Civil and Family District Courts
in Harris County (2011)


245th:      Judge Roy L. Moore  
Judge Annette Kuntz (Galik)
246th:      Judge Jim York
247th       Judge Bonnie Crane Hellums
Formerly: Judge Judy Warne
280th       Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull
308th       Judge James Lombardino
Judge Georgia Dempster (deceased)
309th       Judge Sheri Y. Dean
Judge Frank Rynd (former)
310th       Judge Lisa Millard
311th       Judge Denise Pratt
Judge Doug Warne (former)
312th       Judge David Farr (elected 2010)
Judge Robert Hinojosa (2009)
312th       Judge David D. Farr (former)(2008)
312th       Judge James Squier (former)



313        Judge Glenn Devlin
Formerly: Patrick Scott Shelton (Pat)
314        Judge John Franklin Philip
315        Judge Michael Schneider
Juvenile Court Cases (Appeals)

News Items

Dec. 21, 2007 - Patricia Kerrigan appointed to take
Judge Jennifer Elrod's bench in the 190th District

Oct. 4, 2007 U.S. Senate confirms Houston  trial
court judge
Jennifer Elrod for a seat on the Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals.

Texas Native Nominated for Fifth Circuit

Leslie H. Southwick, a Texas lawyer who put down
roots in Mississippi, has been nominated to fill a
vacancy on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  
See Leslie H. Southwick's Texas Bar Profile
Southwick's Mississippi Appeals Court Bio  

Elrod Nominated for Higher Bench

Texas State District Court Judge
Jennifer W. Elrod has been nominated by
President Bush to a seat on the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. If confirmed by the
Senate, the Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod will succeed
the Hon. Patrick E. Higginbotham. The nomination
was sent to the Senate Wednesday,
March 28,
. Ms. Elrod currently serves as presiding judge
of the 190th District Court in Houston, Texas.
See Photo of Hon. Jennifer Walker Elrod, Judge
State Bar Attorney Profile for Jennifer Elrod

An investiture ceremony for Jacqueline Lucci Smith,
new judge of the County Civil Court of Law No. 2,
and successor to
Judge Michael Block, was held in
the Ceremonial Courtroom in the new Harris
County Civil Courthouse on
April 5, 2007 at 2
P.M.. More news-worthy, on account of numbers
and for other reasons, was the investiture of  
Dallas County Democratic lawyers who replaced
Republican incumbents in January 2007, according
to a front-page story in the April 2, edition of the
Texas Lawyer. 42 Democrats swept into office as a
result of a major turnaround in the partisan tides in
Dallas in the November 2006 elections. Newly
elected judges had reservations about being sworn
in en masse.
Their investiture was also overshadowed by the
rancor lingering on from a campaign season
marked by attack ads against the Democratic
challengers that nevertheless proved ineffective (or
perhaps even counter-productive, in light of the
election results). Some candidates were attacked
for representing criminal defendants and brand
marked as guilty by association. The Local Bar was
criticized for its allegedly partisan role in judicial
election politics, including its sponsorship of judicial
preference and popularity polls. According to the
Texas Lawyer, some of the newly elected judges
want the Dallas Bar Association (DBA) to denounce
the election campaign attack ads.
2008 Harris County Judicial
Election Results (Civil Benches)

Aug. 20, 2009. The recent announcement by Justice Harriet
O'Neill that she will not seek re-election to her seat on the
Texas Supreme Court, and the resignation of
Justice Scott
A. Brister, are creating two opportunities for advancement to
a higher level in the multi-tiered judicial system. Both are
Republicans, as are all of their peers. O'Neill's successor will
be chosen in an open-seat race, whereas Brister's
replacement will be chosen by gubernatorial appointment,
followed by a partisan contest between the appointee and
his Democratic opponent, whoever that may be. Several trial
and appellate judges around the state have already jumped
into the fray, or a expected to do so soon.
Texas Lawyer
reports that District Judge Tracy Christopher is applying for
appointment by the Governor to replace Justice Brister.
Justice Eva Guzman, currently an associate justice on the
14th Court of Appeals, may also be eying a higher calling.
She is up for re-election this year.
Justice Jeff Brown is
reported to be
seeking both appointment and election.  

