Judicial Q&A: Judge Dedra Davis

(Note: As I have done in past elections, I am running a series of Q&As for judicial candidates in contested Democratic primaries. This is intended to help introduce the candidates and their experiences to those who plan to vote in March. I am running these responses in the order that I receive them from the candidates. Much more information about Democratic primary candidates, including links to the interviews and judicial Q&As, can be found on Erik Manning’s spreadsheet. One more late entrant for the series.

Judge Dedra Davis

1. Who are you and in which court do you preside?

I am Judge Dedra Davis. I preside with great pride over the 270th Civil District Court.

2. What kind of cases does this court hear?

I have the pleasure of presiding over a plethora of cases. As a Civil District Court judge, I hear matters dealing with Structured Settlements, Minor Settlement hearings, Expunctions, Employment disputes, Jones Act disputes, tax disputes, personal injury matters, and a host of other important and potentially life-changing matters.

3. What have been your main accomplishments during your time on this bench?

I have had exceptional results since having the honor of serving as the presiding judge of the 270th Court. To quote William Ewart Gladstone, “access delayed is access denied.” As an entrepreneur for over 22 years, I developed strong survival skills that have actually served me well in my role as presiding judge of the 270th Court.

1) In 2019, I implemented a telephone docket. Many of the civil court judges were having to share courtrooms with the criminal court judges and with other civil court judges and there was no where to have trials or hearings in a timely manner.
2) In 2019, I was the only court, of the 24 Civil District Courts in Harris County, that allowed virtual appearances via CourtCall. No matter where a person was, they had access to justice.
3) In 2019, I opened the doors to the 270th court to school field trips. I have had over 1000 students visit the 270th court, sit on the judge’s bench, hit the gavel, give an order, and get pictures galore. We discussed jobs at the courthouse, setting goals and having dreams.
4) In 2020, when the courthouse closed due to Covid19, I immediately began hold virtual hearings via Zoom, once the service was provided.
5) In 2020, when the courthouse closed due to Covid19, I held virtual trials. As an entrepreneur, I focused on what I COULD do and not what I could NOT do. Even though no juries were being called to duty, the court still had many trials that COULD be held and heard. I was able to get 45 trials to verdict! I finished 2020 with 52 trials to verdict! Number 1, of the 24 Civil District Courts, in trials to verdict that year!
6) In 2021, when the District Clerk’s office got a system in place to do virtual jury calls, I began doing virtual juries. I am the only District Court judge in Harris County, of the 60, that is has been holding virtual jury trials with 12 jurors. This has had an monumental affect on justice being served. I’ve had parties in Scotland, France, and other parts of the world get their day in court, Covid19 Free.
7) Instead of hearing motions only 1 day a week, I changed the court’s practice and now matters are heard 5 days a week. This practice has allowed the court to maintain one of the lowest inventories of the 24 Civil District courts.
8) I changed the “official record” of 270th Court proceedings to a more efficient and cost effective system. Lawyers and litigants no longer have to call and beg for the “official record” of the court. Lawyers no longer have to pay thousands of dollars for the “official record” of the court. They now receive the “official record” of the 270th Court FOR FREE and within 15 minutes of the end of the proceeding. I recognize that all clients and lawyers do not have the resources to pay for the “official record,” and justice was being denied.
9) I require lawyers requesting hearings to be heard to schedule them within 30 days, if law allows. No more waiting months to get a hearing.
10) I demand WORLD CLASS customer service be given to any and everyone that does business with the 270th Court. Good or great customer service is just not enough.
11) I have opened the court to internships for over 30 law students, paralegals, college students and high school students. Majority are volunteers that are trying to learn about the courts and being a judge. Fueling the future.
12) I created an Expunction seminar that I give all across Texas.
13) I created a seminar entitled “How To Become A Judge,” that I have presented all across the USA to law students and pre-law students.
14) I have many more accomplishments since taking the bench in 2019. I just listed a few.

4. What do you hope to accomplish in your courtroom going forward?

I have a PROVEN record. I have and will continue to make sure law and order equals justice.
I have already implemented new policies and procedures that have drastically changed the access to, as well as the efficiency of, the 270th
I have a PROVEN record. I have and will continue to treat all parties in the court equally. All trials need to be heard, not just the ones where the party can afford to pay a fee for a jury. As the presiding judge of the 270th court, I have a responsibility and a duty to serve all the parties. I refuse to discriminate against a party just because they can’t pay a jury fee.
As you may be aware, when the party files a lawsuit, that party decides if the case will be heard as a jury trial or a nonjury trial. If the party wants it to be a jury trial, the party will pay the jury fee. The parties in the case 100% decide if they want a jury to hear their case or if they want a judge to hear their case, all the way up to 30 days before the date of trial.
I have a PROVEN record. I have and will continue to be innovative, creative in serving the citizens of Harris County. I am dedicated.

