When attorney Bob Wortham began his career in public service more than 40 years ago, it was in the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office. Now after serving as a district court judge and a U.S. attorney, Wortham is coming full circle and running to lead the office where he first started.
Wortham stepped down as judge of the Jefferson County 58th District Court, where he has served since 2006, to run for Jefferson County District Attorney.
As the Democratic nominee, Wortham will face Republican Perry Thomas, an assistant district attorney, in November.
He said the ethics guidelines for Texas judicial candidates requires him to resign as judge while he runs for district attorney.
“One of the things I will miss is working with so many different people,” Wortham said at a going away party March 17 at the Jefferson County Courthouse. “I’ve had the opportunity to handle many different cases. I enjoy that diversity.”
Wortham has left his mark on the young attorneys he encounters as well.
“He was always encouraging,” said attorney Barrett Lindsay. “He made it easy for young lawyers to adjust to the practice of law.”
Attorney John Pat Parsons echoed Lindsay’s sentiment.
“You might think of judges as off-limits, but Judge Wortham’s door is always open. He is always willing to work with you,” he said.
Wortham began in the DA’s office in 1972 under District Attorney Tom Hanna. In 1980, he was appointed as judge of the 60th District Court. He also served as a visiting judge for the 58th, 317th and 279th courts, and other district courts throughout the state.
For 12 years, Wortham served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.
In addition, Wortham says he was in private practice for 19 years in both civil and criminal litigation.
Wortham is a graduate of Beaumont High School and Lamar University. He received a law degree from Baylor University Law School, and remains an active alumni.