Barbara Walther

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Barbara Walther
Barbara Walther.jpg
Court Information:
Texas District 51
Title:   Judge
Active:   1993-Present
Past position:   Family law master, 7th Judicial Administrative Judicial Region
Past position 2:   Attorney in private practice
Personal History
Party:   Republican
Undergraduate:   University of Texas at Austin
Law School:   Southern Methodist University
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
Position:  Place 3
State:  Texas
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  No
Primary date:  3/4/2014
Primary vote:  39.6%DefeatedD

Barbara Walther is the judge for District 51 in Texas. She was elected to the court in 1992 and was most recently re-elected on November 6, 2012, to a term that expires in 2016.[1]

Walther ran unsuccessfully for election to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (Place 3) in 2014.[2]



See also: Texas judicial elections, 2014
Walther ran for election to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Primary: She was defeated in the Republican primary on March 4, 2014, receiving 39.6 percent of the vote. She competed against Bert Richardson.[2][3][4]

Judicial poll

Below are the results of the 2014 judicial poll, conducted by the State Bar of Texas, which asked attorneys to cast a vote in favor of their preferred candidate in each appellate race.[5]

Place 3 Judge
Candidate: Votes:
Mark Bennett 2083
John Granberg 1802
Bert Richardson 2166
Barbara Walther 2115


Walther has been endorsed by the following organizations, as listed on her campaign website:

  • Roy Robb, Texas Director of Probation Services
  • "C" Club of Houston
  • Dallas Morning News
  • DFW Conservative Voters
  • Harris County Courtroom Observers
  • Longview News-Journal
  • Longview News Journal
  • San Angelo Standard Times
  • State Representative Drew Darby, 72nd District
  • State Representative (and former district judge) Tryon D. Lewis of Odessa
  • Texas Bipartisan Justice Committee
  • Texans for Lawsuit Reform
  • Texas Patriots PAC
  • The Association of Women Attorneys of Houston
  • Vote Smart Texas
  • The Eagle
  • United Republicans of Harris County[6]


Walther was re-elected without opposition to the 51st District Court.[1]

See also: Texas judicial elections, 2012


Walther received an associate degree from Stephens College. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her J.D. degree from Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law.[7][8]


Walther began her career as a private practice attorney in Dallas, Texas. She worked in this position until 1983, when she moved her practice to San Angelo. In 1987, she was appointed a Title IV-D Family Law Master for the 7th Judicial Administrative Judicial Region. She was then elected judge of the 51st District Court in 1992.[7]

Awards and associations

  • 2008: Outstanding Jurist Award, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Texas Chapter
  • 2007: Presidential Citation from State Bar President Martha Dickie
  • 2004: San Angelo Angel, San Angelo Schools Foundation
  • 1997: Named one of 85 Texas Women of Distinction, Girl Scout Councils of Texas
  • Texas Bar Foundation
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Center for the Judiciary
  • Member, Court of Criminal Appeals Education Committee
  • Faculty member, Texas Center and Judicial Section education programs
  • Community Advisory Board, Laura W. Bush Institute for Women's Health[7]

Notable cases

FLDS and Warren Jeffs child custody case

Walther was a judge on the child custody case involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) that was raided by Texas authorities after receiving an anonymous phone call that there was abuse occurring on the FLDS compound. This led to the removal of 437 children, who were found by the court to be suffering from abuse due to the group's polygamist views.[9] Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Mormon sect, was later sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage girls.[10]

Judge Walther, stated:

The court has ruled the conditions those children were in were not safe for the children.[11][12]

Scott Henson of the Dallas Morning News responded to the judge in an op-ed piece, writing:

You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16 and 19 who were pregnant or had children was evidence of systematic abuse, even though in Texas 16-year-olds can marry with parental consent. You've ruled young toddlers are in "immediate" danger because of their parents' beliefs or what might happen 15 years from now, not because anyone abuses them.[11][12]

Results following appeals

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the life sentence, plus 20 years, which Walther imposed for FLDS sect leader Warren Jeffs, following his trial.[13]

However, in a separate ruling, the Texas Supreme Court found when Walther ordered child protective services to remove 416 FLDS children from the custody of their mothers, she abused her discretion.[13]

See also

External links


TexasUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Western District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Northern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Southern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Northern District of TexasUnited States bankruptcy court, Southern District of TexasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitTexas Supreme CourtTexas Court of AppealsTexas Court of Criminal AppealsTexas District CourtsTexas County CourtsTexas County Courts at LawTexas Statutory Probate CourtsTexas Justice of the Peace CourtsTexas Municipal CourtsTexas countiesTexas judicial newsTexas judicial electionsJudicial selection in TexasTexasTemplate.jpg