Posted on Jul 24, 2019

You might not think Palo Pinto County, with about 27,000 people, would generate a tremendous number of court cases but the numbers do not lie.


29th State District Court Judge Mike Moore was this week's Mineral Wells Rotary Club guest speaker. Moore is completing his second four-year term and said he hopes to serve at least one more term, possibly two. His court hears and handles a variety of cases – criminal, civil and family law – and has plenty of those on its dockets.


Moore said after disposing of around 8,000 cases in his first seven-plus years on the bench, his 29th district courtroom currently has 1,600 pending cases total. That includes over 500 felony criminal cases, some 90 Child Protection Services cases and around 900 civil and family law cases.

"It is just an incredible number of cases we have pending," said Moore.


Citing numbers from district courts in neighboring counties including Young/Stephens, Erath and Hood, the local district court has a caseload running about 25%-30% above the others.


Moore's office includes just two other staff members – his coordinator Teresia Greenhaw and court reporter Elizabeth Bourquin.


"They are there to support me in any way they can," said Moore. "They do a great job and I am very lucky to have them."


Moore followed his father to the district court bench. His father served as a district court judge in Tarrant County. Moore attended the University of Texas-Austin where he played baseball for three years before dedicating himself toward entering law school, which he graduated from at UT.


He and his wife, Jill, are residents of Santo.


Moore said while a judge must have good knowledge and command of the law, one must also have "the right temperance, the right personality for that job."


"You can't let that job get to your head," he said. "You can't take the power that position has and let it affect your personality. You have to stay grounded as to who you are as a person, by giving people the respect they deserve and being fair and honest and not being influenced by who is before you or who is not before you. You can't let anything influence your ability to hear a case and rule accordingly based on the facts and the law."


The judge said one thing that has changed dramatically just within the last eight years he has served is the rise of social media, and the good and bad that comes from it.


"We live in a different world today," Moore said.


He said he knows as a judge he is ethically and legally bound to not let any criticism, or the fear of criticism, affect his rulings. But the nature of his job is to decide winners and losers in litigated cases – and people on the losing side typically do not like the court's decision. Some will lash out on their social media.


"That leaves me out on an island," Moore said. "I can't respond back to criticism. I am precluded from responding back or discussing cases in my court."


Moore said at the end of the day he can go home knowing he has done the best job he can in a way that has been fair to everyone involved.


Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Palo Pinto General Hospital for lunch, networking, updates on club news and events and a program of interest. Meetings are for club members, invited guests and prospective members. If you are interested in becoming a Rotarian and putting "Service Above Self," tour our website at or ask a Rotarian for an invitation or for more information.