Bailiff to be hired after district judge receives death threat

Bailiff to be hired after district judge receives death threat

ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - A new bailiff will soon join the Ector County Courthouse team to protect the well-being of all party's involved after a death threat was made.

446th District Court Judge Sara Billingsley walks into court on a daily basis but one verdict made a difference almost two weeks ago.

She says her court proceedings were recorded without her permission, shortly after she was sent a death threat.

The judge says no bailiff was in the courtroom during this case.

"Because were having so many jury trial here in district court. Because it's important to make sure all of our citizens are safe, we have security upstairs with the juror pool," said Billingsley.

Billingsley added that's where security belongs but she also mentioned having a large column right in front of her bench blocking her view of the door and the back of the courtroom making this one of her top security concerns.

When it comes to hiring a bailiff, she said the courthouse was initially trying to save money and that they can't do it in the middle of a fiscal year so the commissioners suggested a different idea.

"Reappropriating a bailiff from the 4th floor from one of those judges and move him down here," is what Billingsley said county commissioners suggested.

But there was a problem. By law, the 70th and the 161st courts must have a bailiff at all times.

"So that left the 358th and the 244th and I just don't think that's fair because every court is just as important as the other," said Billingsley.

There was one loophole left, laws say you can only create a new position in case of an emergency.

Billingsley said this is why she brought up the death threat made against her.

"This bailiff is not for me, it's actually for you," said Billingsley.

Billingsley said human resources has already put an ad on the Ector County Website and at the Sheriff's Office and courthouse security will help find the right candidate.

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