About Gemayel Haynes

Gemayel Haynes for Judge

I was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. My mother is a career public servant and has worked in the Physical Therapy Department of the Veterans Administration Medical Center helping military veterans for over 40 years. My father is a retired truck driver for UPS and a proud member of the Teamsters Local 270. My sister is a Licensed Vocational Nurse attending school to be a Registered Nurse. They all still live in New Orleans. My brother is a State Trooper in Lake Charles, LA.

My parents taught me the value of education and hard work. After graduating from St. Augustine High School at age 16, I attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Morehouse, I joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. I graduated from Morehouse with a degree in Mathematics at age 20.

After college, I attended Texas Tech University School of Law on a partial academic scholarship. During my second year of law school, personal tragedy struck my family. Hurricane Katrina devasted New Orleans. We lost everything and my parents were displaced for several months. We relied on the kindness of friends and strangers to get back on our feet. It was one of the most challenging times of my life and the kindness of strangers will never be forgotten. One of my goals in life has been to pay the kindness forward. It is also one of the main reasons I have dedicated so much of my legal career to public service.

Despite the trauma caused by Katrina, I was selected to serve as an Articles Editor for the Texas Administrative Law Journal during my second year, and later was the Executive Articles Editor. I was the first African American to serve on the Executive Board of a law journal at Texas Tech.

After graduating from law school, I became a prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. During my tenure, I worked in the Justice of the Peace, Misdemeanor, Juvenile, and Felony Trial Divisions. I sought justice on every case I touched and served as a voice for victims.

After I left the DA's office, I was in private practice for approximately five years. I represented juvenile and adult clients charged with misdemeanors and felonies. I handled criminal appointments in Harris and the surrounding counties. During this time, I became a board member of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, a position I’ve held since 2014.

I am currently an Assistant Public Defender serving as Senior Litigator and Team Lead in the Felony Trial Division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. I supervise and train my team of eight lawyers, I mentor other lawyers in our division, and I represent indigent clients charged with first- and second-degree felonies. I am in trial, either as first chair on my own clients’ cases or a second chair with younger lawyers, several times a year on everything ranging from state jail felonies to first degree murder and sex cases. I give trainings to criminal lawyers locally and across the state on topics ranging from bail, pretrial investigation, search and seizure, probation issues, trial prep and strategy, and sentencing issues. I have also taken hundreds of hours of classes throughout my career dedicated to criminal law.

I am running for Judge because I want to build trust between the community and the criminal justice system. I want to create a court system where fairness is the court’s priority and all sides have an opportunity to be heard. I want to end the days of courts being just for some instead of being fair and just for all. Every person will be treated like a human being, with respect and dignity. Decisions in criminal courts have human lives and community safety at stake. There is a delicate balance between protecting the community and respecting the rights of those accused. It takes a Criminal District Judge with experience as a criminal lawyer to know and understand that balance. I have dedicated every day of my fourteen-year legal career building that experience.


Houston Association of Women Attorneys
Mexican American Bar Association
Greater Heights Democratic Club
Harris County Young Democrats