Wortham announces judicial candidacy

Baylor Wortham At his official announcement on the courthouse steps.

Giving up a career as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, lifelong Beaumont resident Baylor Wortham has announced his bid for Jefferson County’s 136th District Court bench, which will be vacated at the end of the current term by retiring Judge Mickey Shuffield.

“My entire career I’ve always been in service to my community,” Wortham told The Examiner about his foray into politics, having served as a federal prosecutor since 2009 following a three-year prosecutorial stint in the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. “This will just get me back at the Jefferson County Courthouse.”

Wortham said he is optimistic about the change, but changing professions at this point was not without its challenges.

“Due to the Hatch Act,” which prevents federal employees from seeking public office, he said, “I had to resign from the job that I love.”

Wortham’s last day as an Assistant U.S. Attorney was Oct. 20.

“I was trying a case in Lufkin when I learned that Shuffield was retiring,” Wortham said. “I knew this is what I wanted to do, but right then, I had to finish a job that I started.”

At his official announcement held on the courthouse steps Tuesday, Oct. 27, Wortham told those gathered that he will continue the stellar public service already provided to the public in Shuffield’s court.

“From the very first day of my legal career, I have always sought to improve my community and to serve the people of Southeast Texas,” Wortham said. “During my time as state and federal prosecutor, I fought to make Jefferson County a better and safer place to live. Through my service to the State Bar of Texas, I have diligently worked to make the law accessible to those who have little or no financial means.

“As judge of the 136th court, I pledge to be fair to all those who appear before me and to always keep an open mind. I also pledge to assist my fellow Jefferson County judges by volunteering to take on the overflow of criminal and family law cases when my court is not in trial. With the help and support of ... this community, I hope to have the privilege of serving as your next judge.”

“There’s a lot that I’m able to bring to the table,” Wortham said of his potential judgeship. “I love this community, and I know I can be a positive and effective addition to the courthouse.”