HCDO FOP 39 Legal Services

The Harris County Deputies’ Organization FOP 39 is dedicated to providing quality legal counsel to members when they are involved in course and scope incidents that can trigger disciplinary action or off duty incidents when the members are acting in a legal capacity. Representation includes all administrative hearings (Sheriff’s hearings, Peer review hearings, civil service hearings, and F-5 appeals), civil lawsuits where a member is a defendant, and in all matters involving allegations against a member arising out of job-related incidents – including grand jury and other criminal proceedings. The legal services provided to HCDO FOP 39 members are comprehensive and invaluable. The legal staff is always available to meet the needs of the membership.

HCDO FOP 39 Legal Team
Bob Thomas
General Counsel

Bob Thomas has been a licensed attorney in Texas for the past 27 years. He has represented Texas Peace Officers in Federal and State Civil and Criminal District Court trials. Bob has also represented hundreds of officers in IAD investigations, arbitration hearings, civil service appeals, grievance hearings, and contract arbitrations. He is licensed in the Southern Federal District Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Bob is also a licensed mediator and a TEA arbitrator.

Prior to Bob's legal career, he served twenty years with the Houston Police Department and honorably retired at the rank of Sergeant. Bob worked 13 years in the Patrol and Narcotics Divisions. He retired as an evening shift Patrol Sergeant. While employed at HPD, Bob was the founding President of the Houston Police Patrolmen's Union, a director of the HPOU, a Trustee of the Houston Police Pension System, and appointed by the Governor as a TCLEOSE Commissioner.

Joshua Normand

Joshua has experience representing law enforcement members in civil, criminal, and administrative courts and is a tireless advocate for HCDO members. He handles all aspects of member services and is an integral advisor for the Executive HCDO board. He has experience handling member statements, grievances, and investigations as well as representing members in F-5 appeals and before civil service. Joshua has on several occasions assisted and advised the HCDO board at meetings of the Texas Law Enforcement Council in Austin, an organization dedicated to advocating for law enforcement at the Texas state level.

Joshua Normand received a bachelor degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Joshua practices tax law and does federal and business tax preparations. He also practices criminal law, family law, and small business law. He has extensive experience practicing in state court and state administrative hearings as well as in Federal Tax Court.

Robin McIlhenny

Robin began her legal career working for civil firms practicing complex civil litigation in both state and federal court. Robin has civil trial experience, winning a top 10 civil trial verdict for Texas in 2015 with a $1.3 million dollar judgment. She has experience doing criminal and civil appeals, appearing before the Texas Supreme Court as well as numerous State Appellate Courts. Robin handles all aspects of matters that pertain to member interests including IAD investigations, administrative grievances, civil service, and she represents members being sued in Federal Court.

Robin received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, graduating with a degree in History with Tier II (Highest) Honors from the Honors College with minors in International Studies and Legal Studies. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin School of Law and studied international criminal law, terrorism, economics, and finance at Queen Mary University of London. She has worked in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C.

Nicole DeBorde

Nicole is a criminal defense attorney and trial lawyer handling state and federal criminal matters, with extensive experience in public integrity and use of force matters, at all phases from investigation through trial with over 23 years’ experience. She can often be seen in her role as legal analyst on major national networks, including Fox, CNN and MSNBC as well as in frequent speaking engagements. Nicole was selected by Best Lawyers as 2017’s Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense for the Houston area. She has been honored by being selected by Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer several years running.  She served as a prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney's Office from 1994 through 2002, where she served in the public integrity/civil rights division. She has been in private practice as a criminal defense lawyer since 2002 and is frequently asked to represent officers and deputies. She strongly believes aggressive advocacy involves integrity and extreme preparation


Nicole received her BBA from the University of Houston and her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center. Recently, she proudly assisted as an Associate Producer for the documentary film An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story.  Her hard work for her clients nets positive outcomes and, for this reason, she is trusted legal advisor to many, including fellow attorneys, officers and public officials facing criminal accusations.

