Katherine Cabaniss Parsley
Katherine Cabaniss Parsley is a native Houstonian who is honored to serve the community through her leadership.
Judge Parsley was appointed by Governor Perry to the 248th District Court of Harris County in 2013. She was elected by voters to a subsequent four-year term. She was committed to service to the community and justice in every case, and served until the end of her term in 2018. After leaving the bench, she serves as a visiting judge in Justice of the Peace courts. She also conducts a mediation and arbitration practice, often managing cases virtually during the pandemic. She is a certified mediator and advanced arbitrator, and a certified FINRA arbitrator.
On the bench, Judge Parsley managed the docket efficiently and effectively. She maintained a strict docket control order that promoted justice without delay. She presided over jury trials of defendants charged with felony cases including capital murder, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, and crimes against children, among others. Judge Parsley also managed the Harris County STAR Program docket, commonly called “Drug Court.” A specialized docket for repeat drug offenders, its goal is rehabilitation through intensive probation and treatment, rather than repeated incarceration. Her drug court transformed lives; addicted participants became productive, law-abiding citizens.
Before appointment to the bench, Judge Parsley was the Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, the largest nonprofit of its kind in the country. Prior to her nonprofit leadership, she was a Chief Prosecutor at the Office of the District Attorney, Harris County. She prosecuted crimes against property and persons, from white collar crimes to capital murder. Hundreds of jury trials resulted in justice for thousands of victims.
In the community, Judge Parsley is committed to service. She is a member of the Boards of Directors of San Jose Clinic, Bridges to Life, the Association of Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), and the Women’s Fund. She is a former member of the boards of the Friends of Fondren Library at Rice University and the Houston Club. She is the Immediate Past President of the Women’s City Club and Past President of both the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club and the Board of Governors of the Houston Club. She was honored with the national 2008 Director’s Community Leadership Award from the FBI, and the 2009 Suzanne McDaniel Public Awareness Award from the bipartisan Congressional Victim’s Rights Caucus. She was named one of the Fifty Most Influential Women in Houston in 2011.
Judge Parsley has been a guest on hundreds of radio and television shows, including the Today show, Good Morning America, and Inside Edition. She was a regular commentator on KHOU news as a legal expert and wrote the weekly column “Living Safe” in the Examiner print publications. She participated in the Center for Houston’s Future Business/Civic Leader’s Forum, American Leadership Forum, Rice University Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives, and United Way Leader’s Circle. Judge Parsley holds a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University and is licensed to practice law in both California and Texas.
Katherine is married to Dr. Brian Parsley, an orthopedic surgeon at Methodist Hospital. They enjoy eleven grandchildren, and counting! Her commitment to justice, leadership, community service, and the empowerment of all citizens has had a positive impact in communities around Houston, in Texas, and across the country.