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Pioneering Houston judge steps down after 45 years on the bench

Judge Armando Rodriguez was the first Hispanic judge in Houston and Harris County.

After more than four decades on the bench, Judge Armando Rodriguez has retired as Justice of the Peace for Harris County in Precinct 6. He leaves a legacy as a pioneer in the Hispanic community.

“You're looking at the robe that I have worn for 45 years as a Justice of the Peace," says Rodriguez.

At the age of 78, Judge Rodriguez decided to step down. But his desire to help the community is still going strong.

"Frankly, I got that from my parents,” he said.

They inspired him to become a lawyer, and to eventually become the first full-time Hispanic judge in Houston and later, Harris County.

"It was very significant that you have someone that not only spoke both languages, but understood the significance of each culture,” Rodriguez said.

He said things used to be quite different for Hispanics in Houston.

"At that time, there was a very negative connotation for the Hispanics. As a matter of fact, it was believed that if you were Hispanic or of Mexican descent you were a second-class citizen," the judge said.

So, to help create a better understanding and appreciation of Hispanic culture he started the Houston’s Fiestas Patrias Parade, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Judge Rodriguez says it’s been an honor to serve.

He’s been replaced by his daughter Angela Rodriguez, who was appointed to serve the remainder of his term and is running for the seat unopposed in November.

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