July 20, 2009. Federal District Court Judge orders Harris
County District Clerk Loren Jackson to grant news service
same-day access to newly-filed lawsuit petitions in federal
action brought by Courthouse News Service vs. Loren
Jackson et al; Civil Action No. H-09-1844 in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas - Houston
Division. Jackson responds to preliminary injunction by
making "unverified" petitions available to everyone on-line.
Check out
today's filings.

May 2009. 1st Court of Appeals Justice Tim Taft retires, but
continues to sit in some cases. His appointed successor is
Michael Massengale.

Jan 1, 2009. Newly Elected Harris County District Judges
Take Office

Nov. 7. 2008. Kent Sullivan returns to Houston and judicial
office as a Justice on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, per
gubernatorial appointment.

Nov. 5, 2008 - Governor fills vacancies: Sylvia Matthews
appointed to the 281st district court bench (replacing David
Bernal); Dan Hinde appointed to 269th District Court
(succeeding John Wooldridge)

Nov. 4, 2008 - Democrats win most judicial races in Harris
County district court contest; a few Republicans hold on with
razor-thin vote margins. Houston courts also get new District
Loren Jackson, Harris County District Clerk

Dec. 21, 2007 - Gov's Christmas Presents
Rick Perry promotes Judge Jeff Brown to seat on the
Fourteenth Court of Appeals vacated by
Justice Harvey
Hudson; appoints William Boyce to replace Richard Edelman.
190th District Court also gets a new judge: Trial lawyer
Patricia Kerrigan. Jeff Shadwick takes Brown's bench in the
55th District Court.

Nov. 28, 2007 - David Farr appointed to replace Jim Squier
in the
312th Family District Court

U.S. Supreme Court denies cert in Harris County Bible
Monument Case - County stuck with large legal bill.

Long-time Associate Judge Michael Hay  retired from this
duties in the
309th Family District court at the end of August.
Hon. Meca Walker has taken his place.

Controversy-prone divorce court judge
Annette Galik
marries boyfriend Hal G. Kuntz and becomes
Hon. Annette

Family Court Judge James D. Squier has announced he will
be running for Congress and has resigned as a full-time
judge.The Hon. Carolyn Johnson had been handling the
court's business as an assigned judge.

Harris County has a new district clerk:
Theresa W  Chang takes office Sep. 11, 2007
Change previously worked for the Harris County Attorney's

Courthouse Bible's Future Uncertain

Fifth Circuit Declares Appeal in Harris County Bible
Monument Case Moot
Staley v. Harris County (5th Cir.)(en banc) (April 24, 2007)
See SDTX page for DC orders in this case

Power Lunch or Just Brownbag Lunch Cum Prayer -
Judge's Courthouse Bible Study Club Raises Eyebrows

Apr. 22, 2007 - Family Court Judge James D. Squier's
lunchtime bible study sessions in the Harris County Family
Law Center have attracted the attention, and criticism, of
freshman Houston Chronicle Columnist Lisa Gray. According
to experts quoted in her Sunday column, the practice, which
has been going on for years, is not illegal under the
separation of church and state doctrine.  According to Gray,
however, what is legal is not necessarily good. The Tuesday
bible study meetings, held in an associate judge's chambers,
raise the question whether lawyers may use the occasion to
curry favor with the judge. At the minimum, suggests the
column, it affords some attorneys practicing in the family
courts an opportunity to schmooze with a judge before whom
they have cases, an opportunity not equally available to
colleagues of different religious persuasions.

Lisa Gray assumed responsibility of shining light on the
conduct and misconduct of local politicos, public officials,
and other matters meritorious of media exposure, after
long-time Houston Chronicle columnist Rick Casey was sent
on sabbatical.

