial judge for the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Multidistrict Litigation in 2010, for the General Motors Ignition Switch Multidistrict Litigation in 2015 and Opioid Multidistrict Litigation in 2017. He has also serves as a member of the Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. In 2014 Judge Schaffer was selected as the Trial Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists and Distinguished Alum for the South Texas College of Law Houston. Judge Schaffer earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona in 1974. Following his graduation from college he worked in local and state government in Austin before attending South Texas College of Law Houston. He received his law degree in 1984 and began his legal career as an associate with a small Houston law firm before opening his own law office in 1990 as a sole practitioner and expanding his practice to include mediation services in civil disputes. He continued in that practice until he became a judge in 2009. Judge Schaffer was elected to serve as President of the Houston Trial Lawyers Association (1998-1999), Houston Trial Lawyers Foundation (1999-2000) and the South Texas College of Law Alumni Association (1991-1993). He has served on various committees of the State Bar of Texas, including chairing a local grievance committee, and the Houston Bar Association. He presently serves on the Southwest Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League.
Civil District Court 157 Judge Tanya Garrison (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Judge Garrison attended the University of Houston Law School. She has worked as a commercial litigator with an emphasis on civil appellate law. She has been associated with the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, the Association of Women Attorneys, and the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Board. During law school, Judge Garrison began working at the law firm of Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C., where she practiced law until being elected as Judge of the 157th in 2018. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Garrison’s law practice consisted of entirely civil litigation with an emphasis on appellate law. She is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a proud member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Judge Garrison is active in the legal profession and the community. In 2008, she was elected as President of the Houston Young Lawyers Association and in 2011, was selected as the Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer. In 2021, she was named Trial Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists. Judge Garrison is also a frequent Continuing Legal Education speaker and course instructor. Judge Garrison has served on the board of various pro bono organizations providing legal services to lower income Houstonians.
Civil District Court 164 Judge C. Elliot Thornton (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Thornton serves as the Presiding Judge of the 164th Civil Judicial District Court. Prior to assuming the bench, Judge Elliott Thornton, a practicing attorney for over thirty years, served as Senior Assistant County Attorney for the Harris County Attorney’s Office for over ten years. To ready herself to embark on a life of public service, Judge Elliott Thornton attended and graduated from Lamar High School in Houston, Texas, Trinity University (BA) and St. Mary’s University (MA) in San Antonio, Texas, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University (JD) in Houston, Texas. Her commitment to public service is exemplified through her professional enterprises not only as Harris County Senior Assistant County Attorney. She has also proudly served her community as General Counsel for Texas Southern University, Administrative Law Judge for two State agencies and Assistant Attorney General IV for the State of Texas, as well as being a teacher for our youth in both Lone Star College University Park and Houston Community College. Judge Elliott Thornton has always believed that serving the public must include involvement in professional and personal organizations. Professionally, she has served as Co-Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee of the Houston Bar Association for which she received its President Award. During her tenure as Co-Chair of the Gender Fairness Committee, she was instrumental in spearheading the establishment of the LGBTQI Committee of the Houston Bar Association. Judge Elliott Thornton also serves as representative of the Houston Bar Association on the Houston Lawyer Referral Service Board (HLRS) for which she serves on the Executive Committee. Further, Judge Elliott Thornton is also a member of the Houston Bar Association, Association of Women Judges, the International Association of Women Judges, National Bar Association, Houston Lawyer’s Association, Women Professionals in Government, the Association of Women Attorneys and the Downtown Group. Judge Elliott Thornton’s public service extends far beyond her professional endeavors. She has served as board member and chair for the Police Advisory Board under several police chiefs, board member and General Counsel of the World Youth Foundation, executive board member for the West MacGregor Homeowners Association, General Counsel for Senate District 13, Precinct Chair for Precinct 228 and fundraiser for The Museum at Texas Southern University, Ebony Opera Guild and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Civil District Court 165 Judge Ursula A. Hall (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Hall earned a Bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, going on to earn a J.D. from the South Texas College of Law. She has served as an associate municipal judge for the City of Houston since 2005. She previously worked in a large law firm and also opened her own law office.
Criminal District Court 174 Judge Hazel B. Jones (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Jones received her undergraduate degree from University of Texas and her J.D. from Howard University Law School. She served as the judge for Texas District 338 from 2008 until 2012. She had previously worked as an assistant district attorney for Harris County, as a special assistant United States attorney, and in private practice.
