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Ex parte Lefors – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Ex parte Lefors, 171 Tex. Crim. 229, 347 S.W.2d 254 (1961), the relator contended the trial court judge had been constitutionally disqualified to sit as a district court judge for, among other things, failing to pay his bar dues.

In rejecting this argument, the Court of Criminal Appeals noted that the trial judge had always been licensed to practice law when elected and re-elected to the bench. On assuming the bench, the Court reasoned, he ceased to be a practicing lawyer. Id.

The Court, therefore, found " no merit in the contention that Judge Lord forfeited his right to hold and perform the duties of the office of district judge when he ceased to be a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas for failure to pay dues. He was 'licensed to practice law in this State,' and had only to pay his dues (and vacate the office of judge) to resume his status as a 'practicing lawyer.'" Id.