My name is Natalia Cornelio. My community knows me by “Nata.” I live in Houston’s East End with my husband (Daniel) and our dog (Biggie Smalls).
I am a proud, bilingual and Mexican-American District Court Judge with 17 years of legal experience. I became a lawyer to make a difference, and to help ensure that all of our communities have equal access to and protection of our laws.
As a Federal Public Defender in Houston, I represented hundreds of clients who were charged with crimes at every phase of their trial proceedings. I saw first-hand that our lower income communities and our communities of color are disproportionately impacted by our justice system and regularly represented Spanish-speaking clients who otherwise would not have had an attorney who spoke their language. Through this experience, I learned about the immigration consequences that impact many who are touched by our criminal justice system.
As a civil rights attorney, I represented the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under former president Trump’s zero-tolerance family separation policy.
Now, as Judge of the 351st District Court, I have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that all individuals receive equal protection under the law, due process and the opportunity to be heard.
J.D. at University of Chicago Law School
B.A. at New York University
Why I’m Running for Re-Election
I'm running for re-election because I'm committed to building on the work we’ve done and continuing to promote a community-centered culture in and out of the courtroom.
As Judge of the 351st District Court, I have been committed to doing the right thing under the law. I have stayed true to my campaign promises of working hard, reducing reliance on incarceration, implementing pretrial justice, and improving court processes.
Using my judicial experience, legal expertise, and public service involvement, I deliver thoughtful and well-reasoned rulings and make decisions that take into account both sides and promote confidence in the integrity of the court.
Since taking the bench on January 1, 2021, I have…
Exemplary Judicial Performance
Worked hard and successfully addressed the backlog of cases during and after COVID
Resolved over 7,000 felony cases, including 35 jury trials for murder, sexual violence against children, domestic violence, and other violence offenses, as of June 30, 2023
Delivered a restorative approach whenever possible
Assisted with Presiding over Mental Health/Competency restarting docket
Due Process and Equal Justice
Ensured that all indigent defendants receive competent counsel
Ensured that all parties have the right to be heard
Educating and Supporting our Youth
Hosted law student groups from diverse backgrounds to teach them about how the court works
Organized an annual mock trial invitational where local high school students spend the day being coached by local attorneys on how to be a trial lawyer
Hosted diverse student interns
Spoken with student groups in law schools, colleges, high schools (including two high school commencement addresses!), and elementary schools about our courts and my work
Made court proceedings accessible for the public via Zoom
Founded and chair the Harris County Criminal District Court Community Engagement Committee
Hosted community discussions inside and outside the courtroom with local groups to educate regarding our courts
2024 Endorsements & Community Support
Harris County Commissioner for Precinct One
We need champions for equal justice like Nata on the bench. Proud to support her re-election campaign.
Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 4
TX District 137
TX District 145
TX District 27
TX District 135
TX District 140
Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 2