HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Several Harris County Criminal District Court Judges are up for re-election in 2022. While there are no challenges on the Republican ballot in the Texas Primary Election, there are plenty on the Democratic ballot.
Below we review the incumbent criminal district court judges and their Democratic challengers.
184th Criminal District Court
Harris County 184th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Abigail Anastasio and challenger Katherine Thomas.
Incumbent: Abigail Anastasio
Experience: Abigail Anastasio has served close to 20 years in law. She served as an Assistant District Attorney for Harris County.
Anastasio left the DA's office to work complex defense, representing the indigent and others who stood accused of crimes. While in her private practice she was chosen as a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2017 and 2018.
Overall, she has tried close to 100 jury trials and handled thousands of cases, including charges of capital murder, child abuse, sex abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, weapons offenses, animal cruelty, and various financial crimes.
Of all the Criminal District Courts in Harris County, the 184th District Court under Judge Anastasio has the smallest backlog of cases. Her court has one of the shortest dockets of individuals awaiting trial, and one of the shortest lists of people on bond. She consistently has one of the highest case clearance rates of all the Criminal District Courts* and has maintained the highest case clearance rate in over a decade of the 184th District Court’s history. (*as of 12/5/2021)
Education: University of Houston and South Texas College of Law
Campaign website: judgeanastasio.com
Democratic challenger: Katherine Thomas
Experience: Katherine Thomas currently serves as an Assistant District Attorney Felony Prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
As a prosecutor, Thomas has tried cases ranging from Murder, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Robbery, Felony DWI, Sexual Assault of a Child, Evading Arrest and Aggravated Assault. In her most recent role, she serves as a Vehicular Crimes Prosecutor.
Education: Spelman College and Howard University School of Law
Campaign website: katherinethomasfor184thjudge.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Lori DeAngelo
183rd Criminal District Court
Harris County 183rd Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Chuck Silverman and challenger Gemayel Haynes
Incumbent: Chuck Silverman
Experience: Chuck Silverman practiced law for more than 30 years in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He also worked as General Counsel for a multinational corporation.
Silverman says he's led the charge on felony bail reform.
Education: Tulane University
Campaign website: chuck4judge.com
Democratic challenger: Gemayel Haynes
Experience: Gemayel Haynes was prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in the Justice of the Peace, Misdemeanor, Juvenile, and Felony Trial Divisions.
Haynes was in private practice for approximately five years. He represented juvenile and adult clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies.
He is currently an Assistant Public Defender serving as Senior Litigator and Team Lead in the Felony Trial Division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office.
Education: Texas Tech University School of Law
Campaign website: haynesforjudge.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Kristin Guiney
BREAKING BOND: FOX 26'S ONGOING SERIES ON CRIMINALS OUT ON BOND
185th Criminal District Court
Harris County 185th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Jason Luong and challengers Andrea Beall and Kate Ferrell.
Incumbent: Jason Luong
Experience: Jason Luong began his legal career as the law clerk to United States District Court Judge Royal Furgeson, in Midland, Texas.
Luong then practiced law with two civil trial law firms in Houston. In 2008, Jason left his civil practice to accept a position as an Assistant District Attorney in Harris County, where he went on to serve as the Chief Prosecutor in two different County Criminal Courts.
In 2012, Luong returned to private practice, where he focused on representing Harris County citizens in criminal matters and handling court appointments cases, including representing indigent veterans and persons with mental health illnesses.
He is the chair of the felony district courts' Bail Bond Committee.
Luong is also the presiding judge for the Felony Veterans Treatment Court for Harris County, a specialty court that was created to handle felony criminal cases involving veterans.
Education: Rice University and The University of Texas School of Law
Campaign website: jasonluongforjudge.com
Democratic challenger: Andrea Beall
Experience: Andrea Beall is currently employed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as a Felony Chief in the Child Fatality Division. She 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.
Beall has handled 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, Beall 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.
She serves on the Houston Bar Association’s Gender Fairness Committee as well as the HAY Center Committee.