5. Why is this race important?

This race is important for many reasons. One reason this race is important is because truth and honor are a huge part of the job. When I pulled the 1/1/2019 to 2/13/2022 report, it reflected that I had 88 nonjury trials and 16 jury trials to verdict, that is over 100 trials to verdict. I have been consistently sharing the correct number of trials to verdict, jury and nonjury. There is no room for mistake or confusion.

Another reason this race is important is because the citizens deserve a judge with sound legal judgment. Two occasions when my rulings were taken to the Texas Supreme Court, my rulings were upheld. In one case, two different Courts Of Appeals (6 justices) and the Texas Supreme Court (9 justices) all upheld my decision. That’s 15 justices that upheld my opinion. Sound legal judgment.

6. Why should people vote for you in March?

I have over 35 years of legal experience.
I have almost 10 years as a civil litigation paralegal and more than 25 years as an attorney doing litigation and transactional work. I have over 20 years as a Certified Mediator, specializing in civil litigation.
I bring a broad knowledge of the system and the law.
I bring an expertise that is incredibly necessary for the position. Tunnel vision from one perspective is not an ideal trait for a presiding judge.
I have over 3 years as the presiding judge of the 270th Court and have made incredible improvements.
Justice. Fairness. Equality. Judicial temperament.
I am an award winning judge. The Houston Lawyers Association recognized my work and presented me with a “Judicial Service” award. The Texas Bar Foundation, a prestigious organization of elite attorneys, voted me in as a “Fellow.” I am now a “Lifetime Fellow” of the Texas Bar Foundation.

The voters in Harris County do not have to GUESS if I will perform. They have a PROVEN track record that shows I am devoted, driven, dedicated, creative and innovative. No guessing necessary.

The people should vote for me because litigants deserve a leader, not a follower.
If I followed everyone else, I would not be the only District Court in Harris County providing an 100% free Covid19 environment for jury trials.
I would not be the only District Court in Harris County that gives the litigants the “official record” of the court FOR FREE, and within minutes of the end of the proceeding.
The people should vote for me because I have PROVEN that I an innovative and creative.
I have PROVEN that I am a hard worker that thinks outside the box.
I have PROVEN that the citizens and the community are of the utmost importance to me as the presiding judge of the 270th Civil District Court. PROVEN, no guessing necessary.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

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7 Responses to Judicial Q&A: Judge Dedra Davis

  1. Mainstream says:

    In the Houston Bar Association Judicial Performance Poll, Judge Davis was the 3rd worst in the entire county among 25 rated civil court judges. 62% of attorneys who appear in her court stated she needed improvement. Only 14% thought she was excellent. Contrast this to Judge Robert Schaffer, for whom 63% thought he was excellent, and only 5.5% thought he needed improvement.

  2. mollusk says:

    Here is the link to the entire HBA poll resource:


    The full results are the top .pdf link, followed by links to each of the various categories of court.

  3. Judge Dedra Davis says:

    The HBA is made up of over 11,000 lawyers. The 2021 bar poll had 281 respond for the 270th. There were about 160 that put “Needs Improvement.”

    NO WHERE, does it state those people HAVE EVER been in my court. That’s not even a requirement.

    Compare the bar poll results with the other African American female judges, not an anglo male. Telling.

  4. Mainstream says:

    Here is the Cliff Notes version:

    JUDGE COURT Excellent Needs Improvement
    Robert Schaffer 63.20% 5.50%
    Lauren Reeder 53.70% 8.10%
    Mike Engelhart 52.20% 9.20%
    Christine Weems 51.10% 11.70%
    Beau Miller 50.00% 10.60%
    Cory Don Sepolio 49.80% 12.80%
    Tanya Garrison 46.50% 15.80%
    Donna Roth 44.60% 13.00%
    Kristen Brauchle Hawkins 44.60% 14.60%
    Scot “dolli” Dollinger 41.90% 11.90%
    Latosha Lewis Payne 38.30% 25.00%
    Rabeea Sultan Collier 37.70% 27.80%
    Ravi K. Sandill 37.10% 28.50%
    Michael Gomez 34.70% 17.10%
    Kyle Carter 33.00% 30.20%
    Dawn Rogers 27.20% 27.20%
    Jaclanel McFarland 24.90% 36.40%
    Fredericka Phillips 18.90% 42.30%
    Jeralyn Manor 18.50% 30.80%
    Cheryl Elliott Thornton17.90% 32.70%
    Elaine Palmer 16.40% 45.40%
    Dedra Davis 15.80% 57.50%
    Brittanye Morris 14.00% 61.80%
    Ursula Hall 9% 74.70%

  5. Judge Dedra Davis says:

    And THERE you have it!

    The 7 lowest rated judges by the few HBA members that voted are African American female judges.


  6. Kibitzer Curiae says:


    Ah, Ursula … top scorer in the amount of room for improvement.

    Group email prior to scheduled docket call: The court will not meet with you

    Duly show up for the hearing: Courtroom door locked (NB: before the pandemic)

    Also famous (notorious) for a long string of mandamus rulings documenting serial nonfeasance. Translation: She can’t be bothered to issue rulings … for months.

