Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award

In 1987, the Texas Bar Foundation created the Outstanding Jurist Award to honor an active Federal or State Judge. In 1995, the Foundation received a bequest to the endowment from the estate of Mrs. Samuel Pessarra in honor of her late husband for the purpose of funding the Outstanding Jurist Award. The award was renamed the Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award in 1995.

Samuel Pessarra, a native of Quintana, attended Baylor University and Baylor University School of Law. Mr. Pessarra was a member of the Brazoria County Bar Association, where he served as president, director and secretary.


Nominees must currently be serving as an active Federal or State Judge. Retired judges or judges of senior status are eligible if they continue to be active on the bench. The nominee must have served on the bench for a minimum of 10 years and exhibit an exceptionally outstanding reputation for competency, efficiency and integrity. The nominee may not be opposed while standing for election or re-election during the year in which the award is given.

Recipients of the Samuel Pessarra Outstanding Jurist Award

1987 Judge Solomon Casseb, Jr., San Antonio

1988 Judge Frank G. Evans III, Houston
Judge Charles J. Murray, Fort Worth

1989 Judge Peter S. Solito, Houston
Judge Halbert O. Woodward, Lubbock

1990 Judge Roland C. Vaughan, Sherman

1991 Judge Thomas M. Reavley, Austin

1992 Judge B.B. Schraub, Seguin

1993 Judge R.W. Lawrence, Palestine
Judge Filemon B. Vela, Brownsville

1994 Judge Weldon Kirk, Sweetwater
Judge Austin McCloud, Eastland

1995 Judge Eric Andell, Houston
Judge Tom McDonald, Bryan

1996 Judge Charles Reynolds, Amarillo

1997 Judge I. Allan Lerner, Galveston

1998 Judge Eldon B. Mahon, Fort Worth

1999 Chief Justice William J. Cornelius, Texarkana

2000 Judge John T. Forbis

2001 Judge Guadalupe Rivera, San Antonio

2002 Judge Merrill Hartman, Dallas

2003 Chief Justice John T. Boyd, Amarillo

2004 Judge George P. Kazen, Laredo

2005 Justice Ann C. McClure, El Paso

2006 Judge Mary Lou Robinson, Amarillo

2007 Judge David Peeples, San Antonio

2008 Judge Jane J. Boyle, Dallas

2009 Judge Wilford Flowers, Austin

2010 Judge Keith P. Ellison, Houston

2011 Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr., Houston

2012 Judge Lee Yeakel, Austin

2013 Justice Tracy Christopher, Houston

2014 Judge Dean Rucker, Midland

2015 Justice Anne Gardner, Fort Worth

2016 Judge Andrew S. Hanen, Brownsville

2017 Justice Elizabeth Lang Miers, Dallas

2018 Justice Phil Johnson, Austin

2019 Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn, Dallas

2020 Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion, Fourth Court of Appeals, San Antonio

2021 Judge Xavier Rodriguez, San Antonio

2022 Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Austin

2023 Judge Simeon T. Lake III, Houston