11:23 AM

vitalvoices presents: Six Harris County Judges for Panel Discussion


By Hayden Bergman

Via the power of modern media, we’re all familiar, in one way or another, with a judge: Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Uncle Phil. Few of us, however, get the chance to speak with a judge and hear their thoughts on the judicial process and how they view their role as community servants. In fact, many times, if we are in the presence of a judge, something bad has happened. 

Not so on Thursday, Jan. 25, as the College of Public Service (CPS) and its Center for Public Service and Community Research will resume their vitalvoices series by bringing six Harris County judges to campus. The event will take place in the evening from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Milam/Travis Room. Those unable to attend in person may also register via Zoom and attend virtually. 

 “This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for the UHD community,” Center Director Steven Villano said. “Our proximity to the legal system as well as many other governmental and industry leaders gives students a front-row seat to their future careers, and, in this case, a chance to learn firsthand about how the judiciary works in Harris County.” 

The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Kevin Buckler, Department Chair of UHD’s Criminal Justice program and Professor of Criminal Justice. The judges will speak about their experiences and philosophies and talk about the judicial branch, why it’s important, and how the courts work. Questions will be taken after the panel discussion concludes. 

The following are just some of the judges who will attend: 

  • Judge Erika Ramirez, Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 8 and Co-Presiding Judge for the 16 Harris County Criminal Courts at Law 
  • Judge Sedrick Walker, Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 11 
  • Judge Raul Rodriguez, Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 13 
  • Judge Tonya Jones, Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 15 

 So, if you’ve ever watched a courtroom show or drama and wondered what it’s like to be a judge, make sure you put this on your calendar. 

The vitalvoices Speaker Series serves as a forum to bring scholars and practitioners alike to speak to students, faculty, alumni, and community partners at UHD's College of Public Service. Participants share their professional experiences, knowledge, and how the work they do impacts society as a whole. Many participants' work is interdisciplinary and touches on the fields of social work, criminal justice, and urban education.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.