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Distinguished Judge Bob Brotherton Hears High Profile Murder Cases Across Texas

was a prosecutor in Texas before entering private practice and handling deserving cases.

Bob Brotherton Conducts Murder Hearing

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Judge Bob Brotherton Presides Over Murder Case

Judge Bob Brotherton, who has had a remarkable career presiding over high profile cases, heard a murder case in Wichita Falls, Texas Friday in the court he once presided over on a regular basis. An icon of Wichita Falls for decades, Judge Brotherton retired two years ago as the Presiding Judge of the 30th District Court.

Since retiring from that position, Brotherton has become a Visiting Judge, traveling across a large expanse of the Lone Star State, hearing major cases in several jurisdictions including his hometown of Wichita Falls.

Judge Denies Bond Motion In Justin Love Murder Trial

In Friday's hearing regarding bond, the judge denied the motion for bail presented on behalf of defendant Justin Love. Attorneys Melvin Horany and Mark Barber are both court-appointed to represent Love in the murder trial.

Assistant District Attorney Kyle Lesser represented the State of Texas at the hearing.

Judge Says No Date Set For Jury Trial

While the Love case is expected to end up in front of a jury, Judge Brotherton explained there is no setting yet for the jury trial. The pandemic has created valid concerns for the safety of jurors by the Texas Supreme Court.

Judge Brotherton Moves To Hurst, Texas

Judge Brotherton's move from Wichita Falls to Hurst, Texas this week, does not mean he will be absent from Wichita Falls courtrooms. Wichita County remains one of the locations he will continue to work as Visiting Judge.

Brotherton Family Has Left Mark On Wichita Falls

Citizens of Wichita Falls will be relieved Judge Brotherton will still dispense justice in this city of 105,000. The Brotherton family first moved here in the 1940s after the judge's father Paul Brotherton moved here. An outstanding athlete at LSU, Paul was signed by the Cleveland Indians baseball team. He came to Wichita Falls when he was traded to the Spudders Baseball team.

Paul Brotherton Sets Down Roots

After retiring from baseball, Paul Brotherton made his name as a basketball and tennis coach in Wichita Falls. He coached the then Midwestern University baseball and basketball teams before coaching several Rider High School tennis teams to state championships.

While doing this, he teamed up with former LSU footballer Dixie White to open up the Brotherton White Sporting Goods Store at the corner of Brook and Ninth Streets where the Frank and Joe Coffee Shop is now locatted.

White served as head football coach at Midwestern during this time.

Judge Brotherton Worked In Sporting Goods Stores

While Coach Brotherton moved the store to the location near Wichita Falls High School, Judge Brotherton recalled with fondness having the privilege of working in his dad's business which was later known as Brotherton-Evans Sporting Goods and included Bobby Evans.

Brotherton Has Heard Dallas and Tarrant County Cases

Even while living in Wichita Falls, Judge Brotherton often heard major cases in Dallas and Fort Worth Courts. His new residence in Fort Worth suburb Hurst, will not change his assignment area which includes Wichita, Archer, Clay, Montague, Jack, Wise, Young, Tarrant, Denton and Collin Counties.

Brotherton Legal Legacy Continues

Judge Brotherton's legal legacy is in good hands as son Ross Brotherton is studying hard at Creighton Law School in Omaha, Nebraska. Ross is currently preparing for mock trial. Ross has done well, finishing second in moot court competition before.

Faryion Wardrip Murder Trial

One of the most high profile cases Judge Brotherton presided over was the Faryion Wardrip capital murder trial. Brotherton has said the case that stays with him the most is the Wardrip trial. He said, "That case is still not resolved. He pled guilty, was sentenced to death, his case is still caught up in the federal writ process. There needs to be closure for the family,-people that were victims, and members of the family that were victims. It just lingers for them."

Craig Watkins Contempt Case

A high profile case Brotherton heard in Dallas was the Craig Watkins contempt case. Watkins, former Dallas County District Attorney, was held in contempt by state District Judge Lena Levario in Dallas for refusing to testify at a hearing looking into allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Watkins was acquitted after it was determined the hearing in which Watkins refused to testify should not have occurred in the first place.

After Judge Brotherton made his ruling, Watkins was quoted as saying, "I appreciate the verdict by the judge. He followed the rule of law."

Bob Brotherton

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Ceremony For Judge Brotherton

On December 14, 2018, family, friends, and colleagues gathered for a retirement ceremony honoring then 30th District Judge Bob Brotherton, according to Channel 6, TV News. At the titme, the judge said, "It's a great feeling to have this many people here. I think most of them are sorry to see me go." He then joked, "Some of them are here just to be sure that I do go."

Brotherton stood in line for an hour shaking hands with well wishers on that day. Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said, "His goal was how how can we always do things better. He's going to be missed."

A courtroom was named after Judge Brotherton in Wichita County's Juvenile Justice Center, and his portrait hangs on the wall with other previous judges on the wall of the 30th District Courtroom.

Judge Fostel Death

When Judge Brotherton retired from the 30th District Court, he indicated the death of close friend and fellow Judge John Fostel influenced his decision. Fostel was District Judge for Decatur, Texas. Brock Smith is now district judge in Decatur.

Judge Jeff McKnight succeeded Brotherton as presiding judge of the 30th.

Bob Brotherton

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Judge Brotherton Early Years

Before he became a judge, Brotherton was a prosecutor under the direction of then District Attorney Tim Eyssen. Since Eyssen retired, he has resided in Abilene, Texas.

Ross Brotherton Analyzes Wardrip Appeal

A mixture of his father presiding over the case and an A&E documentary years later caused son Ross Brotherton to follow the appeals process of the case. Ross said today, "It's been 22 years since Faryion Wardrip pled guilty, and the appeals process continues."

As an interested person, Ross receives every notice of what happens in the appeal. He explained that two of the bases for the appeal have been allegations by the defendant that his attorneys failed to call character witnesses and failed to introduce some of his prison records.

Character And Prison Evidence

Defense attorney John Curry explained the reason no character witnesses were called was because there weren't any that could be helpful. Even his own family members were not helpful. Since it was a strategy decision, the Appeals Courts have held it was not ineffective assistance of counsel.

What About Prison Records?

Wardrip also complained Curry didn't introduce prison records which showed he did some good things. However, Ross said then District Attorney Barry Macha promised to introduce prison records showing Wardrip committed Assaults and acts of violence of prison to offset whatever Curry might offer. That was deemed also not to be ineffective assistance of counsel as a strategy decision.

Case On Appeal 22 Years

So why has the case been on appeal 22 years when Wardrip pled guilty to murdering five girls? Ross explains the case has bounced back and forth between the fifth circuit and a federal court a good deal of that time.

He said, "Ultimately, it will be decided by cert to the United States Supreme Court. The Court will either ignore the cert or agree to hear it. I think what's interesting is it could be sent back to the 30th District Court to set a date for execution if it goes that way."

Perhaps it is only fitting the case could end up in the same court where it started more than two decades ago.

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