The Honorable Judge Tamara Needles has presided as judge of the 427th court, where she has served the people of Travis County since 2016, bringing her campaign vision of respect, efficiency, and fairness to all participants to her courtroom during her time as Judge.
After her election in 2016, Judge Needles has exemplified what bringing humanity and compassion to the courtroom has looked like, through her leadership with behavioral health initiatives, including serving as chair of the Behavioral Health Criminal Justice Advisory Committee. Under her leadership, the committee has brought together the local and county government and community organizations to discover and implement new ways to solve behavioral health issues amongst the public. As chairwoman, Judge Needles is currently working to develop a mental health diversion program, which would divert low level, non-violent offenders with mental health issues to a hospital diversion center in lieu of jail. Staying true to her campaign promises, Judge Needles also manages the Travis County Supervision and Monitoring for Alcohol-Related Treatment (SMART) Re-Entry docket, which uses the court as a motivational tool to help the individual needs of people in the program to improve their lives as community members.
Judge Needles has used a humanity-first approach inside her courtroom, working hard to improve the lives of community members, rather than focusing on the number of cases she's tried. Using this approach, along with an emphasis on efficiency, Judge Needles has changed the lives of people who come through the courtroom, directing them to resources to help improve their lives which, in turn, improves our community.
Prior to her election, Judge Needles worked in criminal law for nearly two decades, representing thousands of criminal matters ranging from traffic citations to Capital Murder and many resulting in felony jury trials. But it is her experience on the bench is what has driven her to run for re-election to the 42th District Court, so she can continue to treat the people of Travis County with fairness and compassion.