Tom Greenwell

Last updated
Thomas Frederick "Tom" Greenwell
Judge of the 319th Judicial District of Texas
In office
January 1, 2003 July 15, 2013
Succeeded byJack Hunter (interim)
Personal details
BornAugust 6, 1956
Huntington, West Virginia
DiedJuly 15, 2013 (aged 57)
Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas
Cause of deathSuicide by firearm
Political party Republican
ResidenceCorpus Christi, Texas
Alma mater George Washington University
University of Texas School of Law
Occupation Attorney
Greenwell was the first Republican to serve as a judge on the 319th District Court.

Thomas Frederick "Tom" Greenwell (1956 - July 15, 2013) was a judge of the Texas 319th District Court based in Corpus Christi in Nueces County, Texas. The first Republican to serve on the 319th court, Greenwell was first elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006 and 2010.

Corpus Christi, Texas City in Texas, United States

Corpus Christi, colloquially Corpus, is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. It is 130 miles southeast of San Antonio. Its political boundaries encompass Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. Its zoned boundaries include small land parcels or water inlets of three neighboring counties.

Nueces County, Texas U.S. county in Texas

Nueces County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 340,223. The county seat is Corpus Christi. The county was formed in 1846 from portions of San Patricio County and organized the following year. It is named for the Nueces River, which flows through the county.

Texas U.S. state in the United States

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.


In 1981, Greenwell graduated from the University of Texas School of Law. In 1978, he received his Bachelor of Arts with concentration in political science and journalism from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.. In 1981, he was appointed a staff attorney on the Texas 13th Court of Appeals. He was chief of the legal staff on that court from 1991 to 1996. From 1997 until 2002, he was in private practice. For two years Greenwell served as the presiding administrative district judge of Nueces County. [1] He also presided over the newly established Nueces County Veterans Court, which uses a collaborative approach among the courts, probation and corrections, and law enforcement agencies. It assists with cases of substance abuse, post traumatic stress, and anger. [2]

The University of Texas School of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of the University of Texas at Austin. Texas Law is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the United States and admits roughly 20% of its applicants. It is one of the top five public law schools in the United States. In 2018 the law school was ranked No. 15 by the U.S. News & World Report, and No. 12 by Above the Law The school is also ranked No. 1 for the biggest return on investment among all law schools in the United States.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

George Washington University university in Washington, D.C.

The George Washington University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. It was chartered in 1821 by an act of the United States Congress.

Greenwell ran unsuccessfully in the general election held on November 6, 2012, for the position of judge of the Texas 13th District Court of Appeals for a term that would have expired in 2018. He was defeated by the Democrat Nora Longoria, 262,235 (59.5 percent) to 178,554 (40.5 percent). [3] He had planned to seek another term on the state district court in the Republican primary scheduled for March 4, 2014. His friend and campaign manager Al Hinojosa described Greenwell as "caring" and "very steady" and expressed surprise at his sudden death. [4]

During general election all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.

Democratic Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Primary elections or often just primaries, are the process by which voters can indicate their preference for their party's candidate, or a candidate in general, in an upcoming general election, local election, or by-election, with the goal of narrowing the field of candidates. Depending on the country and administrative divisions within the country, voters might consist of the general public in what is called an open primary, or the members of a political party in what is called a closed primary. In addition to these, there are other variants on primaries that are used by many countries holding elections throughout the world.

Suicide and aftermath

Greenwell was found in his chambers dead from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. A handwritten will was found near the body. According to Nueces County Sheriff Jim Kaelin, the judge faced financial ruin. He had exhausted spending caps on five credit cards and owed the repayment of loans. Kaelin said that Greenwell earned at least $140,000 annually but did not apparently live extravagantly. Investigators are looking into possible blackmail or extortion attempts against the judge. [5]

Blackmail is an act of coercion using the threat of revealing or publicizing either substantially true or false information about a person or people unless certain demands are met. It is often damaging information, and may be revealed to family members or associates rather than to the general public. It may involve using threats of physical, mental or emotional harm, or of criminal prosecution, against the victim or someone close to the victim. It is normally carried out for personal gain, most commonly of position, money, or property.

Extortion Criminal offense

Extortion is obtaining benefit through coercion. In most jurisdictions it is likely to constitute a criminal offense, the bulk of this article deals with such cases.

A memorial service was to be held on July 25, 2013 at the First United Methodist Church in Corpus Christi. [6]

Greenwell had a surviving brother. He left his estate to Albert Fuentes (born c. 1977), one of the persons of interest in Greenwell's death. Fuentes has in the past had scrapes with the law, and Greenwell had been trying to help him for at least six years. Fuentes moved rent-free into a house that the judge owned in Sun Valley Estates and was allowed to drive Greenwell's vehicle. [7] [8]

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  1. "Tom Greenwell". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  2. "Texas Veterans Court Judge Tom Greenwell Found Shot In Chambers, July 16, 2013". Archived from the original on July 25, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  3. "General election returns, November 6, 2012". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  4. "Texas Judge Shot: Tom Greenwell Found Dead In Chambers From Gunshot Wound, July 16, 2013". Huffington Post . July 16, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  5. "Investigators baffled by debts accrued by state District Judge Tom Greenwell before suicide, July 20, 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  6. "A Memorial for Judge Tom Greenwell is Set for Thursday, July 21, 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  7. "Judge Greenwell Leaves Everything to One Man, July 18, 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  8. "Two Persons Of Interest In Judge's Suicide, July 17, 2013". Retrieved July 24, 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by
Judge of the 319th Judicial District of Texas

Thomas Frederick "Tom" Greenwell

Succeeded by
Jack Hunter (interim)