Pat Lykos

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Patricia R. Lykos
Personal details
Born Patricia R. Lykos (like us)
Spouse(s) William A. "Bill" Allen, CPA/JD (1976 to present)
Residence Houston, Texas (USA)
Alma mater University of Houston, (BS Pol. Sci.)
South Texas College of Law, (JD)
Occupation Lawyer
Writer, Commentator, Speaker
Religion Greek Orthodox

Patricia R. "Pat" Lykos is an American lawyer who is the former District Attorney of Harris County, Texas, United States. She is the first woman elected to that position in the 170-year history of the County. Her career has been devoted to the justice system, as a police officer, lawyer, judge and District Attorney.

“Honor and dealing fairly with all is everything – leadership is seeing the right thing to do and doing it right . . . The rule of law is the foundation of a decent, robust civil society . . . The people must have trust and confidence in the justice system for there to be order. Justice and order are inextricably intertwined." ~ Patricia R. Lykos

Patricia R. Lykos: "Texas Trailblazer": List of "Firsts"[edit]

  • First Republican elected judge of a county court-at-law in Harris County, Texas.
  • First woman elected to a county court-at-law (CCL No.10) judgeship in Harris County.
  • First Republican criminal district court judge in Harris County, (180th DC).
  • First woman elected district attorney in the 170-year history of Harris County.
  • First judge to implement real-time court reporting.
  • First to initiate community service for probationers and the first judge to order them to pay child support as a condition of probation.
  • As District Attorney, Patricia R. Lykos implemented numerous groundbreaking initiatives.


Patricia R. Lykos is a graduate of the University of Houston in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Lykos earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1971 from South Texas College of Law. She worked her way through college and law school while employed full-time as a Houston police officer. As a lawyer she practiced in state, county, district and appellate courts and in federal court, litigating civil, criminal and family law matters. In 1980, the Harris County Commissioners' Court appointed her to the newly created bench of County Criminal Court No. 10, to which she won election that year.

In 1981, Republican Governor Bill Clements appointed her as Judge of the 180th State Criminal District Court. Lykos ran for re-election to the criminal court for three terms: 1982, 1986 and 1990. being re-elected each time. Lykos served as a senior district judge, a special assignments judge, and as Director of Special Projects for County Judge Robert Eckels, and Director of Judicial and Legal Issues for County Judge Ed Emmett.[citation needed]

Lykos was the former chief judge of the Harris County criminal district courts, served three terms as President of the Retired, Senior and Former Judges of Texas, and taught in programs for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the American Bar Association, and the State Bar of Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Houston Bar Foundation, of which she is a founding member. She has been an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, and taught at the National Judicial College.[citation needed]

Lykos has appeared on television news programs such as Nightline, 48 Hours and Crime in America.


  • Supreme Court of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S Supreme Court

Professional Experience[edit]

  • District Attorney, 2009 – 2012
  • Arbitration, 1999 – 2007
  • Mediation, 1995 – 2007
  • Special Assignment Judge, 1995 – 2007
  • Adjunct Professor, South Texas College of Law, 2002 – 2003
  • Special Projects, Office of County Judge, 1999 – 2008
  • Judge, 180th District Court of Harris County, Texas, 1981 – 94
  • Judge, County Court at Law No. 10, Harris County, Texas, 1980 – 81
  • Allen, Lykos and Thibodeaux, Attorneys at Law, 1971 -79 (firm’s trial lawyer)
  • Houston-Galveston Area Council, Criminal Justice Planner, 1970 – 72
  • Houston Police Department, Police Officer, 1963 – 1970 (rank of detective at time of resignation)

Major accomplishments during Patricia R. Lykos' tenure as the Harris County District Attorney[edit]

Lykos defeated Democrat Brad Bradford, (former Houston Police Chief), in the general election on November 4, 2008.[1]

In the April 8, 2008 Republican primary runoff, she defeated prosecutor Kelly Sieglar 52.6% to 47.3%.[2] The Harris County District Attorney position became open after the former DA Chuck Rosenthal resigned in response to scandal.

