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Profiles: Fort Bend County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Christopher Morales

(FORT BEND COUNTY) - Early in his career as a prosecutor with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, County Court at Law No. 1 Judge Christopher Morales knew he eventually wanted to be a judge. After praying with his family he entered the County Court at Law No. 1 race in 2014, was elected, and has served ever since.

Judge Christopher Morales

“I became a prosecutor because I wanted to help my community,” said Morales. “When I was in the courtroom, I realized there was one person that could do more for the community than anyone else in the legal field - and that was the judge.”


Morales is once again on the ballot as the Republican candidate and is asking voters to allow him to continue to serve. He is facing Democrat JaPaula Kemp.


“Every family wants to live free from fear of robbery, theft, you name it,” said Morales. “I have called Fort Bend County home my entire life. I am raising my family in the community I grew up in. I want citizens to know I want a safe community. Public safety is important and should be a top priority for most voters.”


Morales is a lifelong resident of Fort Bend County who graduated from B.F. Terry High School in Rosenberg before attending Texas A&M University. As Judge of County Court at Law No. 1, Morales oversees cases involving probate and guardianship, juvenile, civil litigation, condemnation and misdemeanor and civil mental health commitments. He also oversees the county’s only Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, a program designed to reduce recidivism rates among criminal defendants with mental health issues.


Morales says his goal in running the Misdemeanor Mental Health Court is to stop the “revolving door” at the Fort Bend County Jail for defendants with mental health issues that lack the knowledge or ability to access the help they need to treat their underlying condition.

“They truly can be productive citizens,” he said. “But because they don’t have the ability or the knowledge they need to go about treating their illness they end up in the criminal justice system and that is where the mental health court steps in. I always say, ‘I am not going to cure mental illness but I am going to give you the keys you need to succeed in life.’ If I can move them away from the county jail and get them the resources they need, which are available, all I need to do is be that connection point. At the end of the day it helps save taxpayer dollars.”


Morales says success stories from the mental health court are one of the most fulfilling aspects of his job.


“It’s my favorite part about my job,” he said. “It puts a smile on my face.”


Morales says he has also embraced technology to help run a more efficient courtroom, which helped immensely in the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdowns. Morales was incorporating video conferencing in his courtroom prior to the pandemic, which allowed his court to adapt quickly.


“It kept my court in operation instead of being shut down,” Morales said. “I was able to continue having hearings, deal with matters, and it just reduced the snowball effect a lot of courts are experiencing. There is a backlog, but my backlog is probably a lot smaller than other courts.”


He says voters should pay attention to how a judge runs their courtroom.


“I told voters when I ran in 2014 that I was going to embrace technology,” he said. “I am always going to try to find ways that improve my court’s processes and efficiency.”


Morales says it is important for residents to vote in local elections because they can affect residents personally.


“Local elections, truly in my belief, really impact the day-to-day lives if the residents of Fort Bend County, more so than statewide or national elections,” Morales said. “Make sure the judges are following the laws of the state and the nation and ensuring those laws are being correctly enforced.”


County Officers are elected in November of even numbered years for four-year terms. The next General Election will be held Nov. 8.


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