On June 16, 2020, Carol Montgomery was re-appointed by the City Council as the Presiding Judge for the Southlake Municipal Court. She has been re-appointed as the presiding Judge in Southlake every two years since 2001.
In addition to Southlake, she has presided over the Burleson Municipal Court from 2008 to 2010 and was an associate judge for the City of Arlington from 1998 to 2000. As a Municipal Court judge, she is also a Magistrate for Tarrant County. Before coming to Southlake, she was an Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Tarrant and Bexar Counties. She holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from St. Mary’s School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Municipal Court Judges hold essential roles in the Texas judicial system. There are over 900 municipal courts in the State. In 2019, those courts saw over five million criminal cases and just over 575,000 civil cases, which result in more people coming into Municipal Courts than all other courts in Texas combined. Re-appointing a judge with experience, allows the court to maintain stability in the face of change.
However, Judge Montgomery is no stranger to change. Every two years, the Municipal Court makes adjustments based on laws passed in the State Legislature. In 2011, the court adopted a paper-lite system which required the judge to utilize an electronic case management database rather than the physical files used in prior years.
Now in 2020, with the onset of COVID-19, the court moved swiftly to implement Virtual Court, allowing defendants to have a virtual hearing with the judge to satisfy mandatory and requested court appearances. During this time, the judge quickly approved administrative changes that provided defendants more ways to satisfy appearances and judgments electronically for their citations.
When asked what her time with the City has meant to her over the years, Judge Montgomery said, “The City has changed in so many ways, but the one constant is the people…I have made life-long friendships, and I have had the honor to work with some of the most dedicated and hardworking people.”
“In the nearly two decades of service as the Presiding Judge, Carol Montgomery has provided a necessary balance of adaptability and stability for the City,” said Mayor Laura Hill. “She helps the Municipal Court maintain a high standard of excellence among the Texas municipal courts.”