District Attorney's Office Divisions
First Assistant - Philip Kazen
The Honorable Philip Kazen is currently the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office First Assistant. Some of you may know him as Judge Kazen from the 20 years he served as a Senior District Judge and Presiding Judge of the 227th District Court from 1999 to 2014. During his time on the bench, he served as local administrative judge, probation liaison and member of the Bexar County Juvenile Board.
Judge Kazen also worked with County Commissioners on administrative issues that didn’t just affect the District Courts – they affected all of Bexar County. Among his achievements: leading the effort to obtain funding for the Bexar County Appellate Public Defender’s Office and the Probation Departments Mentally Impaired Offenders Facility.
His commitment to the citizens of Bexar County goes back even further. Before seeking elected office, Judge Kazen worked as a prosecutor in the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. There, he prosecuted everything from traffic tickets to death penalty cases and was a lead prosecutor for family violence and child sexual abuse cases, as well as drug and violent crimes task force cases.
Judge Kazen graduated with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in business. He also graduated from St. Mary’s Law School in 1986, where he received several awards for mock trial and moot court advocacy.
All of those accomplishments have led him back to the District Attorney’s Office. As First Assistant District Attorney, Judge Kazen’s experience – both as a prosecutor and as a judge – are instrumental in drafting policies that allow prosecutors to protect our community from dangerous criminals while providing therapeutic justice to nonviolent offenders.
Litigation - Christian Henricksen
Christian was born in San Antonio, Texas. He attended and graduated from James Madison High School, before entering Texas A&M University – College Station, where he graduated with a BA in History. After college, Christian worked as a high school social studies teacher in Victoria, Texas and Huntsville, Texas where he taught for a total of two years.
After two years, Christian applied for and was accepted into Louisiana State University Law School. He completed his studies there in 2004, receiving his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. In 2005, he received admission into the Texas State Bar.
After graduating from law school, Christian began his legal career. He worked as a trial court prosecutor with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office from 2005 to 2013, where he prosecuted both misdemeanor and felony cases and tried approximately 80 jury trials.
Upon leaving the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office in 2013, Christian opened his law practice, The Law Offices of Christian D. Henricksen, where he worked as a criminal defense attorney. Soon thereafter in 2015, Christian joined The Law Office of Joe D. Gonzales, where he continued his work as a criminal defense attorney. Collectively, between the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and private practice, Christian has 15 years of experience of practicing criminal law.
Christian returned to The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office on January 1, 2019, serving as the Chief of Litigation, where he brings his knowledge and experience to assist in creating policies. Christian advocates for criminal justice reform and improving effectiveness and equity in prosecution.
Administration - Melissa Barlow Severtson
Melissa Barlow Severtson is the Chief Administrative Attorney for the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Melissa received her B.A. from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, and her J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She clerked for a Judge on the Court of Appeals in Tyler, Texas, for one year, before becoming an Assistant District Attorney for Bexar County, Texas, in 1990. She served in that capacity until January of 1999, and during that time was assigned to the intake, misdemeanor, appeals, and felony divisions, as well as the auto theft task force.
From January of 1999 until December of 2018, Melissa served the Criminal District Court Judges of Bexar County as their General Administrative Counsel. In that capacity she managed the felony court appointed attorney system, and she was instrumental in the implementation of the Appellate Public Defender’s Office, the initiation of Central Magistration with the appointment of County Magistrates, and she authored the original Indigent Defense Plan for the Criminal District Courts.
Between 2006 and 2015, Melissa served on various local non-profit boards, including the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Alamo City Cancer Council. Melissa was appointed to the Licensed Court Interpreter Advisory Board by Governor Rick Perry in 2002, and serves as the Chair of that Board currently. She was appointed to the State Bar Committee on Legal Services to the Poor in Criminal Matters by the President of the State Bar of Texas, and still serves on that committee as well. She is currently a member of the Bexar County Family Justice Center Foundation Board of Directors. Since 2018 Melissa has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, teaching mostly Criminal Justice majors about managing criminal justice organizations.
