Gov. Abbott appoints state judge to fill 13th Court of Appeals vacancy

Updated at 6:30 p.m.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday appointed current state District Judge Jaime Tijerina to the 13th Court of Appeals, according to a news release.

On Friday, Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado, recently convicted by a federal jury of bribery and obstruction of justice charges during a four-day trial, submitted a letter of resignation for the Place 4 seat on the 13th Court of Appeals.

Tijerina, who is currently the state judge for the 464th state court, said in a phone call with The Monitor that he was thrilled and excited by the appointment.

“…Of course, humbled, and grateful to the governor for trusting me with such an important position — but yeah I’m excited,” Tijerina said.

Asked when he would take the bench for the 13th Court of Appeals, he said he has some matters to take care of in the 464th court before he transitions into his new job, but anticipates he will be sworn in sometime in late August.

The recent conviction, and Delgado’s resignation from the bench Friday, put Tijerina in a familiar position.

In April 2018, Delgado resigned from presiding over the 93rd state District Court during the middle of his fourth term, following a separate suspension from the commission related to the federal indictment. He indicated the departure was “in the public’s best interest,” not an admission of guilt to federal charges.

As a result, Abbott in June 2018 appointed Tijerina as 93rd state District Court judge to fill the vacancy left by Delgado’s resignation.

“I’m not concerned with what happened in the past,” Tijerina said when asked about taking on the appellate court post on the heels of Delgado’s resignation and highly publicized federal trial.

Tijerina is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the College of the State Bar, fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Texas Prosecutor’s Society, and a former member and director of the Texas District & County Attorneys Association.

The current state judge is also a board member of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Alumni Advisory Board and a former member of the Food Bank RGV Board of Directors.

Tijerina received a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Texas-Pan American (now UTRGV) and a Juris Doctor degree from the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshal School of Law.

Tijerina’s appointment runs through Dec. 31, 2020, the release read.

“The fact is there’s a vacancy, and the governor has asked me to fill that vacancy and I’m going to do the best job I can for the district, the state and for the people of the (Rio Grande) Valley, Corpus, and the Coastal Bend,” Tijerina said.

Currently, the 13th Court of Appeals is headed by Chief Justice Dori Contreras and justices Nora Longoria, Gina Benavidez, Leticia Hinojosa and Greg T. Perkes.