Criminal District Court 176 Judge Nikita V. Harmon (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Harmon earned a B.B.A. from Texas Southern University in 1983. She received her J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1990. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas that same year. Harmon served for 14 years as an associate municipal judge in the City of Houston. At the time of her election, she managed a private law practice, specializing in family law and criminal defense.
Criminal District Court 177 Judge Robert Johnson, Jr. (IN) up for re-election in 2026.
Judge Johnson graduated from Sharpstown High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in business and commerce from the University of Houston in 1990 and a J.D. from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2001. His career experience includes founding a law practice and working in criminal defense.
Criminal District Court 178 Judge Kelli D. Johnson (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Johnson attended Texas Christian University and the University of Salamanca in Spain for her bachelor's degree. She received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law. She has served as an assistant district attorney since 1999.
Criminal District Court 179 Judge Ana Martinez (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Ana is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney. She holds a J.D. from South Texas College of Law and a Masters of Law (LLM) from the University of Houston Law Center. She also graduated law school in Colombia from Universidad de los Andes, one of the top law schools in the country, and became fully licensed to practice in her home country in 2004. In her last year of law school in Bogota, she served as an appointed criminal defense attorney for indigent clients, handling cases at the trial and appellate level. After obtaining her J.D. and becoming a licensed attorney to practice law in Texas, she spent a year as a Law Clerk for the Texas Supreme Court. In this role, she had the opportunity to hear live arguments and attend conferences where Supreme Court Justices discussed the cases before the Court. This unique experience helped shape Ana’s legal reasoning. Ana served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office where she litigated misdemeanor and felony cases for five years. She was a founding member of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Section prosecuting exploiters and better identifying victims of human trafficking. Ana later worked as one of few bilingual appointed attorneys in Harris County misdemeanor and felony criminal courts representing those who could not afford a lawyer for about four years. Ana was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She is the current Judge for the 179th District Court, where she has presided over numerous trials related to the most serious charges, including murder and sexual assault offenses against children. Previously, she served as Law Clerk for the Texas Supreme Court; as a felony prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office; and as one of few bilingual appointed attorneys in the Harris County criminal courts representing those who could not afford a lawyer.
Criminal District Court 180 Judge Dasean Jones (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Jones earned a B.A. in English from Tuskegee University, an M.A. in management & leadership from Webster University, and a J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He served as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army from 2001 to 2008, as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army Reserve from 2008 to 2011, and has served as a judge advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve since 2012.
Criminal District Court 182 Judge Danilo (Danny ) Lacayo (IN) up for re-election in 2026.
Judge Lacoyo presides over all different types of felony cases. Previously he was an Assistant District Attorney for approximately seven years and and Assistant Public Defender for approximately five years. He is also one of four judges that preside over STAR court which is a drug rehabilitation program. This is in addition to regular duties. From the Houston Chronicle: The Democrat wants voters to understand that he has taken the responsibility over bail decisions seriously, regardless of his party. His ability to balance due process and defendants’ rights with a no-nonsense approach to bond violations is part of the reason why we think Lacayo deserves a second term on the bench. Lacayo’s other strengths give us confidence, including maintaining an efficient docket. His one-year clearance rate is 111 percent, the eighth-highest among the 23 district courts. He received solid marks from his colleagues in the Houston Bar Association poll, with most respondents rating him “excellent” or “very good” overall.
Criminal District Court 183 up for re-election in 2026
Criminal District Court 184 Judge Katherine N. Thomas (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Jude Thomas is a double HBCU graduate from Spelman College and Howard University School of Law. While attending Spelman College, she was given the opportunity to intern at the White House under the leadership of President Obama. While attending law school, she pursued criminal defense work in the Criminal Justice Clinic where I represented indigent clients. She was able to try cases in the District of Columbia and facilitate gaining the best outcome for my clients. After law school, I knew that I wanted to return to my home-Houston-to serve my community as an Assistant District Attorney for the fourth largest and most diverse county in the country. As an Assistant District Attorney, she has reviewed and evaluated several thousand cases ranging from petty misdemeanors to Capital Murder. As a felony prosecutor, she has balanced a caseload of an average of over 2,000 cases. That means on a day-to-day basis she wears several hats–counselor, investigator, and attorney. "To me, my cases are not a number and I understand full well that there is a person and a story behind each one of the cases that come across my desk. As a counselor, I walk hand in hand with victims of crime to better understand the crime that was committed against them and how to advocate for them."
