Mary Lou Keel

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Mary Lou Keel

Place 2 Judge of the
Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Assumed office 
January 2017
Preceded by Lawrence Edward "Larry" Meyers

Born 1961
Reared in Austin, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) James Joseph "Jim" Hippard, Jr. (also an attorney)[1]
Children Greer, Connor, and Colleen Hippard
Residence Houston, Texas
Alma mater University of Texas

University of Houston Law School[2]

Mary Lou Keel (born 1961) is one of the nine Republican justices of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, representing Place 2. From 1995 until her election to the appeals court, she was the judge of the 232nd District Court in Houston in Harris County.[3]

In 2016, during the March 1 primaries, three Republicans, Keel, Ray Wheless, and Chris Oldner, campaigned for the nomination to oppose in the general election Judge Lawrence Edward "Larry" Meyers, the incumbent former Republican who turned Democrat in 2013. Eliminated in the primary, Oldner drew a critical 500,510 votes (25.2 percent), while Keel led with 784,414 votes (39.4 percent). Wheless finished second with 704,772 votes (35.4 percent). As a result, Keel and Wheless of  Allen in Collin County contested the low-turnout runoff electionheld on May 24. Keel narrowly defeated Wheless for the Republican judicial nomination, 185,257 votes (51 percent) to 178,272 (49 percent). On the Democratic side, Meyers, unopposed for his party's nomination, had received 970,066 votes in the primary, hence having outpolled Keel and Wheless.

Keel overwhelmed Meyers in the general election on November 8, 4,790,800 (54.9 percent) to 3,496,205 (40.1 percent).[4]

In 2015, District Judge Keel impaneled the grand jury that indicted pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merrick and took no action against Planned Parenthood. On request, Keel refused to release the names of the grand jurors on grounds that the identity of the jurors and the proceedings are secret However, Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator John Cornyn, both former Texas attorneys general, said in previous legal opinions that no state law requires that the names of the grand jurors be kept confidential.[5]

The highest criminal court in Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals determines the outcome all death penalty cases in the state. It dismissed an abuse-of-power charge against former Governor Rick Perry. Despite the importance of the court, candidates seeking the nine positions have had difficulty establishing name recognition.[3] Judge Keel has been certified in criminal law since 1990.[2]


  1. James Joseph Hippard, Sr., obituary. The Houston Chronicle (March 26, 2005). Retrieved on October 7, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 About Judge Mary Lou Keel. Retrieved on October 7, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Madlin Mekelburg (May 24, 2016). Scott Walker - No, Not that One - Wins Court of Criminal Appeals Runoff. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on October 6, 2017.
  4. Official Results. Texas Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on October 6, 2017.
  5. Don Hooper (April 1, 2016). Judge Mary Lou Keel Revisited - Big Jolly Politics. Retrieved on October 7, 2017.