Hidalgo County DA’s chief felony prosecutor running for district judge

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Chief felony prosecutor Orlando “OJ” Esquivel is running for judge of the 430th state District Court. (Courtesy Photo)

The chief felony prosecutor for the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office is running to be judge of the 430th state District Court.

Orlando “OJ” Esquivel announced his candidacy in June to replace state District Judge Israel Ramon Jr., who has indicated that he will not be seeking reelection.

“Based on the values, principles, and morals upon which I was raised, I knew my calling was to work in public service, and I believe that my entire life’s work has prepared me for this moment,” Esquivel said in his campaign announcement. “Holding a judicial office is the pinnacle of one’s career in the legal and judicial field, and this is a pursuit I do not take lightly.”

Esquivel is from Mission. He graduated from Mission High School and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas-Austin.

“He received a full scholarship to Texas Tech Law School and upon entering the Texas Bar, Esquivel began his career in public service as an Assistant District Attorney for Hidalgo County,” the announcement stated.

During his career, Esquivel said he worked his way up from prosecuting misdemeanors to felonies before being promoted to chief felony prosecutor by former District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez.

In his campaign announcement, Rodriguez endorsed Esquivel, describing him as having a great reputation and all the characteristics and morals needed to be a fair and impartial judge.

“He’ll be a great jurist, he’ll be a great judge, and he’ll be great for the citizens of Hidalgo County,” Rodriguez said in the announcement. “He’s the right person for the 430th District Court.”

Esquivel said he has a perspective that makes him the right fit for the bench.

“My 20 plus years in trial experience, combined with my ability to empathize, compromise, and negotiate, all while balancing the best interest of the victims, have all given me a unique perspective that has helped me serve our Hidalgo County families in the DA’s office,” he said.

The primary is in March 2024.