Staff: Executive Leadership
Associate Presiding Judge
Honorable Esmeralda Pena Garcia
Judge Esmeralda Garcia began her legal career managing her law firm specializing in criminal, juvenile, and family law. She was appointed as a Municipal Judge at the City of Houston in 1987. Since her appointment, she has presided over jury and regular dockets until her appointment by Presiding Judge J. Elaine Marshall as the Court’s Associate Presiding Judge. In this role, she supports the Presiding Judge in all matters related to the Judicial Operations Division, including the supervision of the full-time Municipal Judges. Judge Garcia earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1974, and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center in 1982. Judge Garcia currently serves as First Vice-President of the Texas Municipal Courts Association and faculty member of the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center.
Honorable Meg Oswald
Judge Meg Ahern Oswald is originally from Chicago, Illinois. She attended the University of Illinois, Oklahoma State University, and is a 1990 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Judge Oswald began her career as a Criminal Defense attorney in Duncan, Oklahoma where she also served as the President of the Stephens County Bar Association. She worked as a Prosecutor for the Texas Department of Public Safety before coming to the City of Houston Municipal Courts in 2005. Two years later, she was appointed as a full-time Judge by Mayor Bill White. She presided in Municipal Court No. 11 as a jury court Judge prior to being named Administrative Judge in January 2015. As the Court’s Administrative Judge, she has direct oversight of the Associate Judges, the Adjudication Hearing Officers, staff Court Reporters, and the appeal process for dangerous dog hearings.
Associate Presiding Judge (Evening)
Honorable David O. Fraga
Judge David Fraga began his legal career as a sole practitioner specializing in the areas of juvenile, family and probate law. In 1992, Mayor Bob Lanier appointed him as an Associate Judge for the City of Houston Municipal Courts. He served in this capacity until 2005, when Mayor Bill White appointed him as a Municipal Court Judge. Judge Fraga also serves as the Evening Associate Presiding Judge. Judge Fraga earned his Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 1975 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 1982. As the Evening Associate Presiding Judge, Judge Fraga oversees all evening court operations. He is also assigned to Municipal Court No. 12, where he presides over juvenile dockets, truancy dockets, and arraignment/trial dockets.
Deputy Director / Clerk of the Court
Gregory Prier, MPA
Gregory Prier, M.P.A., began his public service career in 1987 serving as a Deputy Court Clerk for the City of Houston Municipal Courts. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Lamar University in Computer Science with a minor in Business in 1987. Gregory sharpened his knowledge of the Court by working in various divisions throughout the years. In 2000, he graduated from Texas Southern University with a Master of Public Administration degree with a specialization in Finance. Gregory was promoted to Assistant Director/Assistant Chief Clerk of the Municipal Courts’ Court Operations Division in 2004. As the Assistant Chief Clerk, he managed clerks in the Courtrooms, Affiant, Warrants, Bond Administration, Data Entry and Scanning sections. In 2015, he was named the Deputy Director/Clerk of the Court assuming the oversight of the Court Operations and Public Services Divisions.
Deputy Director / Chief Financial Officer
Nelly Treviño Santos, J.D.
Nelly Treviño Santos began her legal career with the City of Houston Legal Department in 1994, where she served as an Assistant City Attorney in the Business Litigation section. She joined the Municipal Courts in 1998 as a Deputy Assistant Director and assisted the Presiding Judge in a variety of administrative matters. She practiced defense litigation for a local private law firm from 2003 to 2008. She returned to public service as Assistant Director for the City of Houston Municipal Courts in 2008, serving in that capacity until assuming the role of Deputy Director in 2010. Ms. Santos earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1984, and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center in 1993. As Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Municipal Courts, she has direct oversight of the Juvenile Case Manager Program, financial and budgeting, facilities and building security, jury administration, Court Interpreters, administrative support staff, wellness initiatives, and indirect oversight of Human Resources assigned staff.
Deputy Director / Chief Operating Officer
Charlotte Lang Booker, J.D.
Charlotte Lang Booker began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney for Harris County in 1993. She served there until 1997, when she accepted a position with the State’s Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) where she served as Regional Attorney, Managing Attorney, and Acting Chief Attorney of Field Operations. She then served as Supervising Attorney for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). Ms. Booker assumed the position of Deputy Director/Clerk of Court for the City of Houston Municipal Courts in late 2010 serving until 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1993. As the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, she oversees the Court’s compliance, internal auditing and external third-party collections.
Deputy Director, Public Information & Technology
Bonita Tolbert began her legal career with the City of Houston Legal Department in 1996, where she served as an Assistant City Attorney in the Criminal Law Division as a Prosecutor and Appellate Specialist in the City of Houston Municipal Courts. She joined the Municipal Court Presiding Judge’s Office in 2006 as an Assistant Director and Staff Attorney. In 2008, she was appointed by the Presiding Judge as the Lead Process Owner for development of the CSMART Project, which was promoted to production in April, 2015 and serves as the current case management system for the Municipal Courts. In 2015, she joined the Chief Operating Office of the Municipal Courts as an Assistant Director where she directed the Public Information Office, the CSMART Phase 2 development and the indirect oversight of HITS assigned staff. In 2017, she was promoted to Deputy Director of Public Information and Technology by the Presiding Judge. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1991 and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1995.
Municipal Courts Staff