    Of record:

    In the petition, relator asks this Court to compel the Honorable Ursula A. Hall, presiding judge of the 165th District Court of Harris County, to rule on Baker Hughes Company’s pending motion to compel arbitration. Baker Hughes, the real party in interest, filed a response and agrees that mandamus is appropriate.

    Ordinarily, to be entitled to a writ of mandamus, the relator must show that the trial court abused its discretion and relator does not have an adequate remedy by appeal. In re C.J.C., 603 S.W.3d 804, 811 (Tex. 2020) (orig. proceeding); In re N. Cypress Med. Ctr. Operating Co., 559 S.W.3d 128, 130 (Tex. 2018) (orig. proceeding). When a motion is properly pending before a trial court, the act of considering and ruling on it is ministerial, and mandamus may issue to compel the trial court to act. Eli Lilly & Co. v. Marshall, 829 S.W.2d 157, 158 (Tex. 1992) (orig. proceeding) (per curiam); see also In re Henry, 525 S.W.3d 381, 382 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, orig. proceeding). To establish that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to rule, “[a] relator must establish that the trial court (1) had a legal duty to rule on the motion; (2) was asked to rule on the motion; and (3) failed or refused to rule on the motion within a reasonable time.” Henry, 525 S.W.3d at 382.

    In this case, the record reflects that Baker Hughes filed its motion to compel arbitration on August 31, 2020, and set it for submission on September 14, 2020. The record further reflects that the parties informed the trial court that the motion was still pending on multiple occasions. The motion has remained pending without a ruling for almost sixteen months. While there is no precise test to determine whether the amount of time it takes a trial court to rule is reasonable, the trial court’s delay in ruling in this case is unreasonable. See In re The Univ. of Tex. MD Anderson Cancer Ctr., No. 01-19-00201-CV, 2019 WL 3418567, at *2 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] July 30, 2019, orig. proceeding) (mem. op.) (“A delay of more than 12 months on a ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction is an abuse of discretion.”). The trial court’s failure to rule has prevented the entire case from proceeding. As such, the trial court has abused its discretion in refusing to rule on Baker Hughes’ motion to compel arbitration. Moreover, there is no adequate remedy at law. We have taken judicial notice that our court and the First Court of Appeals have repeatedly been petitioned for mandamus relief against the Honorable Ursula A. Hall for failure to rule. In re Robbins, 622 S.W.3d 600 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2021, orig. proceeding) (citing cases).

    Accordingly, without addressing the merits of the pending motion, we conditionally grant the petition for a writ of mandamus and direct the trial court to rule on Baker Hughes’ motion to compel arbitration within thirty days of the date of this memorandum opinion. We are confident the trial judge will act in accordance with this opinion and the writ will issue only if the court fails to do so.

    In re Robbins, 622 S.W.3d 600 – Tex: Court of Appeals 2021 (“This is the twelfth grant of relief against the Honorable Ursula A. Hall for failure to rule.”)

    And that’s only the fraction of attorneys that went to the court of appeals to complain about her in cases in it which it was worth it, or their client’s money.

  7. policywonqueria says:


    Instead of playing the race or race-to-the-bottom card, attention should be paid, and credit given, to special efforts our local judges make to improve the administration of justice and whether they provide useful information and instruction to the litigants who can’t afford an attorney, and the CLE-type material and tips for the practicing bar.

    What efforts do judges make to facilitate access to judicial relief for those with legitimate claims and fairness to individuals being sued, and to help litigants and their attorney, if they have one, navigate the often seemingly arcane process?

    Check out this particular judge’s list of resources and contributions, as an illustration:

    [court ID]’s Civil Court Information
    [court ID]’s District Court – Live Stream
    Current Trial Docket
    Law Day Docket (Hearings)
    Telephonic and Video Conferencing Instructions
    COVID-19 Emergency and Public Health Scheduling Procedures
    Court Procedures – Updated as of March 24, 2020
    Dispositive Motions before the 151st District Court
    Updated Powerpoint on Dispositive Motions in the 151st
    Discovery Update PowerPoint
    Common Mistakes Attorneys Make in Default Judgment Motions (A Movie Title “Top 10” List)
    Voir Dire Workshop – Making & Preserving For-Cause Challenges in Voir Dire
    Trial Tips for Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
    Enforcing Foreign State and Foreign Country Judgments in Texas
    FDCPA Liability and Exposure to Texas State Bar Discipline: Recent Developments
    2015 Legislative Update PowerPoint Presentation
    2014 Update on Attorney’s Fees Case Law
    Texas Tort Reform Legislation Over the Last 20 years
    Young Lawyers in the Courtroom Program Description and Order
    How To Use Our Civil Courtroom Technology
    Instructions for e-Hearing
    Civil Ancillary Information


    Who is this judge worthy of praise?

    Click below if you want to find out (or to follow the links to some of the materials featured on the webpage):

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