Court of Criminal Appeals
In May 2011, Judge Elsa Alcala was appointed to the Court of Criminal Appeals by Governor Rick Perry and unanimously confirmed by the Texas Senate. Prior to becoming a judge on the Court of Criminal Appeals, she served for nine years as a justice on the First Court of Appeals, an intermediate court of appeals in Texas with jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters. Prior to serving on the appellate courts, Judge Alcala presided over trials as a state district court judge for over three years. During her tenure on the 338th District Court, she presided over hundreds of felony criminal offenses, ranging from property offenses to violent crimes. Before becoming a judge, Judge Alcala was an assistant district attorney for nine years, serving under District Attorney Johnny Holmes at the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Judge Alcala is double board certified in criminal law and in criminal appellate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Judge Alcala has a JD from the University of Texas, where she received the honor of Order of Barristers. Before becoming a Longhorn, she was a Javelina, receiving a BA degree from Texas A&I University in Kingsville. Judge Alcala is a mother of three teenagers and married to Dan Spjut, Judge of Harris County Criminal Court at Law Number Ten.