Cassandra Holleman, an African-American woman judge who was part of the historic wave of Black women candidates who swept into office last year, died Feb. 11 at age 57. One colleague said she died after a struggle with “health issues.”

Holleman was one of 17 women in the “Black Girl Magic” group of candidates who won seats in Harris County courtrooms in 2018.

“We have lost a promising judge, who had plenty of life experience, and had just realized her dream,” said Harris County District Attorney’s Office Chief of Staff Vivian King.

“She was dedicated to using her new position on the bench to protecting crime victims and ensuring all defendants are treated fairly,” 

Holleman, who practiced criminal law for more than two decades, was assigned to Harris County Criminal Court of Law 12. She came to the bench focused on doing her part to reform the criminal justice system in Texas’ largest county, which includes Houston.

Commissioners Court was expected to begin the process of appointing a replacement for Holleman’s seat on the bench. Since Democrats account for a majority on the court, it’s all but guaranteed that her seat will remain in the party’s hands.

Holleman’s survivors include a son, daughter and granddaughter.