Patricia Lykos put together a leadership team with extensive management and criminal justice system experience.[3] This team, with a total of over 150 years of legal experience, was vital to restoring public trust and confidence in the Harris County District Attorney Office.[4]

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office impacts the entire Texas criminal justice system, from local law enforcement agencies to the state prisons. The County is the third largest in the nation with a population in excess of 4 million. It has 34 municipalities, including the City of Houston and it covers almost 1800 square miles.

District Attorney Patricia Lykos launched numerous initiatives that focused on violent criminals.

  1. She created the Cold Case/Fugitive Apprehension Section[5] that was dedicated to capturing fleeing felons. This unit resolved over one hundred capital murders and other first-degree felony cases in its first three years, including arrests of accused murderers who were wanted for forty years.
  2. Launched the Child Endangerment / Exploitation Section, proactively policing the Internet for pedophiles, which resulted in hundreds of arrests of perverts who used sophisticated cyberspace schemes to victimize children. This section established a national precedent with the prosecution of a predator who used the Sony PlayStation to sexually solicit an 11-year-old girl.
  3. Established the Mental Health Section (in collaboration with health and community organizations), to evaluate non-violent, mentally ill individuals who are frequent arrestees, and provide community-safe alternatives to incarceration for qualified individuals. Lykos has stated, “The warehousing in jails and then dumping them back onto the streets of persons with mental health/cognitive problems, who have committed non-violent nuisance offenses, presents profound public safety, public health, and humanitarian issues.”
  4. Instituted the Drug Trace Policy[6] which ended the practice of prosecuting as state jail felonies, the possession of minuscule amounts of drugs—less than one-hundredth, (1/100th) of a gram, (the minimum amount that can be tested twice). The Drug Trace Policy[7] allowed for the issue of misdemeanor tickets for related offenses such as possession of crack pipes or other paraphernalia. The policy is an issue of due process, (fairness) and public safety—there remained evidence to retest; officers were no longer tied up 2–4 hours booking defendants and court dockets were not clogged, allowing the focus on serious felonies and violent offenders.
  5. Created the Juvenile Diversion project wherein first offender juveniles arrested for non-violent offenses, (who qualified after a risk assessment), have the opportunity to participate in a closely supervised diversion program to guide them away from delinquent behavior. Prosecutors coordinate with juvenile probations officers on programs and family interventions, which focus on rehabilitation.[8]
  6. Formed the first DA’s Animal Cruelty Section in the state of Texas to investigate and prosecute all animal-related criminal cases. It provided assistance to other DA offices to create animal cruelty units, conducted community outreach and helped draft legislation. This program was featured on Animal Planet, Animal Cops Houston, CNN, Texas Monthly and local media.
  7. Obtained a 1.7 million dollar grant to create TAG (Texas Anti-Gang Tactical Operations Center), which placed all of the federal, state and local gang task forces under one roof, working together to combat transnational criminal organizations.
  8. Lykos established the DIVERT (Direct Intervention Using Voluntary Education, Restitution, and Treatment) program to reduce the number of repeat offenders involved in impaired driving situations. Eligibility was established to meet public safety, public confidence consideration, and evidence-based practices criteria. Those eligible entered into a contact and pleaded guilty to jail time, entry of judgment is suspended; upon successful completion of program, the case is dismissed; prosecution proceeded for defendants who failed.
  9. Spearheaded the initiative[9] to create a 21st Century state-of-the art DNA Lab,[10] as an integral part of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences,[11][12] located in the Texas Medical Center.
  10. Haverstock Hills[13] Initiative; this public housing project of 2400 residents, (700 children), was the most dangerous in Harris County, terrorized by street gangs, drug dealers & pimps. Lykos obtained the first, ever in Harris County, gang injunctions to create a 57-acre safety zone around the complex, enlisted the sheriff’s office to open a mini-station on-site, engaged the school district, churches, chamber of commerce and other community organizations to assist the residents. Crime has declined, civic life is flourishing and new businesses have been built in the neighboring area.
  11. Patricia R. Lykos created a Victim’s Rights Division to be a dynamic ally serving more than 25,000 crime victims, annually. Personnel kept victims and witness apprised of settings, accompanied them to court, secured translators, and provided program referrals, including securing sexual assault victims in obtaining testing for AID/HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. This section distributed over 3 million dollars a year in restitution.
  12. Post-Conviction Review Section[14] was created to aggressively investigate credible claims of innocence. This section resulted in the exoneration of four individuals who had been wrongfully convicted:[15] one served 27 years,[16] another 17.[17] In addition, through intense investigations, the dangerous & violent criminals who committed the offenses were identified. Lykos stated, “The Section was established because integrity and credibility are paramount for public trust in the criminal justice system. Wrongful convictions are a ‘triple tragedy’[18] — innocent people are sent to prison, there is no justice for the victim or society and the real predators are free to commit further depredations.”
  13. Provided for the first time to defense attorneys, copies of offense reports & related information.
  14. # Disciplined two prosecutors for peremptorily striking all prospective black jurors during jury selection, causing a mistrial.
  15. Initiated legislation that lead to the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office consolidating their sex offender registries, implementing state-of-the art on-line systems to enhance public safety & improve the tracking of these predators, detecting violators & apprehending them.
  16. Implemented a program that placed additional officers on patrol, arresting more drunken and impaired drivers; initiated a project that reduced DWI recidivism.