It is not the first time the mixture of religion and public
business in Harris County courts have raised eyebrows. The
display of religious symbols in the courtroom and of a bible
in front of the old civil county courthouse (now gone at least
temporarily during renovation) have both led to first
amendment litigation in federal court. The case challenging
the Ten Commandments in the courtroom of a civil court
judge was dismissed on standing grounds, but the bible
monument case remains pending on appeal in the Fifth
Circuit after that Court granted en banc review of a federal
district court order banning the bible, which had been
affirmed in a panel opinion. Harris County v. Staley.               
Apr. 10, 2007 - According to an obituary published in the
HOUSTON CHRONICLE former Family District Judge
J. Daggett
has died. He was the presiding judge of the
310th District until his retirement in 1994. His bench in the
Harris County Family Law Center is now held by the
Lisa Millard. Daggett was a family court judge for about two
decades. Allen Daggett was a graduate from UT and a
Democrat. He was 80 at the time of his death.
Harris  County Courthouses: Criminal Courts and New Civil Courts Building
The new Harris
County Civil
News Items

[List includes some predecessors]
2010 Democratic Candidates
2010 Republican Candidate List
11th  Judge Mike Miller (2009)
11th  Judge Mark Davidson (former)  
Judge Jeff Shadwick (current and former)
55th  Judge Dion Ramos (elected 2008)
55th  Judge Jeff Brown (former)
61st  Judge Al Bennet (2009)
61st  Judge John Donovan (former)
80th  Judge Larry Weiman (elected 2008)
80th  Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull
113th Judge John Donovan
Judge Patricia Hancock (former)
125th  Judge Kyle Carter (2009)
125th  Judge John Coselli (former)
127th  Judge R. K. Sandill (2009)
127th  Judge Sharolyn Wood (former)
129th  Judge Michael Gomez (2009)
129th  Judge Grant Dorfman (former)
133th  Judge Jaclanel McFarland (2009)
133th  Judge Lamar McCorkle (former)
151st   Judge Mike Engelhart (2009)
151st   Judge Caroline E. Baker (former)
152nd  Judge Robert Schaffer (2009)
152nd  Judge Kenneth Wise (former)
157th   Judge Randy Wilson
164th   Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan (2009)
164th   Judge Martha Hill Jamison (former)
165th   Judge Josefina Muniz Rendon (2009)
165th   Judge Elizabeth Ray (former)
189th   Judge Bill Burke
190th   Judge Patricia J. Kerrigan (reelected '08)
190th   Hon. Jennifer W. Elrod (now on U.S.C.A. 5th Cir)
Judge Steven E. Kirkland (2009)
215th   Judge Levi Benton (former)
234th   Judge Reece Rondon
269th   Judge Dan Hinde (appointed 2008)
269th   John T. Wooldridge (resigned 2008)
270th   Judge Brent Gamble
280th   Judge Tony Lindsay (former) --> Family Courts
Judge Sylvia A. Matthews (appt'd 2008)
281st   Judge David J. Bernal (resigned 2008)
295th   Judge Caroline E. Baker (appointed Dec. 2009)
295th   Hon.Tracy E. Christopher (former, now on 14thCoA)
333rd  Judge Joseph James "Tad" Halbach Jr.
334th  Judge Ken Wise (appointed 2/2011)
Hon. Sharon McCally (now 14th Court of Appeals)
MDL Judge: Hon. Mark Davidson

(For Democratic Candidates in 2008 Election click this
link)  |  
Judge Mark Davidson (-2008)
55         Judge Dion Ramos (new)
55         Judge Jeff Brown (formerly)(-2007)
55         Judge Jeff Shadwick (former)(-2008)
61         Judge John Donovan (-2008)
80         Judge Lynn Bradshaw-Hull (-2008)
113         Judge Patricia Hancock
125         Judge John Coselli (-2008)
127         Judge Sharolyn Wood (-2008)
129         Judge Grant Dorfman (-2008)
133         Judge Lamar McCorkle
151         Judge Caroline E. Baker (-2008)
152         Judge Kenneth Wise (-2008)
157         Judge Randall Wilson
164         Judge Martha Hill Jamison (-2008)
165         Judge Elizabeth Ray (-2008)
189         Judge Bill Burke
190         Judge Jennifer W. Elrod (formerly)
190         Judge Patricia Kerrigan
215         Judge Levi Benton (-2008)
234         Judge Reece Rondon
269         Daniel E. Hinde (newly appointed)
269         Judge John T. Wooldridge (former)
270         Judge Brent Gamble
280         Judge Tony Lindsay
281         Sylvia A. Matthews (newly appointed)
281         Judge David J. Bernal (former)
295         Judge Tracy E. Christopher
333         Judge Joseph James Halbach Jr.
334         Judge Sharon McCally