Education: Baylor University, Eastern University in Pennsylvania, South Texas College of Law Houston
Campaign website: andreabeallforjudge.com
Democratic challenger: Kate Ferrell
Experience: Kate Ferrell entered private practice in 2016 and worked as an associate attorney before opening The Law Office of Kate Ferrell. Ferrell's practice is 100% criminal law. In addition to her retained work, she accepts indigent defense appointments.
Ferrell has served as a member of the Board for the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association since 2017. She is currently HCCLA's Secretary and coordinates the Second Chair Program.
Ferrell is a former Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted thousands of misdemeanor and felony cases.
Education: Texas State University and University of Houston Law Center
Campaign website: kateferrellforjudge.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Chris Carmona
208th Criminal District Court
Harris County 208th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Greg Glass and challengers Beverly Armstrong and Kim McTorry.
Incumbent: Greg Glass
Experience: Greg Glass practiced both criminal trial and appellate law over 40 years before his election to the bench, including 150 jury trials in both State and Federal Courts.
He is a former Pct. Chair for Pct. 34 in Harris County.
Glass has been a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas for more than 15 years.
Education: University of Texas at Arlington and University of Texas at Austin
Campaign website: gregglass4judge.com
Democratic challenger: Beverly Armstrong
Experience: Beverly Armstrong has been a licensed attorney for 24 years, she began her career helping families navigate probate and guardianship issues and guiding families through bankruptcy proceedings.
She was 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 more than 15 years, handling cases such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, child sexual assault and other felonies.
Education: Prairie View A&M University and South Texas College of Law
Campaign website: beverlyarmstrongforjudge.com
Democratic challenger: Kim McTorry
Experience: Kim McTorry worked as a prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. While at the DA’s office, she handled thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases. McTorry served in the Special Crimes Unit as an elite member of the Human Trafficking Division and Sex Crimes Division.
She now manages McTorry Law, PLLC, where she is a criminal defense attorney. She lends a majority of her practice to the underprivileged and the disenfranchised.
Education: Western Kentucky University and Belmont University College of Law
Campaign website: kimmctorryforjudge.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Heather Hudson
228th Criminal District Court
Harris County 228th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Frank Aguilar and challenger Sam Milledge II.
Incumbent: Frank Aguilar
Education: University of Texas
No other information was available for this candidate.
Democratic challenger: Sam Milledge ll
Experience: Sam Milledge II worked for the Clark County Public Defender’s Office from 2009-2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
He is now a Managing Partner along with his father, Samuel L. Milledge, Sr. of The Milledge Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
Milledge II is the head of the firm’s Federal and State Criminal Law, Entertainment, and Personal Injury divisions.
Education: Alabama State University and Southern University Law Center
Campaign website: milledge4justice.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Andy Taylor
230th Criminal District Court
Harris County 230th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Chris Morton and challenger Joseph Sanchez.
Incumbent: Chris Morton
Experience: Chris Morton worked as Assistant District Attorney with Harris County for four and half years in the Trial Division, prosecuting thousands of cases ranging from the most minor of traffic tickets to the most serious of offenses—capital murder. He also volunteered his time in Veteran’s Court working with court staff to develop treatment programs for veterans facing mental health and addiction issues.
Morton left the Harris County DA’s office to open a criminal defense practice, where he accepted appointments to represent indigent defendants.
He is a member of the ACLU and the Houston Democratic Lawyers Association.
Education: University of Houston Law Center
Campaign website: chrismortonforjudge.org
Democratic challenger: Joseph Sanchez
Experience: Joseph Sanchez began his career as a prosecutor at the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office where he assisted in establishing the office’s DWI Pre-Trial Intervention Program in November 2012.
In April 2013, Sanchez joined the Harris County District Attorney’s office in the misdemeanor division.
In 2018, Sanchez joined the office’s Post-Conviction Writs division where he currently serves by investigating claims made by convicted persons challenging the legality of their convictions.
Education: Texas A&M University-College Station and South Texas College of Law-Houston
Campaign website: votejosephsanchez.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Brad Hart
248th Criminal District Court
Harris County 248th Criminal District Court Judge: incumbent Hilary Unger and challenger Linda Mazzagatti.
