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In Chambers

| Fall 2016

(continued from previous page)

ing county cases. It was one of the first such efforts in

Texas, and was so effective that it is still used today with

only minor changes. Its success probably stemmed from

the fact that it was designed by its users.

At the same time, Judge Zimmerman drafted a bill

providing for court coordinators and staff attorneys

for the Dallas County criminal courts. He secured the

support of the Commissioners Court, who hoped it

would help alleviate the burgeoning jail population. He

then went to Austin, lobbied it through the Legislature,

and witnessed it become law in 1971 – the first such

law in Texas.

On the heels of these successes, Judge Zimmermann

drafted and lobbied into law a bill providing for the

appointment of magistrates for the criminal district

courts in the county. Skeptical colleagues told him it

would never pass constitutional muster with the Court

of Criminal Appeals. Some years later the constitution-

ality was upheld by that court without dissent. In the

early 1980s the civil district judges in Dallas County

enlisted his aid in obtaining legislation providing the

civil courts with court coordinators. Due to the efforts

of county officials and Judge Zimmermann, court co-

ordinators and staff attorneys are now commonplace

through most of the state.

Many of today’s judicial aids in Texas trace back to

Judge Zimmermann. After serving for over 16 years as

Judge of Criminal District Court 3, he served as Judge of

the 191st Civil District Court. He is, so far as is known,

the only person in Dallas County history to have served

as judge of both a criminal and a civil district court. He

then served as a Justice on the Texas Court of Appeals

for the Fifth District, and as presiding judge of the First

Administrative Region. Throughout the last 15 years of

his time on the bench, he served as a regular lecturer

on court administration at the National Judicial College

in Reno. Few judges have had such a positive impact on

judicial administration inTexas.


Judge Metcalfe is Senior Judge of Criminal District Court Two, Dallas County

Judge Marshall is Senior Judge of the 14th District Court, Dallas County



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