Hon. Tamara Needles, Austin
Judge Tamara Needles received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University and started her first career as a tenth-grade English teacher. Upon returning to pursue her higher education goals, she obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence from Texas Tech University. Before running for office, Judge Needles spent 20 years as a criminal defense attorney serving indigent defendants and those with mental health diagnosis. Judge Needles was first
elected as the Judge of the 427th District Court of Travis County in 2016 and was re-elected to that bench again in 2020. Judge Needles continues to serve those with mental health and substance use disorders as Chair of the Behavioral Health Criminal Justice Advisory Committee of Travis County, the presiding judge of the SMART rehabilitation re-entry docket and on the Austin State Hospital Re-design Steering Committee.