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Judge Katherine Cabaniss Parsley was appointed by Governor Perry to the 248th District Court of Harris County, Texas, in 2013. Subsequently, she was elected by voters to a four-term term. She is committed to service to the community and justice in every case.
Before being appointed to the bench, Judge Cabaniss managed a nationally recognized nonprofit organization. As the Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, she lead the largest nonprofit of its kind in the country. Prior to her nonprofit leadership, she was a prosecutor at the Office of the District Attorney, Harris County. She was promoted to Chief Prosecutor and assigned to the Special Crimes Bureau. She prosecuted crimes ranging from offenses against property and persons to drug cases, and from white collar crime to capital murder. Hundreds of jury trials resulted in justice for thousands of victims. In one capital murder case, the jury assessed the death penalty.
On the bench, Judge Cabaniss manages a docket of more than 500 cases efficiently and effectively. Judge Cabaniss maintains a strict docket control order that promotes justice without delay. As a felony court judge, she presides over jury trials of defendants charged with capital murder, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, and crimes against children, among other offenses.
Judge Cabaniss also manages the Harris County STAR Program docket, commonly called “Drug Court.” A specialized docket for repeat drug offenders, the goal of prosecution is rehabilitation through intensive probation and treatment, rather than repeated incarceration. Her drug court transforms lives; addicted participants become productive, law abiding citizens.
Off the bench, Judge Cabaniss is committed to service in the community. She is a member of the Boards of Directors of Bridges to Life, the Friends of Fondren Library at Rice University, and the Houston Club. She is the Immediate Past President of the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club and the Board of Governors of the Houston Club. She was honored with the 2008 Director’s Community Leadership Award from the FBI, and the 2009 Suzanne McDaniel Public Awareness Award from the bipartisan Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus. She was named one of the Fifty Most Influential Women in Houston in 2011.
Judge Cabaniss has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows. She was a regular commentator on KHOU news on Saturday mornings as a legal expert. She wrote the weekly column “Living Safe” in the Examiner network of print publications. Prior to her appointment, she appeared on Sundays as a regular legal expert on radio station News 92FM, and appeared nationally on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Inside Edition. She participated in the Center for Houston’s Future Business/Civic Leader’s Forum, American Leadership Forum, Rice University Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives, and United Way Leader’s Circle.
Judge Cabaniss holds a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in California. She is licensed to practice law in both California and her native Texas.
Katherine is married to Dr. Brian Parsley, an orthopedic surgeon. They enjoy six grandchildren, and counting! Her commitment to justice, leadership, community service, and the empowerment of all citizens has had a positive impact in communities around Houston, in Texas, and across the country.