J.D., summa cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, 1984
Bachelor of Arts, with distinction, Stanford University, 1966
2001 Appointed to Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
2002, 2008 Elected to six-year terms
2012-2013 Exemplary Judicial Faculty Award, Texas Center for the Judiciary
2006 Jurist of the Year, Criminal Justice Section, Texas State Bar
General Editor of the 2nd edition of the Texas Rules of Evidence Handbook (1993); author and editor of the 3rd – 7th editions (1998-2007)
Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Editor-in-Chief, Houston Law Review
Professor of the Year, 1990, 1993, UH Order of the Barons; 1993, UH Student Bar Association
Cathy Cochran has both prosecuted and defended people charged with crimes. And she has filed lawsuits on behalf of civil plaintiffs and defended businesses and ordinary citizens being sued. In other words, she’s seen all sides of all manner of legal arguments, and she knows how to win. Cathy loves to have a reasoned debate, applying the law. And this is why, as a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals where she served for 14 years, she is regarded as one of the most influential and consequential judges. She has a level of experience and legal insight that can serve any client in any circumstance.
Cathy’s first job was in the Harris County District Attorney’s office, trying felonies and misdemeanors before juries. She then discovered a great love for arguing the finer points of a case on paper, handling appeals. She wrote more than 200 felony appellate briefs, including a friend of the court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. She loves to debate important ideas when it comes to justice.
Cathy has represented some of the highest-profile names in Texas judicial history. While in the DA’s office, she directed the state’s response to the appeal filed by convicted murderer Karla Faye Tucker. She later joined Rusty Hardin & Associates when Rusty launched his own firm, and there she served on the successful defense team that won an acquittal for Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, who was charged with domestic violence.
While working as an attorney, she continued to learn and to teach others. As an adjunct and visiting professor over the years at her alma mater, University of Houston Law Center, she was repeatedly voted Professor of the Year. After serving on a criminal justice task force for Gov. George W. Bush, she was asked to join his criminal justice policy team. Later, he appointed her to the Board of Directors of the Texas Youth Commission, which operated juvenile corrections facilities.
She returned to Rusty Hardin & Associates after her stint with Gov. Bush, but it didn’t last long. Gov. Rick Perry appointed her to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2001. Then she was elected to a six-year term the following year, and again in 2008. Having finished her second term, Cathy is happy to again be meeting with individual clients, learning their stories and representing them to the best of her very significant abilities.
Rusty Hardin's Comments About Cathy
Cathy is such an exceptional lawyer that I hired her three times, four if you count the prosecutor’s office. The last time she left our practice was to serve on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals where she proved herself to be one of Texas’ most influential and reform-minded judges. Through her powerful skills of persuasion and insightful legal opinions, she helped bring about historic changes in Texas criminal justice, making our system a fairer one.
Cathy’s work ethic and commitment to justice were apparent the first time I met her 30 years ago. I was an assistant district attorney and on the hiring committee of the Harris County D.A.’s office. Cathy was fresh out of the University of Houston Law Center, editor-in-chief of the Houston Law Review. It was flattering that she wanted to work for us. We didn’t get many editor-candidates. She quickly mastered trial work and moved into appeals work where she always wanted the debate to be about the ideas. Cathy is simply a terrific lawyer and legal thinker. We could not be happier that she has come home to Rusty Hardin & Associates once again.