Wichita Falls, Texas Judge Bob Brotherton announced today, Wednesday, March 20, that he is appointing a special prosecutor in the contempt proceeding regarding Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. He announced this information in an e-mail to news media representatives today. Watkins was held in contempt of court by state District Judge Lena Levanio in Dallas for refusing to testify at a hearing looking into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
Brotherton is a native of Wichita Falls and has served as Judge of the 30th District Court also located in Wichita Falls since 1989.
Administrative Law Judge John Ovard appointed State District Judge Brotherton to hear the contempt of court case against the Dallas DA only a week ago.
Watkins was held in contempt by State District Judge Lena Levanio after the Dallas District Attorney allegedly refused to testify at a hearing where he was accused of bringing mortgage fraud charges against Al Hill as a favor to a friend and a political benefactor, according to an article in the Dallas Morning News.
Brotherton's announcement came in the form of an e-mail today to the media and reads as follows:
"I am appointing a Special Prosecutor in the Watkins contempt proceeding today. The order will be sent to the Dallas County District Clerk by overnight mail. It should be filed tomorrow, and the clerk will have that information at that time. A hearing will be scheduled once the Special Prosecutor and counsel for Mr. Watkins have had a chance to confer."
Judge Brotherton has an excellent reputation in the legal community of Wichita Falls for fairness. Prior to being sworn in as Presiding Judge of the 30th District Court of Wichita County in 1989, he served in the Wichita County District Attorney's Office under then DA Tim Eyssen as a prosecutor. He was in private practice after leaving the DA's office in Wichita Falls for several years prior to 1989.
Brotherton is noted for his sense of humor outside of the courtroom, but also for taking the cases he handles very seriously in Wichita Falls, Texas. As a former prosecutor and attorney in private practice he is uniquely qualified.
The contempt proceeding is what's known as a "de novo" hearing in legal jargon, which means both sides may present witnesses as well as other evidence at the hearing. Judge Brotherton will preside only over the contempt hearing.
The Wichita Falls judge will travel to Dallas to hear the case since Dallas County has jurisdiction over the original case.
Brotherton graduated from Wichita Falls Rider High School in 1969 where he was an outstanding tennis player. His father Paul P. Brotherton was a minor league baseball player who was talented enough to once play for the Wichita Falls Spudders. His dad also coached several of his players to tennis state championships while coaching at Rider High School.
Brotherton is an avid NASCAR fan in addition to enjoying hunting. He was close friends with the late Lloyd Ruby, who was an Indianapolis 500 legend as a racecar driver. Ruby was also a native of Wichita Falls and once finished third in the Indy 500. He led the race on several occasions.
Brotherton is a fan of NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has attended several races in person.
During his time at the helm of the 30th District Court Judge Brotherton has presided over several high profile cases. Earlier this month he sentenced a Wichita County man to 40 years in prison for child sexual abuse and 20 years for aggravated sexual assault.
He also earlier this year sentenced a day care operator in Wichita Falls to the maximum of two years in a state jail after she pleaded guilty to drunken driving with three toddlers inside her vehicle.
He has also presided over many murder cases. In the most recent one he sentenced a father to prison for life without parole for murdering his 23-month old son with a claw hammer.
Brotherton has also presided over several death penalty capital murder cases during his tenure on the bench.
Brotherton was appointed by Judge Ovard to hear the case on Wednesday, March 13, according to an article in the Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper on that same date.
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