My name is Jannell Robles,
I am a third-generation Harris County resident, and I am a bilingual attorney practicing exclusively criminal law in Harris County.
I graduated early from Pasadena High School and attended San Jacinto College-Central. Subsequently, I transferred to the University of North Texas where I majored in Anthropology with a minor in Mexican American Studies, and I participated in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. After a few years of working with non-profits, I returned to school to obtain my Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law (STCL) in downtown Houston. While studying at STCL, I was recognized with the Lyndon B. Johnson Civil Rights Award and the Dickerson-Moore Humanitarian Award.
I began my career in public service while working with the late Maria Jimenez for immigrant rights non-profit and grassroots organizations. I also worked for the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center (now known as the Fe y Justicia Centro de Trabajadores) for the "Build a Better Texas" campaign aimed at improving working conditions for construction workers in Texas through awareness-building and advocacy in the state legislature.
I then went to work for a national Latino civil rights legal non-profit in San Antonio, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. It was there where I advocated for immigrant rights in Texas and in the state legislature.
I later returned to Houston to work for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition as their Harris County Criminal Justice Policy Analyst. I advocated for criminal justice reform and smart-on-crime policies that use evidence and data to inform policies, encourage alternatives to incarceration, and protect against disparities at every level. Some of the initiatives that I advocated for include the Houston Center for Sobriety, the Houston Forensic Sciences Center, and preventing the privatization of Harris County Jail.
During law school, I clerked for a criminal defense firm, Mallet Saper Berg, LLP, and for The Honorable Michael Gomez of the 129th Civil District Court. After law school, I began my legal career for a brief time as an Immigration Associate representing individuals in deportation proceedings, those seeking asylum, and victims of crime. I then transitioned to Assistant District Attorney with the Harris County District Attorneys Office, where I handled thousands of cases ranging from low-level misdemeanors to complex felony cases, from arrest to trial. I practiced in several misdemeanor County Criminal Courts at Law, the Responsive Interventions for Change (RIC) Court, and Felony District Courts.
I currently serve as an Assistant Public Defender at the Harris County Public Defender’s Office in the Trial Division where I handle a caseload of clients charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. I started my work at the Public Defender’s Office in the Bail Division.
My grandparents moved to Pasadena, Texas in the mid-1960s from the border town of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. They created a family of four generations living and thriving in Harris County. My father worked as a mechanic and my mother as a supervisor for oil and gas companies. My parents and grandmother taught me the value of hard work, and as a teenager, I learned that lesson when I would work with my grandmother in housekeeping in office buildings. My family taught me the importance of using my voice and my position to help those in need, give back to my community, and speak up against injustices.
About the Position
I am running for Harris County Criminal Court at Law No. 2 which presides over criminal misdemeanor level cases in Harris County. Specifically, it handles Class A and Class B misdemeanors, which are punishable by a fine and/or incarceration in the Harris County Jail. The Court also handles appeals from Class C misdemeanor traffic ticket cases, which are punishable by a fine. Most cases heard in this court involve low-level and nonviolent offenses. Some of the cases heard in this court include retail theft, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, prostitution, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and assaults.
Criminal case backlog
Harris County has a growing criminal case backlog with pending cases that need to be resolved efficiently. This requires we have a Judge who will work hard every day to resolve cases faster and to help parties who want to go to trial.
For these low-level offenses, it is important to encourage parties to resolve their case in such a way that helps to reduce reliance on incarceration and provide rehabilitation for the accused to reduce the risk of re-offending.
Public Safety & Fairness
I will work to protect the constitutional rights of the accused and ensure public safety for the community. Balancing public safety with fairness is necessary, and it requires a Judge who is ready and willing to get to work.