Elsa Acala

Board Member

In a three-decade career from 1989 to 2020 in the field of criminal law in the state courts of Texas, Elsa Alcala is a jack of all trades with experience as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, justice-reform lobbyist, trial judge, intermediate appellate justice, and a supreme-court-level judge at the Court of Criminal Appeals. After a near decade at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting everything from traffic tickets to three people for the death penalty, her career transitions to the judiciary. Governor of Texas George W. Bush appoints her to be judge of the 338th District Court in Harris County, and then Governor of Texas Rick Perry elevates her to the state appellate courts. Perry appoints her to be a justice on the First Court of Appeals, which has general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, where she serves for over nine years. Perry then elevates her to the Court of Criminal Appeals, the criminal supreme court of Texas where she serves for over seven years. In 2018, Alcala retires from a 20-year judicial career.

After leaving the robe behind, she focuses on justice reform advocacy as a lobbyist during the 2019 Texas legislative session, and she becomes a board member for a couple of nonprofit organizations, the Innocence Project of Texas, and the Anthony Graves Foundation. Alcala is also a self-employed attorney consulting in complex criminal cases. Her true passion, however, is writing and speaking about past legal experiences in the law that convinced her to pursue justice reform.

With three children now attending universities, Alcala is an empty nester spending time traveling the world, including recent solo trips to Africa, Austria, Egypt, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Poland, and Switzerland. When at home, however, she enjoys a Colorado lifestyle of hiking, biking, walking dogs, and writing in the lovely foothills of the Rocky Mountains.