District Court Judge Travis Bryan retiring next year
272nd District Court Judge Travis Bryan, III, is not seeking re-election.
Judge Bryan has been practicing law for nearly 50 years, spending the last 11 in district court. During that time, he's heard a variety of cases. Two trials that garnered significant media coverage were the capital murder trials for Gabriel Hall and John Thuesen.
"A lot of hard decisions, you know, whether people go to the penitentiary or not. Whether to take a child away from their parents. How to divide property when there's great acrimony between two people divorcing," he said.
Judge Bryan will turn 73 next year and said the time was right to retire.
"People may wonder why I announced this a year and a half before the end of my term. It's to allow the people that are going to try to run for the position to get their ducks lined up and announce," he explained.
"I've practiced for 31 years and I have practiced all over the State of Texas. I've been in front of scores of judges and, hands down, Judge Bryan is one of the best judges I've ever been in front of," said local defense attorney Shane Phelps. He serves as the legal analyst for KBTX and worked in the Brazos County District Attorney's office.
"We are losing, with Judge Bryan retiring, pretty significant experience and some wonderful judgment," Phelps said.
He said the election for Judge Bryan's successor is something people should pay attention to.
"They make important decisions about the lives of citizens every day and so it's critical that we get somebody into office, whoever it may be, who is going to obviously take the job very seriously," he said.
“The one thing I love about Judge Bryan is he will do what he thinks is right," said Phelps.
Bryan's roots run deep. His family founded the Brazos County community that bears his name.
"Guy Bryan is actually the one that organized the town and so forth and created this space here for the courthouse as a matter of fact," recalled Bryan.
"It's a decision I feel really good about and I'll miss it in many ways but there are other things I won't miss," said Bryan.
He offered this advice to the next district judge.
"Make a call and not go with politics, but to go with what’s right," said Bryan.
The judge said he is open to filling in as a guest judge or continuing to practice law after he retires. So far, he's aware of five people who have expressed interest in running for his position.