Pressure building to name a judge for Sherman federal courthouse - - No One Gets You Closer

Pressure building to name a judge for Sherman federal courthouse


SHERMAN -- Pressure to hire a permanent judge at the federal courthouse in Sherman is building. The position has been empty for the past seven years.

More than 100 jobs could be on the line if, at any point, it's decided the federal courthouse in Sherman is no longer necessary.

It's happened in other cities in Texoma in the past, but now the push is on to make sure the Sherman federal building doesn't close, too.

The courthouse has one of the highest caseloads in Eastern District of Texas. However, judges from other areas of the state are carrying the weight because the court does not have its own resident judge.

"They travel 344 miles, periodically, to tend to the Sherman docket," attorney Roger Sanders said.

Sanders wants that to change.

In front of Grayson County commissioners Tuesday, he explained the reasons he believes the bench seat needs to be filled.

"If it goes forward without it being filled, there is a danger that this courthouse could be closed and positions could be moved elsewhere, FBI, the US Attorney's Office, the probation office," Sanders explained.

The position has been empty since the last person to hold the job -- the late Judge Paul Brown -- retired in 2006.

"I think our senators have tried, I think the White House has probably tried, but because they're in different parties and this has been a contentious several years, it simply hasn't happened," Sanders said.

Sanders was appointed by the Grayson Bar Association to work on finding a permanent replacement.

Tuesday, commissioners agreed it should happen, by unanimously passing a resolution to move the hiring process forward on a local level.

Two candidates from Grayson County, Judges Amos Mazzant and James Fallon, are among the list of possible replacements.

"We're hoping that it's a little bit of political pressure to keep things moving because it has sat here so long," Judge Fallon said.

Right now, the area the Sherman federal court serves splits its caseload with the federal court in Plano. Sanders says the fear is that the courts could merge in the Metroplex.

"If it doesn't happen here, then gradually what happens is the federal presence starts moving closer and closer to Dallas, and soon, it's just extinguished, and there will be only a memory of a federal presence," Sanders said.

Sanders hopes surrounding counties like Cooke, Fannin and Lamar will join the effort to name a judge.

State Senators will vet all the candidates then refer the names of those who make the cut to the White House. The White House will then send its selection back to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

The interview process begins Friday in Houston.