Bill Exley

Bill was licensed to practice law in Texas in November 1997.  He worked as a briefing attorney at the 7th District Court of Appeals in Amarillo, Texas in 1998 and 1999.   He then worked at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney beginning in June, 1999.  Throughout his career as a prosecutor, Bill was assigned to a number of different positions within the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, including the Felony Trial Bureau, the Juvenile Division, the Grand Jury Division, and the Asset Forfeiture Division.  Bill spent almost three years in the Major Offenders Division of the Special Crimes Bureau.  Bill prosecuted over a hundred jury trials in his almost 18 years as a prosecutor.  Bill was Division Chief in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and has extensive supervisory and training experience.  He also has extensive experience assisting law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offenses, including Capital Murders, Murders, Aggravated Kidnappings, and Aggravated Robberies.


Bill received his B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University in May 1994 and he received his law degree from Texas Tech School of Law in 1997. In private practice, Bill handles criminal defense matters, with his primary caseload being felony offenses.

Wes Rucker

Wes worked for the Harris County District Attorney for ten years and now operates his own private practice focusing on criminal defense. He has served as a felony district court chief prosecutor, as chief prosecutor for white collar crimes, and chief prosecutor for the Major Offenders Division. He has prosecuted over 65 first-chair jury trials, including 12 first-chair homicide cases and capital murder cases. He has worked side by side with police officers and others members of law enforcement in prosecuting all levels of criminal offenses.  Wes has experience drafting search warrants, cell phone location orders and homicide investigations. He previously served on the Police Shooting Team and has made numerous police shooting scenes.  He is intimately familiar with police shooting investigations and how to prepare and protect a peace officer for the stress that follows a shooting.

Wes received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York City and obtained his law degree from South Texas College of Law. He is board certified in criminal defense law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Maritza Antu

Maritza joined the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in 2005 and in more than 11 years as a prosecutor, she worked in various divisions within the office. She served as Chief Prosecutor in the 178th Criminal District Court and as a Chief Prosecutor in the Public Integrity Division. Maritza has tried everything from misdemeanor cases to capital murders. As a supervisor of other prosecutors, she handled hundreds of additional criminal cases of all types, including violent offenses like capital murders, aggravated robberies and sexual assaults. Maritza’s work as a prosecutor earned her the distinction as a “Legal Leader on the Rise” in Texas Lawyer Magazine in 2013.

Maritza graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and attended law school at the University of Houston Law Center. Maritza, who is fluent in Spanish, started her own law practice in January 2017. Part of her practice involves working with low-risk and non-violent offenders struggling with substance abuse issues who can be successfully reintegrated into society with the proper supervision.

Justin Keiter

Justin spent 11 years as a Harris County District Attorney. Justin was a Felony Chief Prosecutor and spent three years as the Chief Prosecutor of Major Narcotics. He's tried almost 100 jury trials including high profile Capital Murders and prosecuted the woman who killed Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Jesse Valdez III. Justin is now in private practice as the founder of The Keiter Law Firm, PLLC.

Justin graduated from Southern Methodist University where he graduated with a double major in Journalism and Political Science. Justin attended South Texas College of Law Houston where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in the top 5 percent of his class. Before attending law school, Justin was an award winning investigative TV reporter for KXXV in Waco, Texas. Justin is honored to be a part of this exceptional group and ready to fight for the men and women who put their lives on the line for the residents of Harris County.

Daniel Werlinger

Daniel is a trial attorney who is board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Daniel founded the Werlinger Law Group PC, which specializes in criminal defense and personal injury. Prior to going into private practice, Daniel served as a prosecutor at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office where he worked as a Chief in the felony trial bureau. During his time as a supervisor, he and his team of prosecutors and support staff handled aggravated felonies such as capital murder, murder, robbery, and sexual assault, along with an array of non-violent felonies. Daniel has worked many of his cases from the crime scene all the way to trial, having worked in both the Vehicular Crimes and Civil Rights Divisions during his tenure as a prosecutor. Daniel is honored and excited to continue working with the deputies of Harris County.

Daniel earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Texas A&M University and earned his law degree, cum laude, from South Texas College of Law.

For questions about the legal coverage or for member assistance, please call the office at 713-659-00005 , or via email at this link

Legal Services are only available to active members of HCDO. 

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