Criminal District Court 185 Judge Andrea Beall (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Prior to practicing law, Andrea graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts inPolitical Science, minoring in Philosophy. Andrea also has a Masters in International Development with an emphasis on Urban Planning and Development from Eastern University in Pennsylvania. Andrea then went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from South Texas College of Law Houston, where she received her Juris Doctorate. Andrea has previously served the United States Senate as a legislative intern for Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-IL), the Majority Whip of the United States Senate. While in that role, Andrea conducted legislative research on a variety of political issues including immigration reform and mental health assistance for veterans. Andrea has also worked for Agape Development, a non-profit Community Development Organization, working with at-risk youth and young adults in Houston’s Third Ward. Andrea served in Houston’s Second Ward through Mission Year, a non-denominational, non-profit, Christian Community Development organization. Andrea is currently employed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as a Felony Chief in the Child Fatality Division. Andrea is in charge of half of all investigations and pending cases in Harris County where a child under the age of 14 has been killed. Andrea has served her community by seeking justice in cases involving serious crimes such as Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child, Murder, Capital Murder (Non-Death Penalty), Aggravated Robbery, and cases involving Domestic Violence. Since the killings at the Harding Street raid, Andrea has been employed by the City of Houston to train police officers in Search and Seizure Law and to aid them in understanding the 4th Amendment protections provided to members of our community. Additionally, Andrea is an Adjunct Professor at South Texas College of Law Houston. Andrea serves on the Houston Bar Association’s Gender Fairness Committee as well as the HAY Center Committee, an association dedicated to empowering current and former foster youth.
Civil District Court 189 Judge Tamika “Tami” Craft (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Craft entered Texas A&M University in the Fall of 1994 with 12 college hours obtained during high school and went on to graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in Criminal Justice. I then attended South Texas College of Law where I held the position of Assistant Editor-In-Chief of South Texas’ Law Review and was on the Dean’s List several semesters all while raising 3 year-old twins. I also graduated from South Texas Law School in 2 years, instead of the typical 3 years. In November of 2003, I was licensed in the state of Texas and I am currently licensed to practice in the Eastern, Northern and Southern Federal District Courts and the 1st, 13th and 14th Courts of Appeals. In June of 2017, I became licensed in the highest Court in the land, the United States Supreme Court. Only 10% of the over 700,000 in the United States are eligible to practice before the United States Supreme Court. I am the first African American ever elected to the 189th Civil District Court. I have been a fighter for justice and equality since I was a teenager in the late 80's. In 1987, my cousin and his two small kids were murdered by his wife and the offender was sentenced to death row. The murders would change the trajectory of my life. During law school, the offender in my cousins’ murders was sentenced to her death day in a Harris County courtroom, I was there. After her death day was set I went to the Harris County jail and visited the offender as she had vehemently expressed her innocence. Again I am a fighter for justice and despite the fact that I was not making a popular decision within my family, I began a personal journey to ensure that my family would know the truth and ultimately receive justice. Since 2003, I have practiced and tried cases in many areas including: civil, criminal, family, education, labor and employment law, real estate and property tax law. I am a 24 year Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated woman where I am a charter member of Alpha Alpha Kappa Omega chapter of the sorority. As an AKA, my personal mission mirrors my sorority's mission which is to provide "SERVICE TO ALL MANKIND."