Patricia R. Lykos has also been recognized for her work upgrading the technology, development case management, disaster recovery systems and the “D.A.’s Most Wanted” list for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • Honesty and Integrity in Prosecution Award – Innocence Project of Texas, 2011
  • U. S. Marshal’s Gulf Cost Violent Offender Fugitive Task Performance Award for her Cold Case Fugitive
  • Outstanding Contributions to Fraud Prevention Award – HUD/OIG
  • Liberty and Justice Award – Greater Houston Coalition for Justice and Excellence, 2011
  • 2011 Woman of the Year - -Women Looking Ahead Magazine
  • Most Influential Women at 2009 – Houston Woman Magazine
  • Meritorious Service Award, Greater Houston Pachyderm Club, 1995
  • Silver Good Citizenship Medal – The National Society Sons of the American Revolution, 1992
  • State District Judge of the Year – Harris County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, 1991
  • Woman of Achievement Award – Business and Professional Women’s Club of Houston, 1990
  • Outstanding Houston Professional Woman – Federation of Houston Professional Women, 1985
  • President’s Award, Houston Bar Association, 1978–79
  • Distinguished Service Award, South Texas College of Law Alumni Association 1977 – 79
  • Sons of the American Revolution Law Enforcement Commendation Medal

Memberships and Organizations[edit]

  • National District Attorneys Association – Director at Large, 2010 – 2011
  • National District Attorneys Association – Vice President, 2012
  • Houston Bar Association, Criminal Law & Procedure Section – Board Member
  • High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) – Chair, 2012
  • Paul Harris Fellow
  • American Bar Foundation Fellow
  • Houston Bar Foundation Fellow
  • American Inns of Court, Garland R. Walker Chapter – Board member
  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo – Life Member and Committee Member, International Committee
  • Houston / Harris County Do the Write Thing Challenge – Chair

Professional and Civic Activities[edit]

  • Delegate and Presenter, Asia-Pacific International Drug Trafficking Summit, 2011
  • Member, Governor’s Council on Sex Offender Treatment, 2002 – 2008
  • Delegate, American Bar Foundation, Rule of Law Conference, China, 2006
  • Administrative Judge, Criminal District Courts of Harris County, Texas, 1982
  • Secretary for the Board of all District Judges, Harris County, Texas, 1982
  • Executive Board Chairman, Harris County Justice Information Management System, 1982 – 87

