6 criminal court judges up for re-election that have been featured the most in Breaking Bond reports

On Tuesday afternoon, relatives of people killed allegedly at the hands of repeat violent offenders, free from jail on multiple felony bonds, denounced current democratic criminal district court judges.

“You can’t hold them accountable the only thing you can do is vote them out of office,” said Chuck Cook, son of murder victim Rosalee Cook.

MORE: Man with multiple charges of harassing, stalking same woman free on bond with repeated bond violations

We’ve been taking an in-depth look at these felony court judges for more than two years now.

The six judges we’ve reported on the most that are up for re-election are 230th Judge Chris Morton, 262nd Judge Lori Chambers Gray, 180th Judge DaSean Jones, 248th Judge Hilary Unger, 232nd Judge Josh Hill, and 228th Judge Frank Aguilar,

They all have released at least six repeat violent offenders on multiple felony bonds, who’ve gone on to become murder suspects.

“I have been practicing criminal law for 16 years. I started out in the DA’s Office and left in 2009 to start my own criminal practice,” said attorney Tonya McLaughlin.

MORE: Repeat violent offender out on multiple felony bonds sentenced to 16 years behind bars for killing 23-year-old

McLaughlin is running against 262nd Criminal District Court Judge Lori Chambers Gray. 

Lori Chambers Gray has granted multiple bonds to 12 defendants who went on to allegedly commit murder.

“This court, out of all 23 felony courts, has the highest caseload,” said McLaughlin. “When we say caseload, that means open cases on this docket. The last time I checked, it was close to 3,000.”

“I have 30 plus years in public service,” said attorney Tami Pierce. 


Pierce is hoping to unseat 180th Criminal District Court Judge DeSean Jones.

He has granted multiple bonds to nine defendants who went on to become murder suspects.

“I saw what I believed to be injustices. Allowing murder defendants to walk free, or on a PR bond, or give them a really low bond in that court,” Pierce said.

“I’ve been an attorney for 32 years, and it’s entirely been as a prosecutor,” said Julian Ramirez. 

Ramirez is hoping to defeat 248th Judge Hilary Unger.

She’s freed eight violent defendants on multiple bonds who went on to allegedly kill people.

“I was in a position to do something about it, because I’ve got the experience to do the job and the knowledge,” Ramirez said. “I don’t like what I’m seeing, so here I am.”