Ex-197th District Court judge announces candidacy for appeals court

BROWNSVILLE — A longtime judge who retired from the 197th state District Court at the beginning of the year has announced her candidacy for the 13th Court of Appeals.

Judge Migdalia Lopez, who currently serves as a juvenile judge, has 39 years of legal experience, 27 of those years serving in municipal, county court, district court and juvenile court, according to a press release.

Lopez, a Houston Law Center graduate, joined the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office after going into private practice where she spent a decade prosecuting cases ranging from sexual assault of a child to capital murder, rising to the position of First Assistant District Attorney.

She says in a press release that her faith in people and community motivated her to protect people from violent offenders and sexual predators.

“Judge Migdalia Lopez is a trailblazer for women’s advancement in the professional world,” she states in a press release. “She became the first woman elected County Court at Law Judge in Cameron County and the first woman elected District Court Judge in both Cameron and Willacy Counties.”

Lopez, who describes herself as tough, fair and experienced, has presided over a number of high profile cases, including hearing pre-trial motions for the Firestone and Ford Explorer tire defect cases.

More recently, she presided over the cases of two men, one of whom she sentenced to death, for the 2014 murder of off-duty Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr.

Lopez said she has experience with a wide range of trials, including civil, criminal, family, probate, medical malpractice, personal injury, contracts and construction.

“Judge Migdalia Lopez has a strong work ethic and a strong character. The law enforcement community knows her as a Judge who is available to assist them when needed,” her campaign press release states.

She references being nominated by FBI agents to the FBI Citizens Academy, from which she graduated.

“Her strong reputation is known throughout the state to such an extent that Governors have appointed her to numerous statewide committees,” according to the press release. “Judge Migdalia Lopez, as always, will ensure that all trials are tried pursuant to all relevant laws and rules of evidence. Judge Migdalia Lopez will make an immediate, positive, and insightful impact on the cases she will hear as your Justice of the 13th Court of Appeals.”