Biography

Justice Craig and Melissa Stoddart.

Craig was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where he graduated from Booker T. Washington High school in 1982. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of North Texas.  In 1986, he began his legal studies at the Texas Tech University School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate in 1990. While a student at Tech, Craig clerked for two years at a small firm specializing in complex commercial litigation.

After graduation, Craig spent a brief time practicing in Lubbock before accepting a position with the Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney’s Office where he proudly represented the State of Texas for over 21 years.  Craig served as both a misdemeanor and felony prosecutor before focusing his efforts on appellate prosecution. He became Chief of the Appellate Division and ultimately took on the role of First Assistant Criminal District Attorney.  In his time at the district attorney’s office, Craig served as a special prosecutor in Dallas, Kaufman and Denton counties.  He prosecuted in excess of 100 criminal appeals and argued cases in appellate courts across the State including the 5th District Court of Appeals and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, our highest criminal court.

Craig and his wife, Melissa, were married in 1986.  After law school, they moved home to Rockwall where Melissa is a fourth generation resident. Together they have four wonderful children, Nicholas, Christopher, Kaitlyn and Margaret.  Melissa teaches sixth grade science at Reinhardt Elementary School in Rockwall.  They are very active in their local community and longtime members of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.

In September of 2014, Craig left the district attorney’s office to accept an appointment from Governor Rick Perry to serve as Justice of the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas.  In November 2014, he won election to the Court where he serves the citizens of Collin, Dallas, Grayson, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. The Fifth District Court of Appeals is the busiest of the 14 intermediate appellate courts in the State of Texas, handling in excess of 1500 cases each year.  Since arriving at the court, Craig has authored over 300 judicial opinions and participated on the panels of nearly 1000 appellate cases.

Since becoming a Justice on the 5th Court of Appeals, Craig has remained active in the local legal community.  He is a member of the Texas Bar Association, Rockwall Bar Association and is admitted to practice before the Northern District of Texas.  He recently served as Co-Chair of the Government Appellate Lawyers Committee for the State Bar of Texas. He is a frequent speaker at CLE conferences including, among others, the State Bar’s Advanced Criminal Law Seminar and UT Austin’s Advanced Conference on Criminal Appeals. For three years, he co-authored the Annual Criminal Law Year in Review for the Texas Bar Journal.  He was admitted into the Texas State Bar College and is a former member of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. He is a member of the Mac Taylor Inn of Court and has served on many boards and committees, including the Rockwall County Veteran’s Diversion Committee, the Rockwall County Mental Health Task Force and others.

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