WASHINGTON, August 1 -

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to honor Windi Akins Pastorini, for being named the 2012 Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year and the 2012 Harris County Criminal Lawyer of the Year. This is the latest in a long line of awards given to this extraordinary lawyer. I have known Windi for over 20 years in my work as a judge and prosecutor in Texas, I witnessed first hand Windi's passionate dedication to the law and to her clients. Those who know her best describe her as dedicated, powerful, and relentless.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington, Windi earned her law degree from the University of Texas in Austin. Windi began her legal career as a prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney's office, and then she became a trial lawyer where she has served for over 25 years. She is an advocate in every sense of the word who works passionately to defend those who are accused of crimes.

Windi's extensive knowledge of the justice system and her incredible work ethic quickly gained her respect from her colleagues in the law profession and citizens of Harris County. Over her career, Windi has a history of victories defending those charged with drug related crimes, white collar crimes, fraud and violent offenses. Her success in defending her clients has led to her inclusion into a selective group of lawyers certified to represent indigent defendants in death penalty cases in Texas. Windi has changed many lives. The fact that she was the defense lawyer has made the difference in the outcome of numerous cases.

Windi has a long history of advocating for victims. Recently, Windi defended the rights of a young 12 year old girl who had been repeatedly sexually abused by her father since she was just 6 years old. One evening, the young girl finally stood up for herself and told her father to leave her alone. After receiving threats by her father that she would ``regret her actions'', the young girl shot and killed her father later that night in fear for her life. Ms. Pastorini stood by her client and successfully fought for her right of self defense. The young girl was acquitted of murder, providing an invaluable win for abused victims everywhere.

Besides being an excellent trial lawyer, Windi drives Jeep Renegades/Wranglers. Being a Jeep owner myself, I appreciate others who drive such rugged, superior vehicles!

On behalf of the Second Congressional District of Texas, I commend this remarkable Texan for her exemplary service and dedication to Harris County and to the State of Texas. Thank you, Windi, for a lifetime of remarkable achievements within the legal community and for your steadfast commitment to representing the accused citizens of Texas in the court room. And that's just the way it is.