Re-ordering the BenchThe Tarrant County criminal justice system is poised for a significant makeover with the March 4 primary election looming. Four of the county’s 10 criminal court judges are retiring and taking about 100 years of combined experience with them. One longtime state district judge is retiring, and another, Sharen Wilson, stepped down last year to run for district attorney.
“This will be the biggest major shift in the criminal justice leadership, when you combine the DA race with the number of judgeships being sought,” said County Criminal Court Judge Daryl Coffey, who is among the judges retiring this year. “The DA’s office can effect systematic change better than anyone, by the way they prosecute crime and implement programs.”
The DA’s office has seen almost 50 years of relatively static leadership under former DA Tim Curry and his protégé and successor Joe Shannon, who decided not to seek re-election after controversy arose over his settlement for a sexual harassment suit in 2012, paid with county funds.