Eighth Court of Appeals

Chief Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez 
Photo of Chief Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez

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Justice Yvonne T. Rodriguez was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Eighth Court of Appeals, on January 1, 2021. She is the Court’s 16th Chief Justice and the first Latina Chief Justice in the Court’s 108-year history.

Previously, Chief Justice Rodriguez served as an associate justice for the Eighth Court of Appeals for eight years. During that time, she authored more than 820 opinions. She is currently the Court’s longest-serving justice. Prior to her time on the Eighth Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Rodriguez also served as judge of the El Paso County Probate Court No. 1, and was the first Latina probate judge in the State of Texas.

Prior to taking the bench, Chief Justice Rodriguez spent the majority of her career as an attorney practicing criminal law, family law, child protection law, and mental health law. She ran her own private practice and served as an assistant attorney general for the State of Texas, an assistant district attorney, and an assistant county attorney. She currently serves as the president of the board of directors of Project Amistad, and is a member of the George A. McAlmon American Inn of Court and the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Council of Chief Justices. She has also taught courses at the University of Texas at El Paso, and is a strong supporter of UTEP’s Law School Preparation Institute.

Chief Justice Rodriguez graduated from Mary Hardin-Baylor with a B.A. in psychology and obtained her law degree from Baylor Law School. She was admitted to the State Bar in November 1993. Before deciding to obtain her higher education at age 28, Chief Justice Rodriguez obtained her GED at 19 and worked for nine years as a filing clerk, telephone sales associate, bank teller, credit and collection manager, waitress, and retail sales associate.

Chief Justice Rodriguez was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1958, raised in a military family, and was educated in Texas and Australia, but considers El Paso her true hometown. Her biological daughter graduated from Harvard and teaches high school in the Bronx. Her foster daughter lives in Las Vegas and is pursing her degree in social work.