American Bar Association[edit]

  • Chair, Standards for Judicial Resources Task Force, Judicial Administration Division, 1989 – 1996
  • Chairman of Technology and the Future of the Courts Committee, 1986 – 96
  • National Conference of State Trial Judges (Judicial Administration Division of American Bar Association)
  • Texas Delegate to JAD, 1988 – 90; 1994 – 96
  • Member, Special Committee on Funding the Justice System, American Bar Association, 1991 – 93

State Bar of Texas[edit]

  • Faculty, Judicial Section, Animal Conference, 2000
  • Faculty, Advanced Criminal Law Seminar, 2000
  • Chair, Judicial Section Assigned Judges Committee, 1999
  • Member, Judicial Section By-Laws Committee, 1999
  • Member, Court Technology Committee, Judicial Section, 1990
  • Member of Nominating Committee for the Judicial Section of State Bar and Texas Center for the Judiciary, Inc., 1986
  • Faculty Member, Texas College for New Judges, 1983 – 87
  • Member, Board of Directors, Texas Center for the Judiciary, 1982 – 85

Houston Bar Association[edit]

  • Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation – member of Board of Trustees and Treasurer, 1982 – 83
  • Chairman, Criminal Law and Procedure Section 1988 – 89; Treasurer, 1982 – 83, Board Member, 1990–present
  • Member of the President-Elect’s Planning Committee, 1978 – 81
  • Chairman, Municipal Court Committee, 1978 – 79

South Texas College of Law Alumni Association[edit]

  • President and Chairman of the Board, 1978 – 79
  • Treasurer, 1977 – 78
  • Member of Board, 1985 – 87

Other Affiliations[edit]

  • President, Retired-Senior-Former Judges Association, 2002 – 2005
  • Member, Executive Committee, Garland Walker Chapter, American Inns of Court, 1990 – present
  • Member, Judicial Advisory Board, Texas Association for Court Administration, 1981 – 88
  • Member, Harris County Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, 1988
  • Faculty Member, National Judicial College, 1986 – 92
  • Faculty Advisor, National Judicial College, Summer Session 1984
  • Conference Member, National Conference of the Judiciary: Crisis in the Streets, Jail and Prison Crowding, March 1985. Note: Two judges from each state were selected to develop national and state solutions to the crisis. Selected as a discussion leader at conference.
  • Member, Board of Directors, Association of Women Attorneys, 1977 – 78
  • Chairman, Facilities Committee for Criminal Courts, 1988 – 90
  • Member, Harris County Jail Population Task Force, 1983 – 84
  • Member, Neighborhood Justice Advisory Committee, 1980 – 86
  • Secretary, Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Houston-Galveston Area Council, 1974 – 76
  • Member, Texas Governor’s Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, 1975
  • Committee Member, Houston Chamber of Commerce Judicial Research Group, Governmental Relations Advisory Committee, 1982 – 88
  • Board Member, Community Service Option Program, 1981 – 83
  • Member, Technical Advisory Committee, 1980
  • Member, Board of Directors, Florence Crittenden Home, 1981 – 83
  • Election Judge, Pct. 403, Harris County, Texas, 1976
  • Precinct Chairman, Pct. 403, Harris County, Texas, 1974 – 76


  1. ^ Rogers, Brian; Roma Khanna (November 5, 2008). "Lykos wins Harris DA as Bradford's early lead vanishes". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Lykos Wins DA Run-Off Election". FOX News Houston. April 9, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
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  8. ^ The majority of the juveniles accepted in the program and successfully completing are minorities.
  9. ^ 2009 Year in Review, P. 9, Harris County District Attorney Office. From March 2, 2009 through January 31, 2014: 7,707 juveniles successfully completed the program and did not re-offend; 4220 are minority youngsters. Total recidivist rate: 12 %, Source—Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.
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