Civil District Court 190 Judge Beau Miller (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Beau Miller earned a bachelor's degree in music education from Louisiana State University in 1995 and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2001. Miller's career experience includes working as an attorney. He is the founder and president of Live Consortium and a member of the State Bar of Texas’ Texas Minority Counsel Program, Houston Trial Lawyers Association, and the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts Dean’s Taskforce. The Honorable Beau A. Miller is the Presiding Judge of the 190th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas. Before election to the bench in 2018, Judge Miller was in private practice, representing a wide range of clients, both plaintiffs and defendants, in commercial, products liability, and Section 1983 litigation. From 2001 through 2003, Judge Miller was a law clerk to The Honorable Ricardo H. Hinojosa, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division. Judge Miller received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and serves as the Permanent Class President of the Class of 2001. Prior to his legal career, Judge Miller was the Associate Director of Bands at Stephen F. Austin High School, Austin, Texas. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He also served as the Drum Major of the “Golden Band from Tigerland.” While on the bench Judge Miller has served as Chair of the Harris County District Courts’ Civil Trial Division’s Ethics and Continuing Legal Education Committee in 2020 and 2021. He also served as Co-Chair of the Houston Bar Association’s 2021-2022 LGBTQ+ Committee for which he received the Houston Bar Association’s President’s Award. During the Pandemic, Judge Miller was responsible for producing the District Court of Harris County’s COVID-19 in-person jury trial information campaign which consists website,
www.HarrisCountyJuryService.com, pamphlet, and video highlighting the safety procedures and protocols in place for in-person jury trials in Harris County. In addition, he was the first judge in Harris County to preside over a Zoom bench trial during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first judge in Harris County to preside over the first in-person jury trial during COVID-19. Currently, Judge Miller is the Administrative Judge for the Harris County District Courts’ Civil Trial Division, Co-Chair of the Houston Bar Association’s 2022-2023 Civil/Appellate Bench Bar Conference Committee, and Co-Chair of the Houston Bar Association’s 2022-2023 LGBTQ+ Committee. In addition to his own docket, Judge Miller is the Pretrial Judge of the Multidistrict Litigation In re July 27 Chemical Release Litigation and In re Channelview Flooding Litigation.
Criminal District Court 208 Judge Beverly Armstrong (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Judge Armstrong earned a bachelor's degree from Prairie View A&M University. She earned a law degree from the South Texas College of Law. Her career experience includes working as a first assistant criminal district attorney. Armstrong is affiliated with the Texas District and County's Association, the National Black Prosecutors Association, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Harris County Democratic Party. Beverly has been a public servant most of her legal career. As a licensed attorney for 24 years, she began her career helping families navigate probate and guardianship issues and guiding families through bankruptcy proceedings. She discovered her passion for criminal justice when she accepted a position as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Polk County. After three years as a Court Chief in Galveston County, she returned to Polk County as First Assistant. In total, Beverly has served as a Prosecutor for 15+ years. Over the course of her prosecutorial career, Beverly has handled numerous serious cases such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, child sexual assault amongst a number of other felonies. As First Assistant, Beverly carries an extensive case load while also managing office operations. Beverly believes the community no longer has faith, trust or respect for the judiciary. She has a vision to restore the community’s belief in the justice system. Her vision requires a totality of the circumstances approach to rulings and decisions. Every case is unique with different parties and circumstances. The impact on the community is different with every crime. Therefore, every ruling must be unique to address those issues.As Judge, Beverly’s goal is to tailor rulings and decisions to ensure justice for all parties involved in the case while addressing the needs and concerns of the community.
Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT)
Board of Directors for Children Advocacy Center
Former collaborator with the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force
Adjunct Professor at Southwest Professional Institute
Successful argument before the 9th Court of Appeals
Former Chief Prosecutor in the 110th and 212th Criminal District Courts
Former Child Abuse Division Chief
First Assistant Criminal District Attorney
Criminal District Court 209 Judge Brian E. Warren (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Judge Brian Warren of the 209th Criminal District Court on being named 2022 Judge of the Year by the Texas Gang Investigators Association. Houston Chronicle--"Judge Brian Warren “has been a successful judge in his first term on the bench… His courtroom has the 7th-lowest number of active cases pending of the 23 district courts, with an above-average one-year clearance rate of 108 percent… Voters shouldn’t sweat this one. Warren is clearly deserving of another term.”'
