Gina Benavides is running for election to the Texas Supreme Court, Place 7, in 2014. Justice Gina M. Benavides was first elected to the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in 2006 and re-elected to a second six-year term in 2012. During her tenure as an appellate judge, Justice Benavides has authored more than 900 opinions on issues involving civil and criminal matters.
As a member of the Court, Justice Benavides has been actively involved in implementing internal procedures and policies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Court.Â She also continues her involvement in national, state, and local associations for the betterment of the judiciary and the law.
After her first year on the Court, Justice Benavides was bestowed the honor of “Latina Judge of the Year” by the National Hispanic Bar Association at their annual meeting in Puerto Rico in 2007.
In 2008, Justice Benavides was appointed to serve on the Texas Center for the Judiciary Board of Directors (the “Texas Center”). The Texas Center was established in 1973 to provide continuing judicial education programs for the state’s judiciary and support personnel. The Texas Center pursues its mission of judicial excellence by providing leadership education and training so that a qualified and knowledgeable judiciary may administer justice with fairness, efficiency, and integrity. In 2010, she was elected Chair-Elect of the Texas Center by her fellow judges and became chair at the annual meeting in September 2011. The last time a judge from Region 5, which encompasses South Texas, held this position was in 1992. Justice Benavides is the first Hispanic Female to hold this position. In 2013, Justice Benavides received the Chair’s Award of Excellence by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. She continues to serve the Texas Center as its judicial liaison to the State Bar of Texas’s Judicial Section.
In 2010, the Texas Supreme Court appointed Justice Benavides to the Texas Access for Justice Commission and re-appointed in 2012. The Texas Access to Justice Commission was created by the Supreme Court of Texas in 2001 to develop and implement initiatives to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil matters for low-income citizens. Justice Benavides currently serves as chair of the Awards Committee and is a member of the Legislative Committee.
In February 2012, then-State Bar of Texas President Bob Black appointed Justice Benavides to the Solutions 2012 task force to deal with decreasing funding for legal access, increasing pro se litigants, and the effect it has on our legal system.
Justice Benavides also serves in an active role in the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas. In 2013, she was appointed a member of the Newsletter Committee and also serves as chair of the section’s Nominations Committee. While in private practice, Justice Benavides served as President of the Cameron County Bar Association, President of the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas, and as a vice president of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel. She also served on numerous committees for the State Bar, including Continuing Legal Education and Law Focused Education. Justice Benavides continues her active involvement in the Hidalgo County Bar Association and Cameron County Bar Association. Justice Benavides is currently a Fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, and is also a member of the National Hispanic Bar Association and Texas Women Lawyers.
In 2014, Justice Benavides was named to the 2014 State Bar of Texas Advanced Civil Appellate Law Seminar planning committee to help develop the two-day program for the annual seminar held each September.
Justice Benavides is also a charter member of the St. Thomas More Society of Hidalgo County, which was founded in 2013 by a group of Catholic lawyers and judges who are committed to the Catholic faith and the law. In October 2010, Justice Benavides was honored to be the keynote speaker for the Red Mass in Brownsville, Texas. The Red Mass is a mass celebrated annually for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students, government officials, and all those who seek justice. She has also spoken at several candlelight vigils against domestic violence and abuse.
Finally, Justice Benavides is committed to youth and youth education. She frequently volunteers to judge the annual “We the People” Constitution Competition, Region One Mock Trial competitions, and the Texas Young Lawyer’s Association Moot Court Competition at the State Bar Annual Meeting every year. She is also a frequent speaker to classrooms throughout South Texas.