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Texas

Abbott Appoints Former GOP Commissioner J. J. Koch as Criminal Court Judge

Update: Updated at 12:30 pm with commentary by JJ Koch.

Governor Greg Abbott appointed former Republican Dallas County Commissioner J. J. Koch, who lost re-election in November, as a judge on one of Dallas County’s 17 criminal courts.

On Wednesday, Abbott announced Koch’s appointment to Criminal District Court 2, a criminal court at the Frank Crawley Criminal Courthouse near downtown Dallas.

“I am very grateful to the governor and his staff,” Koch said. Dallas Morning News. “They were very receptive to the idea that I would continue to serve the people of Dallas County.”

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Koch will replace Democrat Nancy Kennedy. In November, she got a job at Fifth District Court of Appeal, which hears criminal and civil cases in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Hunt, and Grayson counties.

Koch is the only Republican judge in the Dallas County Criminal Court. He fills the remainder of Kennedy’s term, which ends December 31, 2024.

Koch was also the only Republican on the commissioner’s court until his defeat to attorney Andrew Sommerman, a Democrat, in November. He represented District 2, which includes North Dallas, Richardson, Coppell, Carrollton, and the farm division.

“On Election Day, I was a little shocked that this part of my career came to an abrupt end,” Koch said. “I still feel like I have a lot of public service in me.”

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Koch said the criminal courts are an area he “cares a lot about”.

As commissioner, Koch criticized criminal court judges for clogging up the system by not returning to work after the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person proceedings. But state data showing criminal court judges had to decide more cases last year than before the pandemic contradicts Koch’s claims.

Koch said he really wanted to be sworn in.

“In no way or form do I want to participate in slowing things down,” Koch said. “I have to get down to business this week.”

He did not commit to running in the 2024 court election, saying he needed to consider it.

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