Judge Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt was elected to the 449th Judicial Court in Hidalgo County in 2017 and was the youngest District Judge in Texas at the time. She presides over juvenile cases, providing youth with an opportunity for rehabilitation while simultaneously ensuring the public’s safety. Her court has made significant progress in developing and implementing initiatives designed to improve the interactions between the justice system and juvenile cases.
A native of Edinburg, Texas, Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas Pan-American. She is a 2005 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt is a recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award for her significant achievement in her career and service to the University of Texas.
Before becoming a judge, Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt was in private practice for ten years handling federal and state criminal cases, family law, and personal injury cases. She also served as legal counsel for several local school districts. Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Texas Bar Foundation, State Bar of Texas Juvenile Law Section, and the Hidalgo County Bar Association.
Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt has continuously been a strong advocate for youth and mental health. She led the advocacy to the approval of the Hidalgo County LIFELINES Girls Juvenile Mental Health Specialty Court and the approval of the Hidalgo County Juvenile Drug Specialty Court. She serves on multiple committees and task forces that focus on dual-status youth, rehabilitation, mental health, and child sex-trafficking issues. Within this last year, Judge Betancourt was appointed to the Judicial Commission on Mental Health by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute Board of Directors.
Judge Rodriguez-Betancourt has received the Boys & Girls Club Child & Adolescent Mental Health Advocate Award for her hard work and advocacy in youth mental health. She is also the recipient of the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber's Women of Distinction Rising Award and the National Association of Social Workers - Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley Branch's Public Elected Official of the Year award.