Civil District Court 215 Judge Elaine H. Palmer (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge
Palmer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Houston, and earned her J.D. from Texas Wesleyan School of Law. Prior to her judicial election, Palmer was a practicing attorney for 14 years. Judge Elaine Palmer is the consummate professional. She has mastered the art and science of listening attentively and paying attention to detail. She was elected in November 2012 and once again in 2016 to serve as the Judge of the 215th Civil District Court of Harris County. She is honored to continue serving the residents of Harris County and to give back to her community in a way that is progressive and just
Criminal District Court 228 Judge Frank Aguilar (IN) up for re-election in 2026. From the Houston Chronicle: Aguilar, 64, has done a solid job managing his docket. His one-year clearance rate of 104 percent is about average among the 23 district courts, as is his active caseload. His courtroom has the third-lowest daily average number of people who are detained pretrial merely due to their inability to afford bail.He’s also handled one of the highest-profile cases in recent memory — the murder trial of Gerald Goines, the former Houston police officer who led the disastrous and deadly raid on Harding Street as officers attempted to serve a no-knock warrant that police say Goines lied to get approved. Aguilar has managed to keep that trial on track despite many delays, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Criminal District Court 230 Judge Chris Morton (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Having worked on all sides of the criminal justice system, and having previously advocated on behalf of both the accuser and the accused, Judge Chris Morton is well-equipped to understand the challenges facing both sides and well-qualified to provide fair and impartial judgments. As an Assistant District Attorney, Chris represented the State of Texas and the citizens of Harris County. His job was to pursue justice—in whatever form that might take. In some cases that meant pursuing the maximum sentence under the law. In others, it meant dismissing a case because he felt that the defendant’s rights had been violated. Later, as a criminal defense attorney, Chris worked zealously on behalf of people who had been accused of a crime to protect their Constitutional rights. Chris was honored in 2018 to be elected by the citizens of Harris County to be Judge of the 230th Criminal District Court. During his first term as judge, Chris has earned a reputation for providing his full attention to the cases in front of him and evaluating them individually, fairly, and honestly. Chris has also become known for challenging the status quo with respect to much-needed reforms within the Harris County Criminal Justice Center, including on hot-button topics such as bond reform. As one practitioner recently stated, Judge Morton is "smart enough to know the law and courageous enough to follow it."
Criminal District Court 232 Judge Josh Hill (IN) up for re-election in 2026. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston. Digital creator, Former Lawyer at The Hill Law Firm, Former Owner/Instructor at Fighting Arts Academy, LLC, Former Assistant District Attorney at Harris County DA, Former Assistant District Attorney at Harris County District Attorney's Office, Studied Law at University of Houston Law Center, Studied Spanish at The University of Texas at Austin Board Certified in Criminal Law. Judge Hill was both an experienced criminal defense attorney and prosecutor who was elected in November, 2018 to preside over the 232nd Criminal District Court of Harris County. Board certified in criminal law, Hill also volunteers his time to serve on the Monday STAR Drug Court Docket. He worked for over eight years as an intern and prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, assigned to a variety of divisions, before joining the Hill Law Firm in Houston.
Hill is not only a fighter in the courtroom; he has also competed in multiple combat sports over the years. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and he also wrestled and boxed in college.
Civil District Court 234 Judge Lauren Reeder (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Lauren graduated with Honors from New York University with a degree in Dramatic Writing. She attended Harvard Law School, where she was the Co-Chair of La Alianza, the Latino Law Students’ Association. Judge Reeder is a dedicated public servant. She maintains a busy trial docket and a large hearing docket. Lauren is regularly Involved in mentorship and speaking events for the various committees of the Houston Bar Association. Prior to her time on the bench, Lauren was an experienced civil and criminal litigator, where she was seasoned first chair trial lawyer. She has worked in large law firms, a specialized litigation boutique, and as an Assistant District Attorney for Harris County. She was named a Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers Magazine and is also on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Lauren has a fierce love for the law, which is exemplified by her work ethic on the bench. Lauren is known for her preparedness, her comprehension of all facets of the law, and her ability to get the heart of complicated legal disputes. She does all of this with a respectful and friendly temperament to both sides and with a deep respect for the justice system. Lauren is also passionate about a wide variety of organizations and causes outside of the courtroom. Lauren is prior member of The Junior League of Houston, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for The Catastrophic Theatre and for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Family District Court 245 Judge Angela M. Lancelin (IN) up for re-election in 2026. I have proudly served Harris County for 26 years at the Office of the Attorney General with 29 years of litigation experience as an attorney. I have dedicated my career as a public servant protecting the rights of our children and parents.
Qualified and ready to serve the public
Over 29 Years of Experience as an Attorney
Served 26 Years in Office of Attorney General
Licensed in Bankruptcy Courts (North, South, East)
Child Protective Services Liaison
Family District Court 246 Judge Angela Graves-Harrington (IN) up for re-election in 2026.