CCCL#1 Hon. R. Jack Cagle
CCCL#2 Hon. Jacqueline Lucci-Smith
CCCL#2 Hon. Gary Michael Block (past)
CCCL#3 Hon. Linda Storey
CCCL#3 Hon. Lynn Bradshaw-Hull (former)
CCCL#4 Hon. Roberta Anne Lloyd
CCCL#4 Hon. Cynthia Crowe (former)


Probate Court No.1: Judge Loyd Wright
Prob Ct. No. 1: Georgia Akers (-2008)(former probate judge)
Probate Ct. No 1: Kathy Stone (2009)(former probate judge)
Prob.Ct. No.1: [Formerly Hon. Russell Austin (deceased)]
Probate Ct. No. 2: Judge Mike Wood
Probate Ct. No. 3: Judge Rory R. Olsen
Probate Ct. No. 4: Judge Christine Butts
Prob Ct. No 4: Hon. William C. McCulloch (former probate judge)
See --> Probate Court Cases (Appeals)
Harris County Family Law Center in Downtown Houston
Old Harris County Civil Courthouse (prior to being renovated)
Old Harris County
Civil Courthouse (prior to
and New Home of the
Houston Courts of
Appeals as of
Fall 2011
See all Harris County Election Results (updated figures)   

REP Mark Davidson 537,626 Votes: 48.81%
v. DEM
Mike Miller  563,884 Votes: 51.19%

REP Jeff Shadwick 542,787 Votes: 49.28%
vs. DEM
Dion Ramos  558,548 Votes: 50.72%

REP John Donovan  537,650 Votes: 48.77%
v. DEM
Alfred "Al" Bennett 564,767 Votes: 51.23%

REP Lynn M. Bradshaw-Hull  545,950 Votes: 49.54%
Larry Weiman 556,119 Votes: 50.46%

REP John Coselli  531,586 48.31%
vs. DEM
Kyle Carter 568,845 51.69%

REP Sharolyn Wood  543,959 Votes: 49.50%
v. DEM
R. K. Sandill 554,882 Votes: 50.50%

REP Grant Dorfman  530,479 Votes: 48.22%
vs. DEM
Michael Gomez 569,687 Votes: 51.78%

REP Lamar McCorkle 535,710 Votes: 48.80%
v. DEM
Jaclanel McFarland 561,954 Votes: 51.20%

REP Caroline E. Baker  542,352 Votes 49.28%
vs. DEM
Mike Engelhart 558,168 Votes: 50.72%

REP Ken Wise 537,730 Votes: 48.90%
v. DEM
Robert Schaffer 561,864 Votes: 51.10%

REP Martha Hill Jamison 3547,785 Votes: 49.84%
vs. DEM
Alexandra Smoots-Hogan 551,249 Votes: 50.16%

REP Elizabeth Ray 549,921 Votes: 49.98%
v. DEM
Josefina Muniz Rendon 550,296 Votes: 50.02%

Patricia J. Kerrigan  549,631 Votes: 50.12%
vs. DEM Andres Pereira  547,078 Votes: 49.88%

REP Levi J. Benton 533,568 Votes: 48.70%
v. DEM
Steven E. Kirkland 62,135 Votes: 51.30%

Joseph "Tad" Halbach 547,442 Votes: 50.02%
vs. DEM Goodwille Pierre  547,091 Votes: 49.98%

Sharon McCally  563,517 Votes: 51.43%
v. DEM Ashish Mahendru  532,135 Votes: 48.57%
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