Chris Morales was elected as Judge of County Court at Law No. 1 in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. As Judge of County Court at Law No. 1, he manages a multitude of cases that impacts the daily life of every citizen in Fort Bend County. Judge Morales oversees such matters as probate & guardianship cases, juvenile cases, civil litigation cases, condemnation proceedings, civil mental health commitments, and criminal misdemeanor cases. Most importantly, Judge Morales also oversees Fort Bend County’s only Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, a program designed to reduce recidivism rates and county born costs among criminal defendants with mental illness.
In 2017, he was selected by his peers to serve a two-year term as Administrative Judge for all County Courts at Law. At the time, he was the youngest Administrative Judge in the history of Fort Bend County. During his term, he guided the Courts through complex operational and legal issues. His guidance ensured that the County Courts at Law were able to conform to changing laws and become one of the most technologically advance courtrooms in the State.
Throughout his time on the bench Judge Morales has been a staunch advocate and firm believer in upholding the letter of the law and the Constitution. As a fiscal conservative, Judge Morales has also led the way on implementing and utilizing new technologies in the courtroom that not only reduce costs, but also ensures the courts evolve with societal and technological changes. Among many other accomplishments, Judge Morales has worked hard to reduce backlogs and wait times for hearings, introduced multiple continuing education events for lawyers, and worked closely with the Juvenile Probation Department for the youth of this County.
Judge Morales is a lifelong resident of Fort Bend County and graduate of B.F. Terry High School in Rosenberg. His grandfather, Doc Klingle, graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in 1954 and his mother, Regina Klingle Morales, was born at Polly Ryan Hospital (now Oak Bend Medical Center). His father, Vincent Morales Jr. is the current Fort Bend County Precinct 1 Commissioner.
Judge Morales graduated from Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design with an emphasis on Real Estate Development. He earned his Juris Doctorate (Law Degree) from South Texas College of Law, one of the top trial advocacy schools in the nation according to U.S. News and World Reports. He is married to his high school sweetheart and fellow Texas A&M graduate, Vanessa Morales. Vanessa is a CPA with Cloud, Syzdek & Co, P.C. Judge Morales and Vanessa have been members at River Pointe Church in Richmond for over 10 years and have two children.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Morales practiced in both the public and private sectors. He was an Assistant District Attorney with the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, a litigator with Roberts Markel Weinberg, PC and owned his own boutique law firm, The Morales Law Firm, PLLC.
Throughout the years, Judge Morales has always taken special pride in generously giving back to his community. Growing up in Fort Bend County, his parents instilled in him the virtue of community service, and encouraged him to volunteer his time. In the past, Judge Morales has chaired the local young professional’s organization at the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, and volunteered with the Lamar Education Awards Foundation, Constellation Foundation, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, CASA, and many other local non-profits. Every year since elected Judge Morales has served as the emcee for the Fort Bend County Juvenile Probation Department GED Graduation. Supporting the youth of Fort Bend County has always been at the forefront for Judge Morales. In 2021, Judge Morales became an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, teaching trial advocacy. Judge Morales has always had a passion for teaching lawyers and through the trial advocacy program at the University of Houston, he has found a new way to give back to the next generation of lawyers. Judge Morales also serves as a board member on the Fort Bend County Council of Judges, Fort Bend County Juvenile Board, Fort Bend County Law Library Board, Fort Bend County Mental Health Advisory Board and the Fort Bend County Courts at Law Board. During his spare time, Judge Morales can be found coaching his son’s baseball team and spending time with his family.