Judge Graves-Harrington graduated from Mississippi State University, Jackson State University, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Judge Angela Graves-Harrington is the Administrative Judge of the Harris County Board of Family District Judges. She also presides over of the Harris County 246th District Court as the first woman and second African American person ever elected to that bench. In addition to her judicial duties, she was instrumental in developing the Child Welfare Clinic at Thurgood Marshall School of Law where she serves as an adjunct professor. Judge Graves-Harrington is Board Certified® in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is a member of the Texas Bar College. Judge Graves-Harrington consistently strives to implement trauma-informed practices and policies in the Harris County child welfare system. She is committed to ensuring that every parent receives their due process and the support he or she needs to navigate the child welfare system while remaining focused on the ultimate goal of positive permanency for every child in every case. In 2021, to advance that goal, Judge Graves-Harrington hosted a free, 8-hour trauma-informed training for all Harris County child welfare professionals. Judge Graves-Harrington was selected by the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission to preside over one of only six trauma-informed project courts in Texas. Judge Graves-Harrington is active in both her local and state bars through service on various committees. In 2020, Judge Graves-Harrington was appointed to the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission where she serves on the Training Committee, a program that develops and oversees training efforts that promote judicial leadership and attorney development. She was appointed as co-chair of the Child Welfare and Juvenile Advisory Committee of the National Counsel of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, where she serves on the Membership and Legislative Committees. Judge Graves-Harrington serves as a member of the Houston Area Local Advisory Group for the Texas Permanency Outcomes Project (TXPOP) and an advisory member of Safe Babies, a First 3 Years® initiative. Judge Graves-Harrington was appointed as co-chair of the Houston Bar Association Family/Probate Bench Bar committee, where she organized the first family/probate bench bar conference in 19 years. Most recently, Judge Graves-Harrington was invited by the Children’s Commission to serve as faculty for the Judicial Academy on Reasonable Efforts through the Capacity Building Center for Courts. She serves as Co-Chair of the Judicial Subcommittee for the Coalition of Child Serving Sectors, Community Based Care Readiness Initiative. Finally, when not in court or the classroom, Judge Graves-Harrington shares her knowledge with the legal and child welfare community through speaking engagements and seminars. In addition to service through professional legal organizations, Judge Graves-Harrington serves her community as a twenty-one-year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® and Jack and Jill, Incorporated®, Greater Channel Chapter. In honor of Angela’s commitment to the community, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee declared November 19, 2021 as Judge Angela Graves-Harrington Day.
Family District Court 247 Judge Janice Berg (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Janice received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in 2003 and her JD from the University of Houston Law Center in 2008. For nearly nine years, Janice has represented Houston-area clients in family cases not only at the trial level but also in the Courts of Appeals and at the Texas Supreme Court. Janice has held leadership positions in the Anti-Defamation League’s Glass Leadership Institute and she is a member of their Civil Rights Committee and Associate Board. For the past two years, Janice has traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby on ADL’s behalf in support of increased voting rights protections and robust refugee programs.Janice is committed to providing equal treatment to all litigants, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion, or immigration status.
Criminal District Court 248 Judge Hilary Unger (IN) up for re-election in 2024.A graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, her broad range of experience affords her an impartial perspective, allowing her to view cases without bias. Her extremely-high code of moral, ethical values is supported by her years as an assistant district attorney, as a public defender, and as a private attorney in both New York and Texas where she dedicated her time and passion to helping economically-disadvantaged clients. As a former member of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (UAW Local 2325 - 1989-1992), she walked picket lines with her fellow union members. She was a legal observer for the ACLU, a member of numerous Democratic
organizations, a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, and has canvassed neighborhoods, attended phone banks and volunteered for various political campaigns. As a judge she has been the chair of the Fair Defense Management Committee where she worked to improve the quality of indigent defense in Harris County and where she also initiated a pilot program to seamlessly appoint the Public Defender to represent indigent defendants. Hilary Unger currently serves as a co-chair of the Community Supervision and Pretrial Services Standing Committee. Harris County needs strong leadership that can fairly administer equal and impartial justice, with compassion for all. With over two-and-a-half decades of experience as both a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, Hilary Unger remains the right choice for Judge for the 248th Criminal District Court.
Family District Court 257 Judge Sandra Peake (IN) up for re-election in 2026.Judge Peake earned her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. She is an attorney with the Law Offices of Sandra J. Peake in Harris County. She has been practicing law for 30 years, focusing primarily on family law cases.
