Hon. Fortunato “Pete” Benavides

Judge Fortunato “Pete” Benavides was born in Mission, Texas; earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston; and later graduated from the University of Houston Law Center. He began his judicial career a mere five years into his practice. But his service went beyond the judicial branch. He was a member of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and established a center for troubled teens: the Ramiro H. Guerra Youth Village in Weslaco, Texas. Judge Benavides served at all levels of Texas courts, starting at County Court of Law No. 2 in Hidalgo County, moving to the 92nd Judicial District Court, later serving on the Thirteenth Court of Appeals in Corpus Christi, was appointed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin, and worked as a visiting judge on the Supreme Court of Texas. Thereafter, President Clinton appointed him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, where he remained until his death. He also sat as a visiting judge for the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits. He was a member of the Judicial Council of the Fifth Circuit, the Committee on International Judicial Relations, and the Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System. All told, Judge Benavides authored more than 2,500 opinions during his tenure as a state and then federal judge.




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