Appellate - Mary Beth Welsh
Mary Beth Welsh is the Chief of Appeals for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Mary Beth earned a B.S. in Education from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, a M.S. in Education from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and her J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas. Mary Beth began working at the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office during her second year of law school as a paid intern for the prosecutors assigned to the 175th Judicial District Court.
In 1992, Mary Beth was hired as an Assistant District Attorney for the Bexar County District Attorney’s office. In the fall of 1997, Mary Beth rotated to the appellate division and what was supposed to be a sixth month rotation has evolved into a 22 year “transition” from trial attorney to appellate attorney. Mary Beth has argued before the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals, the Fourth Court of Appeals, and the Seventh Court of Appeals.
Mary Beth is licensed to practice law in Texas, in the Western District of Texas, and in the United States Supreme Court. For 12 years Mary Beth had the opportunity to teach Courts and Criminal Procedure, Legal Aspects of Law Enforcement, and Crime in America as an adjunct professor at San Antonio Community College. Prior to a career in law, Mary Beth taught high school and middle school and coached girls basketball, volleyball, soccer, track and field, and cross country.
Civil - Larry Roberson
Larry Roberson is Chief of the Civil Division where he and his Division represent Bexar County and county-level elected officials in all civil matters arising under both federal and state law. A cum laude graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law, Larry is admitted to practice in all Texas courts and in the Western District of Texas, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Larry first began practicing law working for a large research and development corporation. He left the private sector to work as a staff attorney for the Eighth Court of Appeals sitting in El Paso, Texas. After leaving El Paso, Larry returned to San Antonio to work in the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office under then District Attorney Susan Reed. Larry has represented Bexar County in civil appeals in state and federal court, including an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. After spending approximately 12 years with the Office, Larry left for an in house counsel position but returned to serve in the administration of District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
In his spare time, Larry serves on the Board of Directors of Credit Human Federal Credit Union where he has spent several years working with the organization to develop strategies to bring financial health to underserved communities. Larry also sits as an appointed member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Castroville, Texas.
Criminal Investigation - Sean McCleskey
R. Sean McCleskey is the Chief Criminal Investigator of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to this position, Sean served as a Deputy with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Unit, coordinating the collection and dissemination of information related to gang activity, as well as serving in BCSO Reserve Unit, East Patrol Division.
Sean has also served as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service, San Antonio Field Office, until his retirement in 2015. He was assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for approximately 3 years where he exclusively conducted investigations regarding potential terrorist activities in the United States. During his tenure with the Secret Service, he helped create and then served as the Group Leader of the South Texas Regional Task Force, a multi-agency unit, whose principal mission was to investigate organized groups who were involved with identity theft, financial and cybercrimes.
Sean has served as a special prosecutor with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, Public Integrity Unit, and was a faculty member in the Master of Science, Identity Management and Security Program, at The University of Texas at Austin. He concurrently served as the Director of Organizational Education and Measurement at UT’s Center for Identity. Sean has earned two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University and his Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law.
Family Justice Center Director - Crystal Chandler
Crystal Chandler is the Executive Director of the Bexar County Family Justice Center. Prior to taking on this role in January 2019, Crystal spent more than 20 years serving as a voice for victims of violence. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role having served as a judge, prosecutor, nonprofit co-founder, trainer, and criminal law professor.
As a judge of a criminal family violence court, Crystal worked daily to improve the legal system’s response to intimate partner and family violence cases. She carried out a firearm surrender program, spearheaded efforts to get judicially ordered bond conditions intended to protect victims accessible to local law enforcement officers, and implemented two specialized docket programs: “Young Adult Aggression Re-Direction” for offenders ages 17-24 and “Comprehensive Health and Alternative Treatments” for offenders suffering with mental health issues.
Recognizing that the effort to prevent violence requires more resources than law enforcement, Crystal is a founding member of a national anti-human trafficking nonprofit dedicated to educating and mobilizing the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking. She also served as an adjunct criminal law professor at San Antonio College.
