Who is Judge Kelli Johnson?

Judge Kelli Johnson is overseeing the AJ Armstrong case, but what do we know about her?

Judge Kelli Johnson during AJ Armstrong trial. (KPRC 2, Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – As the KPRC 2 team prepares for the re-trial of AJ Armstrong in ‘The Bench’ we are looking into all aspects of the trial. The judge overseeing the case is Judge Kelli Johnson, who serves on the 178th Criminal District Court. “As the first openly gay female judge,” Judge Johnson was elected twice in Harris County, once in 2016 and again in 2020.

Judge Kelli Johnson during AJ Armstrong trial. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Who is the judge for the AJ Armstrong trial?

Judge Johnson was elected by her peers as the Administrative Judge over the Criminal Board. Overseeing that board means she helps manage court caseloads, implementation of new rules, and other administrative tasks.

Before the honor took the bench, Judge Johnson spent 17 years as the Assistant District Attorney for Harris County. At one point and time, she worked as the Felony Chief for the DA’s office in the court she now presides.

She helps young women on her docket overcome addictions, volunteering as a judge with the Success Through Addiction Recovery or STAR program.

Judge Johnson has degrees from Texas Christian University and South Texas College of Law.

Judge Kelli Johnson during AJ Armstrong trial. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

This will be the third time Judge Johnson will be a part of the case tried in front of a Harris County jury. The first two attempts by the prosecution were declared a mistrial in 2019 and 2022 because the jury couldn’t come up with a verdict.

KPRC 2 presents ‘The Bench’

Hosted by Investigative Reporter Joel Eisenbaum, KPRC 2 is decoding the legalese, breaking down the arguments, and taking you inside the case. You’ll hear from our panel of experts and reporters, including Rilwan Balogun.

When and how you can watch:

  • “The Bench” starts Monday, the same day as jury selection for the trial begins Monday, May 1st
  • Our special coverage will begin at 8:00 am Monday on KPRC2+
  • Download the KPRC2+ App now to be ready to watch on the go

About the Author:

As an Emmy award-winning journalist, Jason strives to serve the community by telling in-depth stories and taking on challenges many pass over. When he’s not working, he’s spending time with his girlfriend Rosie, and dog named Dug.