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Marc C. Carter

  • Trial Attorney at Schaffer Carter & Associates






Judge Marc Carter (Ret.) presided over the 228th District Court in Harris County Texas from December 2003-January 2019. He resolved thousands of cases through trials, hearings and pleas.  Prior to his appointment to the bench by Governor Rick Perry in 2003, Judge Carter was a law clerk for the Honorable Kenneth M. Hoyt, United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  He also served as a trial lawyer with the Harris County District Attorney's Office and later as a criminal defense attorney.

Judge Carter received his undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from The Thurgood Marshall School of Law.   In 1981 he was commission in the United States Army as a lieutenant in the Army Intelligence Corps. He achieved the rank of captain while serving in Germany supervising 250 soldiers that collected theater level intelligence in support of combat units in Western Europe.

Judge Carter's signature achievement as judge was the creation of the first Veterans Treatment Court program in Texas.  His treatment court collaborated with the DeBakey Veteran's Medical Center to provide clients with treatment for mental health disorders and addictions. His court received national recognition and was featured on CBS "60 Minutes" and PBS "Need to Know."

Judge Carter has received several national, state and local awards for his work with veterans and criminal justice reform.  These awards include; The "William Rehnquist Award 2016" for judicial excellence presented to him by Chief Justice John Roberts and The Nation Center for State Courts;  The "Ima Hogg Award 2016"  presented by Mental Health America for his work with persons affected by mental illness; The "Praxis Award" presented by Villanova University 2013 for professional ethics; The "Johnny Klevenhagen Award 2014" presented by Crime Stoppers Houston for innovation and criminal justice reform;  The State Bar of Texas "Pro Bono Award 2016" which recognized his commitment to legal services for the poor;  The State Bar of Texas African American Lawyers Section "Distinguish Jurist Award" 2017;  and The NAACP "Jesse Brown Distinguished Leadership Award" for criminal justice reform.

Prior to Judge Carter's appointment to the bench in 2003, Judge Carter had an extensive trial and appellate practice. As a prosecutor and defense lawyer Judge Carter tried over 75 trials in state and federal courts.  As a felony prosecutor he never lost a trial.  As a defense lawyer his most celebrated victory was an acquittal in United States v. Sergiy Lyubikovsky, a Ukrainian sailor accused of transporting twelve tons of cocaine on a ship seized in the Port of Galveston.  While a defense lawyer, he also represented clients on appeal arguing cases at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  He has handled complex litigation at all levels to include capital murder cases in trial, appeal and in federal writs.

Areas Of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Rights
  • Military

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1993
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1997


  • Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston, Texas
    • J.D.
  • University of Texas at Austin
    • B.A. - 1981
    • Major: Government


  • Key Note Speaker at the United States Supreme Court Law Clerk Luncheon, General Counsel to the United States Supreme Court, 2016
  • Key Note Speaker at the National Center for State Courts Annual Dinner, National Center for State Courts, Washington D.C., 2016
  • Keynote Speaker at the NAACP National Convention, NAACP Military Veterans, 2018
  • Veterans Treatment Courts, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, 2018

Honors and Awards

  • The Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, NCSC, 2016
  • The Jesse Brown Distinguished Leadership Award , NAACP, 2018
  • Distinguished Jurist Award, State Bar Texas African American Lawyer Section, 2016
  • State Bar Pro Bono Award, State Bar of Texas, 2016
  • Ima Hogg Award, Mental Health America, 2016
  • Johnny Klevenhagen Award, Crime Stoppers, 2014
  • The Praxis Award, Villanova University, 2013

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Texas Bar Foundation, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association , Member
  • National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Board Member (nominee) June 2019

Past Employment Positions

  • 228th Criminal District Court, Judge, 2003 to 2018
  • Marc Carter Attorney at Law, Trail Lawyer, 1996 to 2003
  • Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Trial Lawyer, 1994 to 1996
  • United States District Court Southern District of Texas, Law Clerk for the Hon. Michael M. Hoyt, United States District Court Judge , 1993 to 1994
  • United States Army, Captain, 1981 to 1988

Pro Bono Activities

  • Started the first Veteran Treatment Court in Texas, 2009 to 2018
  • Texas Bar Foundation


  • English
  • Spanish
  • German


  • Kappa Beta Phi

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