Family Violence - Angelica "Meli" Powers
Meli Powers is the Chief of the Family Violence Division of the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Powers holds a Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Government Degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She began her legal career with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office in 1999 as a Legal Intern in the Criminal Trial Division where she learned from and assisted a team of felony prosecutors. She was licensed to practice law in Texas in 2001.
From 2002 to 2017, Meli served Bexar County as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney. Since 2008, she has prosecuted domestic violence and child physical and sexual abuse cases. From 2017 to 2019, Powers was a Regional Attorney for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. She served three counties in the State of Texas where she represented the Department in cases involving the abuse and neglect of children.
Powers has been a speaker and trainer for the San Antonio Police Department on issues relating to domestic violence, child abuse, evidentiary issues and courtroom testimony. Ms. Powers has also been named in San Antonio Scene Best S.A. Lawyers and serves on numerous boards, commissions and task forces at the both the local and state level, including the Child-safe Board of Directors and Bexar County Child Fatality Review Team and the State Child Fatality Review Team.
Criminal Trial - JUANITA VASQUEZ-GARDNER
Juanita A. Vasquez-Gardner is the Felony Chief of the Criminal Trial Division for the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney. Juanita previously served as the Misdemeanor Chief of the Criminal Trial Division and the Chief Administrative Attorney under the prior District Attorney. She has also served as a Staff Attorney for the Criminal District Court judges in the Bexar County Criminal District Court Administration.
Juanita received her B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her J.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. Juanita began her legal career as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Bexar County, Texas, in 1989 and served in that capacity until 2000, during that time she conducted in excess of 100 jury trials.
In 2000, Juanita was appointed as the first Judge of the 399th District Court by then-Governor George W. Bush. During her 12-year tenure as a Judge, Juanita was the Chair of the 4th Administrative Judicial Region Local Selection Committee; the Chair of the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee of the San Antonio Bar Association; and the Chair of the Budget Committee for the Bexar County Juvenile Board. She was also a member of the Purchasing Agent Board Committee; the Criminal Courts and Rules Committee; and the Trial Courts Committee of the Bexar County Juvenile Board.
In 2003, Juanita was appointed by then-President George W. Bush to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Harry S Truman Scholarship Foundation. She has also served on the Boards of Trustees for the Daughters of Charity Services of San Antonio and the Bexar County Family Justice Center Foundation, and is a current Advisory Board member for the Bexar County Family Justice Center Foundation. Juanita was an original member of the State Bar Committee that authored four publications of “Texas Criminal Pattern Jury Charges” which is used throughout the state of Texas by criminal judges and practitioners.
Grand Jury and Intake - Emily Angulo
Emily Angulo has been an Assistant Criminal District Attorney with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office since July of 1999. Emily graduated Magna Cum Laude from the St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas in May of 1997. Upon graduation, she returned home to Florida where she practiced as an Assistant Public Defender in Marion County, Florida. While there, she represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes and helped to ensure they received due process and a fair trial that should be afforded every individual charged with a crime.
Continuing her call for public service, in July of 1999, Emily returned to San Antonio to begin her career as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. During the past 15 years of service with the District Attorney’s Office, Emily has practiced before many judges in both the misdemeanor and felony criminal courts. She has represented the State of Texas in the prosecution of thousands of criminal cases ranging from DWI and assaults to Aggravated Robberies and Murders. During this time, she has continued in her goal to ensure fair trials to individuals charged with offenses. In the fall of 2013, she was one of two prosecutors on a trial team in the State of Texas v. Arturo Noriega, who prosecuted and secured the first Bexar County jury verdict of life on DWI Murder.
Emily is the mother of two athletically gifted boys and so she spends most of her free time at the baseball park or the track. Given her choice of destinations to travel, Emily would pick the mountains in North Carolina every time, where she can spend hours hiking to waterfalls and sifting through stream beds for small garnets. She even keeps a vial of them on her desk so that during the hectic hours of the work day, she can look over and remember the peace she feels sifting through the North Carolina streambeds.
