Dallas DA Office Hires First Hispanic to Lead Division

Judge will oversee Civil Division

By Andres Gutierrez
|  Monday, Sep 17, 2012  |  Updated 7:12 PM CDT
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Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson is getting ready to take on a new role as chief attorney for the civil division at the Dallas District Attorney's office. She'll be the first Hispanic to lead a division in the DA's office.

Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News

Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson is getting ready to take on a new role as chief attorney for the civil division at the Dallas District Attorney's office. She'll be the first Hispanic to lead a division in the DA's office.

A judge hired to lead the Civil Division will be the first Hispanic to lead a division in the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

Judge Teresa Guerra Snelson is getting ready for her role as chief attorney of the Civil Division. Snelson will oversee all of the litigation that deals with Dallas County on both the plaintiff and defense sides.

She said she is looking forward to her new role, which begins mid-October.

"We're going to work hard," she said. "We're going to get good results. We're always going to have an eye toward justice."

As a child, the Elizabeth Davenport character in the NBC television drama "The Rockford Files" sparked the judge's interest in law.

"I think she just sparked in me an interest, because I didn't have the role models," Snelson said.

Snelson said her family struggled to make ends meet when she was growing up, and attending college was not part of her parent's plans.

"I was never asked when I was going to graduate," she said. "I was certainly asked when I was going to procreate."

With the help of grants and scholarships at the University of Houston, Snelson became the first in her family to attend college and enroll in law school.

Snelson has decades of court experience.

She sat on the bench for eight years as an associate judge with the Dallas County Civil District Courts, worked for the Texas Office of the Attorney General and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Snelson also served as president of the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association.

"You don't have get to tell me that it's too hard to go to school and work -- I did all of those things and here I am today," she said.

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