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Henry V. Sanchez Papers

Identifier:  MSS 0473

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains the personal and legal records of Henry V. Sanchez. Legal Records pertain mostly to the trials surrounding those arrested and accused of inciting a riot during the Moody Park incident in Houston in 1978. This collection also contains digital scans of select pieces of art created by Henry V. Sanchez as well as photographs of Sanchez.


  • 1943-2013
  • Majority of material found in 1950s-1980s

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Henry V. Sanchez Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the apporpriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Henry V. Sanchez (1931-2015) is considered the longest, continually serving, Mexican American lawyer in Harris County history. Sanchez maintained his law practice in the East End of Houston, Texas since 1963. In 2013, the State Bar of Texas recognized his 50 years of valuable and meritorious service. During his service he was instrumental in founding the Mexican American Bar Association, tried numerous successful civil and criminal cases and was noteworthy for his victorious appeal in the landmark case of the State of Texas v. Rey Garza.

Sanchez was born on December 1, 1931 and grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas. During his high school years, he trained as a boxer and came within one fight of winning the golden gloves in his weight class. Sanchez was the first in his family to seek higher education and made his way to the University of Houston on the G.I. Bill. He served in the Army R.O.T.C and as an enlisted member in the U.S Army Signal Corps. He was stationed alternatively at Fort Lee, Virginia and Fort Hood, Texas. There he learned cryptography and was responsible for securing the top security codes for the bases he was stationed. He ended his enlistment at the rank of the 1st Lieutenant in 1956. While at the University of Houston Sanchez discovered a hidden calling for art and originally planned to major in Fine Arts. However, financial and family considerations compelled him to graduate with a BA and MA in Education and American History. He began a brief career in teaching and taught at Aldine High School in Houston from 1956 to 1963 teaching U.S History. He married his first wife Maria Antonieta Garcia (1936-2016) in Houston. She gave birth to three of his children: Leticia Yolanda, Maria Teresa, and Henry Jr. In 1959, Sanchez enrolled in the South Texas College of Law in downtown Houston. He successfully completed his Bachelor of Law degree in January 1963 graduating at the top of his class. Sanchez passed his Texas State Bar Exam on the first attempt and began practicing law that same year; even teaching for a time at South Texas College of Law. Sanchez established his long-term law office in 1963 and was later joined by his partner and close friend Felix E. Salinas in 1966. Coincidentally, Salinas and Sanchez met during the time they both served in the Army at Fort Lee, Virginia. They practiced law together in the same address on 7016 Canal Street in Houston. Sanchez continued to attend his office six days a week until he became ill in June of 2015.

Sanchez is noted as the lead counsel on the successful, landmark, appellate victory in the State of Texas v. Rey Garza to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. This case stemmed from the 1979 incident now known as the Moody Park Riot where a peaceful protest turned violent over a lenient verdict given to the police officers indicted for the murder of a Mexican American Vietnam veteran while held in their custody in 1978. Sanchez appealed an attempt by the State to retry the defendant Rey Garza after the State lost the initial court case. In that first trial his defendant was charged with two indictment counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer and participating in a felony riot. The State then abandoned the count of felony riot and proceeded to the jury the assault count. The jury was unable to reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared. However, when the State attempted to retry Garza on the felony riot count Sanchez appealed to the Criminal Appeals Court on the basis that this constituted "double jeopardy" and was therefore unconstitutional. The Court subsequently ruled in the affirmative by agreeing with Sanchez's arguments and barred a retrial.

Sanchez was married for a second time to the former Emily Louise Hamilton who gave birth to his fourth child Troy Victor. Despite his heavy law practice and duties Sanchez was an intense private artist, avid museum attendee, and an amateur art historian. Sanchez's paintings, watercolors, and drawings were done in impressionist and expressionist styles. Landscape, nudes, and self-portraiture were his most frequent subject matter. He was prolific in making portraits of his children and grandchildren.


A biographical history was provided by the donor, Henry G. Sanchez, and edited for this Finding Aid.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged into four series: Personal Life, Legal Career, Artwork, and Photographs.

Series 1: Personal Life

Series 2: Legal Career

Series 3: Artwork (digital)

Series 4: Photographs (digital)

Acquisition Information

Donated by Henry G. Sanchez in 2015.

Related Materials

MSS 0352.043 MASC: Moody Park Riot, MSS 1466 Moody Park Riots Papers

Henry V. Sanchez Collection
Pending Final Review
Mikaela Selley
January 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002