Juvenile - Jane Davis
Jane Davis was named by Mr. Gonzales to serve as Chief of the Juvenile Section of the D.A.’s Office. Prior to becoming Chief of the Juvenile Section, Jane served as a prosecutor in Bexar County for 28 years, First Assistant to the County Attorney in Guadalupe County for 4 years, and as a defense attorney for 3 years. During her tenure as an assistant district attorney in Bexar County, she served in almost every section of the District Attorney’s Office. Approximately half of that time she was assigned to the juvenile division. She shares Mr. Gonzales’ vision for juvenile justice reform and is actively participating with local and national groups working toward lowering recidivism rates by implementing data driven strategies that are proving to be successful.
Jane’s interests other than work include her family (married with 2 kids), beekeeping, ranching, travel, pottery, theology, and leaning new, fun things.
Major Crimes - Mario Del Prado
Mario Del Prado is the Chief of the Major Crimes Division at the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Mario began his career as an Intern for the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office while still in law school. Following a successful career as a prosecutor, which included the first convictions in Texas for Murder, where there was no identifiable body that was recovered, and the first, successful prosecution of a husband for sexually assaulting his wife, Mario left the office to go into private practice, with his wife, Christine.
Over the course of the following 27 years, Mario and his wife built a strong, criminal defense firm that focused on defending the rights of individuals accused of all types of crime, throughout South Texas. In January, 2019, Mario returned to prosecution, under the administration of District Attorney Joe D. Gonzales, as the Chief of the Felony Trial Division.
Mario has been Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, since 1996, and Board Certified in Criminal Trial by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, since 2009. Additionally, Mario was named by his peers as a Texas Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense, for many years.
Mario was born in historic Goliad, Texas and was raised in San Antonio. He is a graduate of Oliver W. Holmes High School, attended the University of Texas at Austin and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In 1986, Mario obtained his Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s School of Law, in San Antonio, Texas. Mario spends his free time reading his beloved books, enjoying the outdoors and being with his wife and 4 daughters.
Misdemeanor Trial - Jamissa Jarmon
Jamissa Jarmon is the Chief of Misdemeanor Division at the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. A veteran of the office, she has been a licensed attorney since 1997. In addition to her prior service as a prosecutor, she has also served as a defense attorney and a staff attorney for the Bexar County District Courts. She is a graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Journalism and a minor in Business. After college, she chose to continue her education and received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The University of Houston Law Center.
Jamissa is originally from Seguin, Texas. She is an accomplished athlete who ran track and played basketball while in high school. Her love of physical fitness continues as she has now competed in three triathlons and eight half-marathons. She is also certified scuba diver. In her free time, Jamissa is an avid reader and a fan of travel. She is married and has three canine kids.
Public Integrity & Cyber Crime - Christine Del Prado
Christine Del Prado is the Chief of the Public Integrity & Cyber Crime Division at the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Following graduation from St. Mary's School of Law in 1998, Christine became an Assistant District Attorney.
Over the course of the following 27 years, Christine and her husband built a strong criminal defense firm that focused on defending the rights of individuals accused of all types of crime, throughout South Texas. While working as a criminal defense lawyer, Christine was consistently recognized by her peers and in periodicals for her skills in criminal law. She was a member of the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and served on its Executive Board; she was a panel member for her district’s Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas; she served on the Board of the Rape Crisis Center and she served a term as the President of her parish council.
Christine was born in Indiana and spent her childhood both there and in Virginia. She was a competitive swimmer, baton twirler and pianist. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science, in Business, in 1981, and moved to San Antonio. In 1990, she was teamed with another Assistant DA to prosecute a case where a father was accused of murdering his 8-month-old son. It turned out to be a successful prosecution and a successful pairing. The defendant was convicted of Murder and Christine and her trial partner, Mario Del Prado, were married a year later. In 1991, Christine & Mario left the DA’s office and went into private practice. Christine enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their 4 daughters.