Family District Court 262 Judge Lori Chambers Gray (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Gray earned her J.D. from the South Texas College of Law.. Judge Gray was first licensed to practice law in Texas.. She is a private practice attorney based in Houston. Judge Gray has partnered with the Community Supervision Department to start the “New Chapter” community service reading program; expanded drug treatment opportunities; and presides over a mental health competency restoration court. Always working to keep courtrooms ahead of the times, she has also worked to extend the use of technology in court proceedings and jury trials. With nearly 25 years of experience in court, 20 of which were spent in her own criminal practice, Gray is seeking re-election to continue her service. Her presence on the bench brings deep litigation experience to the bench while inspiring the next generation to continue breaking down barriers in the profession.
Family District Court 263 Judge Melissa Marie Morris (IN) up for re-election in 2026.I am a criminal defense attorney of sixteen years. I’ve handled every type of case that is heard in front of this bench. I am active in the community through mentorship and service organizations. I believe in a wholistic approach to administering justice and have the career and life experience to keep the people of Harris County safe from both crime and the overreach of government. I’m especially passionate about giving people the resources needed to succeed in rehabilitation. Mental illness, substance abuse and poverty are the root causes of a great deal of criminal activity. Offering resources and assistance to address these concerns will not only reduce crime, it will increase the quality of life for our communities by keeping people employed, housed and healthy.
Civil District Court 269 Judge Cory Don Sepolio (IN) up for re-election in 2026.
Houston Bar Association
Houston Bar Association Gender Fairness Committee Member
Association of Women Attorneys - Houston
National Organization for Women
Texas Bar Association Grievance Committee Panel Member
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - Houston
Houston Black American Democrats
Texas Coalition of Black Democrats
Oak Forest Democrats
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Parish Member
Harris County Tejano Democrats
South Texas College of Law Hispanic Alumni Association - Founding Member
Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
Houston GLBT Political Caucus
Houston Lawyers Association
Houston Trial Lawyers Association
Harris County Democratic Lawyers Association
Texas Exes - The University of Texas Alumni Association
The University of Texas at Austin College Democrats
Texas Democratic Women Association
Texas District and County Attorneys Association - Former Member
Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association - Former Member
Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association - Former Member
Civil District Court 270 Judge Debra Davis (IN) up for re-election in 2026. Judge Davis received her Bachelor’s Degree from Texas Tech University, and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law.Judge Dedra Davis is presiding judge of the 270th District Court. She is one of the illustrious 17 African American females elected in Harris County as judge on November 6, 2018. Since being elected, Judge Davis has successfully executed her campaign promises. By the time the pandemic halted courthouse tours, in March 2020, over 1000 students had already visit her courtroom, as well as many participating ithe Leadership
program she created. Judge Davis immediately put her words into action! Judge Davis has been innovative and creative while on the bench. A true public servant serving the public. Judge Davis founded the group “Lawyer To Litigator.” The group was formed as a vehicle to assist lawyers with procuring more trial experience, as well as, an avenue for litigants that are unable to afford a lawyer, to get free legal help from a licensed attorney. During the pandemic, Judge Davis has gallantly forged on and has presided over more than 40 virtual bench trials via Zoom. Judge Davis refuses to allow the wheels of justice to slow down. Judge Davis is the recipient of numerous awards including being formerly named “Legal Executive of the Year,” receiving a “Dedra Davis’ Day” from a Houston Mayor, and a proclamation from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Texas Bar College
Lifetime Fellow - Texas Bar Foundation
Judicial Advisor - Civil Jury Project
President, Board - SEE YOU AT THE POLLS
Trustee - CBTU
Vice President, Board - BAC, STCL H
Judicial Ethics Committee - SBOT
Texas Association of District Judges
National Association of Women Judges
International Association of Women Judges
American Bar Association
Houston Bar Association
Houston Lawyers Association
Houston Association of Women Attorneys
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,
NAACP, ACLU, and a number of other groups and organizations.
Family District Court 280 Judge Damiane “Dianne” Curvey (IN) up for re-election in 2024. Judge Curvey has nearly 16 years of experience representing individuals, business owners and other professionals from East Texas to El Paso. Attorney Curvey has handled almost two thousand family law, criminal, juvenile, and probate matters. While trial court litigation is key to her practice, she also conducts mediations for other colleagues who have family lawcases. This allows her the opportunity to resolve even more family law cases and to use her sound judgement to assist those who seek out her services.