Judge Downey was appointed to the 295th Judicial District Court by Texas Governor William P. Clements, Jr. in April of 1988. He was re-elected to the bench without opposition in November of 1990 and served through the end of his elected term, December 1994. Choosing not to seek another term he returned to the private practice of law.
During his tenure on the bench, he tried hundreds of civil cases including commercial/business cases as well as personal injury and products liability claims. Having served as a Texas State Representative in 1979, Judge Downey was appointed as the legislative liaison to the Texas Legislature for the Harris County Civil District Judges.