2016 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence Recipient

Judge Marc C. Carter


Texas Judge Marc C. Carter has been named recipient of the 2016 William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, presented annually by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). The Rehnquist Award recognizes a state court judge who possesses integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and sound judgment. Judge Carter, of the 228th Criminal District Court in Harris County, Texas, created the first veterans’ court in Texas, which serves as a model for veteran treatment courts across the country. He will be presented the award November 17 at the U.S. Supreme Court during a dinner hosted by Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr.

In 2009 Judge Carter established one of the first veterans’ treatment courts in the country and the first such court in Texas. He has presided over this court since its creation nearly seven years ago. Texas has the second most veterans of all states and territories, behind California.

Veterans’ treatment courts increase access to mental health and addiction treatment for veterans with felony and misdemeanor offenses by diverting veterans directly into Veterans Administration treatment services. The Texas program has proven to reduce jail time, costs and recidivism, while improving mental health recovery and successful re-entry for veterans into the community, said Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht.

Judge Carter earned the rank of captain in the U.S. Army, serving as a military intelligence officer from 1981 to 1988. He participated in military intelligence operations in Europe and at one point managed approximately 250 soldiers that gathered intelligence in support of tactical units in the region. His brother like their father was a career Air Defense Artillery Officer. His older brother served in the U.S. Air Force. His nephew is a West Point graduate who is currently serving overseas.

After resigning his commission in 1988, Judge Carter earned his law degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. After graduation, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Kenneth M. Hoyt, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas. From there he became an assistant district attorney and later a criminal defense attorney. In 2003 he was appointed as Judge 228th Criminal District Court.