AUSTIN (KFDX/KJTL) — A Windthorst attorney with a law office in Wichita Falls has been appointed to replace the longtime judge of the 97th Judicial District.

According to a press release, Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Patricia “Trish” Coleman Byars, of Windthorst, to the judge’s bench in the 97th Judicial District, which serves Archer, Clay, and Montague Counties.

The appointment of Coleman Byars comes after the retirement of former 97th Judicial District Judge Jack McGaughey, who turned in the gavel in May 2023 after sitting on the bench for more than a decade.

Following her appointment from Gov. Abbott, Coleman Byars thanked her predecessor for his service to the county.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Judge McGaughey for his remarkable service to the citizens of Archer, Clay, and Montague Counties,” Coleman Byars said. “Judge McGaughey is a true example of integrity and class, and I am honored to have the opportunity to follow in his footsteps.”

Coleman Byars will serve a term set to expire on December 31, 2024, or until her successor is duly elected and qualified, according to the press release from Gov. Abbott’s office.

Coleman Byars, who graduated from Midway ISD in Clay County, said she’s thrilled to serve the community she’s called home for most of her life.

“I grew up in Clay County, graduated from Midway ISD and all of my family is from Archer County,” Coleman Byars said in a press release. “My motivation for wanting this position is to serve the citizens of the district that I hold dear to my heart.  My husband and I are raising our family here and I want to ensure that the citizens of my district have faith in the judicial system.”

Casey Hall, District Attorney for the 97th Judicial District, offered remarks on the appointment of Coleman Byars.

“Congratulations to Judge Byars on such a huge honor,” Hall said on Monday, July 24. “We look forward to working with her.”

Coleman Byars is an attorney and solo practitioner of the Law Office of Trish Coleman Byars. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas and its Family Law Section, the Wichita County Bar Association, and the Tri-County Bar Association.

Coleman Byars received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Spanish from Midwestern State University. She also received a Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University. 

Additionally, Coleman Byars is the former president of the 46th Judicial District Bar Association and a former member of the Texas City Attorneys Association and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Coleman Byars is a volunteer and coach for the YMCA and a former North Texas State Hospital Ethics Committee and Death Review Committee member. Additionally, she is a former board member of the Boys & Girls Club of America, Red River Valley Museum, and the Wilbarger Humane Society.

This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as more information becomes available.