PROFESSIONAL LICENSES & MEMBERSHIPS
College of State Bar of Texas
2008 – Present
Fellow Level Member (10 Years of Membership)
Juvenile Law Section of the State Bar of Texas
2012 – Present
Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas
2010 – Present
Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas
2015 – Present
Fort Bend County Bar Association
2015 – Present
United States District Court Southern District of Texas
2009 – 2014
Admission No. 993115
Fort Bend County Criminal Defense Attorneys Association
2009 – 2014
Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
2010 – 2014
Texas Young Lawyers’ Association
2007 – 2013
Texas District & County Attorney’s Association
2007 – 2009
State Bar of Texas, Judicial Section, Civil Justice Sub-Committee
2021 – Present
11th Judicial Region Budget Committee
2019 – Present
Fort Bend County Council of Judges
2015 – Present
Fort Bend County Courts at Law Board
2015 – Present
Board Member and Former Administrative Judge
Fort Bend County Juvenile Board
2015 – Present
Fort Bend County Law Library Board
2015 – Present
Fort Bend County Mental Health Advisory Board
2015 – 2020
Non-Voting Board Member
Fort Bend County Criminal Justice Mental Health Task Force
2017 – 2020
Contributor, Member and Speaker
Fort Bend County Truancy Committee
Appointed Committee Member
Fort Bend County Bail Bond Board
Fort Bend County Chamber of Commerce
2012 – 2019
Board Member & Vice Chair of Young Professionals Division
Central Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce
2011 – 2019
Vice Chair of Young Professionals Division
PRESENTATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL LECTURES
Speaker, “Litigation Do’s and Don’ts,” University of Houston Law Center Criminal Law Association, April 21, 2021
Speaker / Panelist, “The Judiciary Talks,” Houston Young Lawyers Association, April 6, 2021
Keynote Speaker, “Practicing Probate in County Court at Law No. 1,” County Court at Law No. 1 CLE Requirement, March 11, 2021
Introductory Speaker, “2021 Criminal Justice Mental Health Seminar, Working Together to Break the Cycle of Incarceration for Persons with Mental Health Illness,” Fort Bend County Behavioral Health Services, March 5, 2021
Speaker, “Mental Health Commitment Ad Litem Seminar,” County Court at Law No. 1 requirement, January 6, 2020.
Keynote Speaker, “Coffee with the Court: 2019 Policy & Procedure Update,” Fort Bend Bar Association CLE, December 12, 2019.
Speaker / Panelist, “Houston Bar Association’s Probate, Trust & Estates Section Judges Panel,” Houston Bar Association, April 30, 2019.
Keynote Speaker, “Practicing Probate in County Court at Law No. 1 & 2,” Fort Bend Bar Association CLE, February 24, 2020, February 18, 2019, February 19, 2018, February 20, 2017.
Keynote Speaker, “Coffee with the Court: A Roundtable Discussion with County Court at Law No. 1,” Fort Bend Bar Association CLE, September 17, 2018.
Commencement Speaker, “Fort Bend County Juvenile Probation Department GED Graduation Ceremony,” June 12, 2018, June 12, 2018, June 19, 2017 and June 20, 2016.
Co-Presenter / Speaker, “Fort Bend County Court System,” Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Meeting, May 10, 2017.
Keynote Speaker, “Practicing Probate in County Court at Law No. 1,” Disability & Elder Law Attorneys Association Monthly Meeting, March 3, 2017.
Keynote Speaker, “Coffee with the Court: Practicing in County Court at Law No. 1” Fort Bend Bar Association CLE, August 15, 2016.
Co-Presenter / Speaker, “Fort Bend County Mental Health Seminar,” Fort Bend Behavioral Health Services, May 13, 2016.
Co-Presenter / Speaker, “Juvenile Law: A View from the Bench,” Fort Bend County Criminal Attorneys Association CLE, April 8, 2016.
Keynote Speaker, “Ad Litems: Practicing in County Court at Law No. 1,” Fort Bend Bar Association CLE, April 1, 2016.
Speaker / Panelist, “Now What? Dealing with the Financial Aftermath of Law School,” Texas Young Lawyers Association, October 7, 2014
Co-Presenter / Speaker, “Second Chance Seminar: Expunctions, Juvenile Sealing and Non-Disclosures,” Fort Bend County Criminal Attorneys Association CLE, 2013.
HONORS AND AWARDS
United States Army Special Recognition
Recognized as a Judge for Assisting the Army in the Enlistment Process for Local Youth
Texas A&M University 12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight
Runner Up/Honorable Mention to the Top 12
Fort Bend’s Top 40 Under 40
Fort Bend County Business Journal
Little League Baseball Coach
2016 – 2021
Lamar Little League
Leadership High School, LCISD
Guest Speaker & Mentor, Richmond, Texas
Lamar Education Awards Foundation
2013 – 2019
Men Who Cook, Richmond, Texas,
Casa de Esperanza de los Niño’s
Bubbles & Bauble, Sugar Land, Texas
Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce
Leadership Forum Alumni, Sugar Land, Texas
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Transportation Committee and Art Auction Committee, Houston, Texas