UPDATE: Judge Patricia Baca Bennett has confirmed the meeting has been changed to one that will be closed to the public.

A controversial vote to overturn the will of the voters of Tarrant County will now be closed to the public after establishment judges became scared by grassroots’ anger and mobilization.

Last Thursday, Texas Scorecard broke the story about an emergency meeting called for February 20, where judges will vote on whether or not to remove all Child Protective Services cases from the 323rd District Court. Judge Alex Kim was elected to oversee this court in 2018, which specializes in child welfare and juvenile delinquency cases.

Multiple sources in Tarrant County allege CASA of Tarrant—along with CPS and Cook Children’s Medical Center—is influencing Judge David Evans, a Gov. Rick Perry appointee who oversees all district judges of Tarrant and 17 other counties in the region, to make this move. These sources say this is retribution for Kim following the law as well as his intervention to save the life of baby Tinslee Lewis.

Yesterday, County Judge Glen Whitley bemoaned the accountability being cast on the judges voting in this meeting.

Multiple sources reached out to Texas Scorecard this morning, alleging the meeting will now be closed to the public and the judges’ voting will now be driven to the courtroom of Judge Jerome S. Hennigan of the 324th District Court in the Family Law Center Court.

One of the allegations was that sheriff’s deputies will be deployed outside the courtroom; however, Sheriff Bill Waybourn informed Texas Scorecard that no additional deputies will be deployed to the location.

Texas Scorecard sent inquiries to Judges Evans, Fitzpatrick, Bennett, and Nevarez on this allegation. No response was received before publication.

If this claim is accurate, concerned Tarrant County voters may attend the public meeting on February 20 at 12:15 pm, in Judge Hennigan’s courtroom on the fourth floor of the Family Law Center at 200 E. Weatherford Street. The original location was the assembly room on the second floor at the same address. If these sources are correct, the meeting will be closed to the public and held at the new location.

Voters may also contact the district judges who will be voting on this matter.

This article has been updated since publication. 

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley: 817-884-1441; gwhitley@tarrantcounty.com
Judge David Evans: 817-884-2690
Judge John Chupp: 817-884-1992
Judge Don Cosby: 817-884-1452
Judge Wayne Salvant: 817-884-1347
Judge David Hagerman: 817-884-1908; hagermanforjudge2014@gmail.com
Judge Jesse Nevarez Jr.: 817-884-3796;  jesse@nevarezlaw.net
Judge Kenneth E. Newell: 817-884-1794; kenneth@kennethnewell.com
Judge James B. Munford: 817-884-1427
Judge Judith Wells: 817-884-1537;  judith@judgejudithwells.com
Judge Patricia Bennett: 817-884-2708
Judge Melody Wilkinson: 817-884-1460
Judge R.H. Wallace: 817-884-1452
Judge Jerry Hennigan: 817-884-1432
Judge Kimberly Fitzpatrick: 817-884-2710; Kfitzpatrick@tarrantcounty.com
Judge Josh Burgess: 817-884-2730; judge@judgejoshburgess.com
Judge Elizabeth Beach: 817-884-1351; ehbeach@tarrantcounty.com
Judge Robb Catalano: 817-884-1356; rcatalano@tarrantcounty.com
Judge Ruben Gonzalez: 817-884-2935
Judge Susan Heygood-McCoy: 817-884-2691; susan@mccoyforjudge.com
Judge Tom Lowe: 817-884-1709; tlowe@tarrantcounty.com
Judge Mike Thomas 817-884-1362
Judge Chris Wolfe: 817-884-1529
Judge Mollee Westfall: 817-884-2985
Judge Scott Wisch: 817-884-2990; swisch@tarrantcounty.com
Judge George Gallagher: 817-884-2765


Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.