Incumbent: Hilary Unger
Experience: Hilary Unger worked more than two-and-a-half decades as an Assistant District Attorney, as a public defender, and as a private attorney in both New York and Texas where she helped economically-disadvantaged clients.
As a judge she has been the chair of the Fair Defense Management Committee, where she initiated a pilot program to seamlessly appoint the Public Defender to represent indigent defendants.
Unger currently serves as a co-chair of the Community Supervision and Pretrial Services Standing Committee.
Education: University of Florida College of Law
Campaign website: judgehilaryunger.com
Democratic challenger: Linda Mazzagatti
Experience: Linda Mazzagatti worked for seven years as the Harris County Assistant District Attorney.
She has 32 years of experience in Harris County, state, and federal criminal and civil courts and has presented thousands of cases to citizens on grand juries.
Education: South Texas College of Law
Endorsements: Houston Police Officer’s Union for the Democratic Primary
Campaign website: facebook.com/profile.php?id=100077652602633
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Julian Ramirez
263rd Criminal District Court
Harris County 263rd Criminal District Court incumbent Amy Martin and challenger Melissa Morris.
Incumbent: Amy Martin
Experience: Amy Martin served as clerk to Judge Cheryl Johnson at the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Martin then went into private law practice from 2005 to 2018.
As an attorney, Martin opened her own law practice, focusing on felony criminal cases. She represented indigent capital murder defendants in death penalty cases. Martin represented clients in both state and federal courts, and has argued cases before the Texas Courts of Appeal throughout the state, as well as the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Education: Wesleyan University and University of Texas School of Law
Campaign website: judgeamymartin.com
Democratic challenger Melissa Morris
Experience: Melissa Morris has practiced criminal defense and family law for 15 years. Morris is managing partner of the Morris Law Firm - Houston office.
She is licensed in Texas, Arkansas and the United States of America (Southern District of Texas-Federal Court).
Education: Prairie View A&M University and Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
Campaign website: votemelissamorris.com
Republican challenger in November 2022 Midterm Election: Amber Cox
482nd Criminal District Court
Harris County 482nd Criminal District Court Judge: Democratic challengers Sherlene Cruz, Alycia Harvey and Veronica Nelson.
Republican Incumbent: Maritza Antu (not on primary ballot)
Democratic challenger: Sherlene Cruz
Experience: Sherlene Cruz has worked 16 years in the criminal justice system.
In 2017, Cruz was recruited to be one of the founding attorneys in the Harris County Public Defender’s Office Bail Hearing Division.
She is currently a Senior Litigator at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office.
Education: Florida State University
Campaign website: cruzfor482.com
Democratic challenger: Alycia Harvey
Experience: Alycia Harvey worked at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, where she has practiced criminal law for 20 years.
She was Chief Prosecutor in the Felony Trial Bureau, the Civil Rights Division, the Post-Conviction Writs division, the Robbery Division.
Harvey is currently assigned to the Major Offenders Division where she tries cases and is on-call to assist the police in investigations and writing warrants.
In 2018, she gained her certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Criminal Law.
Education: Central College in Iowa, University of Houston, and University of Houston Law Center
Campaign website: alyciaharveyforjudge.com
Democratic challenger: Veronica Nelson
Experience: Veronica Nelson has been a Chief Prosecutor in both County and District Courts with over 10 years of trial experience.
Nelson worked as a Senior Prosecutor and a Chief Prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for about 10 years. She handled cases ranging from Class C speeding tickets to non-death Capital Murders.
Nelson was promoted to Chief Prosecutor in both misdemeanor and felony divisions, where she supervised junior Assistant District Attorneys and had a caseload of serial Sexual Assaults, Capital Murders, Injury to Child (fatality), and Murders. She has also worked in the juvenile, the mental health, intake, misdemeanor, felony, and justice of the peace divisions.
In 2019, I was selected by the newly-elected democrat County Court Judges to be their Staff Attorney, making her the African-American and female in that position.
Education: University of California, Berkeley and University of Alabama, School of Law
Campaign website: veronicanelsonforjudge.com