Dave Rogers

For The Record

Steve Parkhurst will be getting a head start, after all, at his new job as 260th District Court Judge.

The Orange attorney who ran unopposed in both March’s Republican primary and November’s general election, said Tuesday he will be sworn into office Dec. 20.

That’s 12 days before he was scheduled to be sworn in with all the other county and state officials elected last month on Jan. 1, 2019.

Gov. Greg Abbott notified Parkhurst of his appointment not long after the Nov. 6 election, Parkhurst said.

But the attorney couldn’t move to the bench before he took care of a few final cases.

“I haven’t taken the bench because I have a pretty big trial next week and I felt obligated to see that through for my client,” Parkhurst said.

Parkhurst is taking over for Judge Buddy Hahn, who officially retired June 30 after spending 36 years on the 260th District Court bench.

But for Hahn, it’s been anything but retirement since, as he continued to run the court as a visiting judge while waiting for the governor to appoint a fill-in for the final six months of his term.

“I applied for that appointment,” said Parkhurst. “In the meantime, Judge Hahn has been graciously coming in three or four times a week.”

After being appointed judge in 1982, Hahn ran for and won eight four-year terms. No one signed up to oppose him.

Parkhurst, a 1986 Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School graduate, earned a bachelor’s from Sam Houston State and graduated from South Texas College of Law in 1996.

For the past 22 years, Parkhurst has practiced law in Orange, first with Tommy Gunn, later with David Dies. He has tried family law cases, felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, civil cases and personal injury cases before juries.

He has served as President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Orange County Bar Association.

This week, he’s back in school, attending new judge conferences in Austin.

Judge Hahn will swear in Parkhurst at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 in the 128th District Courtroom at the Orange County Courthouse.

Parkhurst’s first day on the job will be Dec. 21.