Costa grew up in Richardson and received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. He then earned a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999. At UT Law School, he served as Editor in Chief of the Texas Law Review,
Prior to attending law school, he taught elementary school from 1994 to 1996 in Sunflower, Miss., through the Teach for America program.
From 1999 to 2000, Costa served as a law clerk to Judge Raymond Randolph in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and served a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist from 2001 to 2002.
Costa also worked as an associate at Weil Gotshal & Manges law firm in Houston In 2005, he left private practice and joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Judge Costa served there as a prosecutor in the Major Offenders and Major Fraud sections.
His highest-profile prosecution has been the case against Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford, who was found guilty on 13 of 14 counts including fraud, obstructing investigators and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
For his work on the Stanford prosecution, Costa received the John Marshall Award for Performance in Prosecuting White Collar Crime—the Department of Justice’s highest award for specialized areas of legal performance.
He joined the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas as a judge in 2012 after a nomination from President Barack Obama to fill the seat vacated by John Rainey.
His nomination to the federal bench came with bipartisan support, including support of Texas’ two Republican senators, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison.
On Dec. 19, 2013, Obama nominated Costa to fill the vacant seat on the Fifth Circuit due to Judge Fortunato Benavides assuming senior status.
Contact and Phone Numbers
515 Rusk St., Room 4627
Houston, TX 77002