Based on the motion from Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Commissioners Court appointed Genesis E. Draper – an assistant public defender in the Harris County Public Defender’s Office – to fill the judicial vacancy at Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 12.

The seat was left vacant following the unexpected death of Judge Cassandra Hollemon on Feb. 11. Hollemon was elected to the bench in November as part of a historical sweep that elected 17 Black women to the county judiciary.

“We can never replace Judge Hollemon, but we can honor her legacy and the will of the voters by appointing Genesis E. Draper to the bench,” said Ellis. “Ms. Draper has an exemplary legal career and record of public service that reflects a clear commitment to ensuring everyone receives fair treatment and equal justice in Harris County regardless of who they are or how much money they have.”

 “This appointment is a tremendous honor,” Draper said. “I’m committed to building on Judge Hollemon’s legacy and will continue her work, alongside other members of the Harris County judiciary, to advance the reforms that are needed to transform our justice system into one that delivers equal justice and fair treatment to all people.”  

Draper is a graduate of Spelman College and received her law degree from the University of Texas Law School, where she was a member of the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, Criminal Law Society, Board of Advocates and the mock trial team. 

She began her legal career as a public defender in Tennessee and later served as a federal public defender in the Southern District Court of Texas before joining the Harris County Public Defender’s Office in 2017.