District Judge Garza plans to seek re-election

For a third term as District Court Judge of the 377th Judicial District Court of Victoria County

VICTORIA, Texas – District Judge Elí Garza plans to seek re-election for a third term as District Court Judge of the 377th Judicial District Court of Victoria County.

“I am pleased to announce my intent to seek re-election as your District Court Judge for the 377th Judicial District Court. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as District Judge. I intend to continue to make decisions based on the law and nothing else. Parties litigating cases before the 377th Judicial Court are assured that the United States Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. Under my direction, the Court will continue to make decisions without regard to partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism as mandated by the Judicial Code of Ethics.” Judge Garza said.

Judge Garza has ensured that the court dockets operate as efficiently as possible over the last seven years. The Covid-19 pandemic caused many courts in the State of Texas to completely shut down. However, the 377th District Court remained open for business, under the direction of Judge Garza.

To maintain a safe environment for all parties and litigants, Judge Garza enforces safety measures according to the guidance of Dr. John McNeill, the Local Medical Authority. Judge Garza also asks for advice from the Victoria County Health Department on a regular basis. He does this to stay informed about the local Covid-19 infection rates.

During the pandemic, District Judge Garza implemented the following measures:

  1. a plan to ensure the safety of jurors and parties attending the courthouse,
  2. the scheduling of attorneys/parties at specific times,
  3. the reset of cases by agreement of the parties,
  4. the staggering of dockets
  5. the addition of extra dockets in the court’s calendar,
  6. the use of video conferencing and other technology to limit the number of individuals in the courtroom, and
  7. a sanitization procedure for the common areas of the 377th District Court

“I could not accept that our system of justice was going to come to a standstill due to the pandemic, I applaud the efforts of the local attorneys, the district attorney’s office, the sheriff’s office and the courthouse staff that work with me every day to ensure that our system of justice was not hampered due to COVID 19. As a practicing lawyer, I could not imagine the emotional toll it would take a victim waiting for his/her day in court to arrive. In addition, Justice is not served when individuals, who would otherwise be contributing members of society, are incarcerated because of a virus. Every day since the start of the virus, the men and women who work at the Victoria County Courthouse are dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our county has access to our courts even in times of hardship and stress such as major disasters like Hurricane Harvey or the COVID-19 virus. The 377th District Court would not be successful without these individuals’ dedication.” Garza added.

Disposition rates

Similar to the past, the 377th District Court’s disposition rates for criminal cases are above the state average.

Before Covid-19, case disposition rates, for every year Judge Garza has been in office, have been over 100%. Judge Garza has presided over 70 jury trials as a judge. Including his administrative duties, Judge Garza has presided over contested hearings, in both criminal and civil areas of the law. He also is the chair of the Juvenile Board.

Judge Garza’s educational and career journey

Prior to his election in 2014, Judge Garza served as First Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Victoria County. During his time as First Assistant, Judge Garza tried over 50 cases, ranging from Capital Murder to Aggravated Assault.

Before working as a prosecutor, Judge Garza also worked as a criminal defense attorney. He represented individuals charged with criminal offenses in both State and Federal courts.

Judge Garza graduated from Creighton University School of Law, which was founded by the Jesuit Order of Priests in Omaha, Nebraska. He earned his Bachelor of Arts, prior to attending law school, in Political Science from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Judge Garza married his wife, Jennifer, and they are proud parents of a 19-year-old son.