Politics & Government

First female Tarrant County DA sworn in

Sheriff Dee Anderson, right, swears in Sharen Wilson as Criminal District Attorney for Tarrant County before a standing-room-only crowd in the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth, TX Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015.
Sheriff Dee Anderson, right, swears in Sharen Wilson as Criminal District Attorney for Tarrant County before a standing-room-only crowd in the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth, TX Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. Star-Telegram

Former state District Judge Sharen Wilson on Thursday became the first woman district attorney in Tarrant County and pledged to overhaul the office for the first time in 42 years — since the terms of the late Tim Curry and his successor Joe Shannon.

“Our goal is to seek justice for all, for every person in our community regardless of their place in life, where they live, what their background is — it will not matter. We will be available for you when you need us,” Wilson said after she was sworn in at the Tarrant County Courthouse.

She pledged to be respectful of her “partners in law enforcement,” as well as criminal defense lawyers and laws made in Austin.

“I can tell you we will never apologize for following the letter of the law,” she said.

Tarrant County Bar Association President Michael Henry, who attended law school with Wilson, said there were few female judges and attorneys when they graduated.

“It was not a bed of roses for a lot of young female attorneys at that time who started practicing here,” Henry said. “In the area of advancing women’s position to practice law in Tarrant County, I don’t know of anyone who was a better leader for doing that.”

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley called Wilson tough, fair and compassionate.

“She will bring all those things to the DA’s office,” he said.

The office, with a budget of about $36 million. has about 325 employees, including 164 attorneys who handle some 45,000 criminal cases a year.

The district attorney serves a four-year term and is paid $193,402 a year.

In the election, Wilson pledged to “return integrity” to the prosecutor’s office and ran on her record as “Tarrant County’s toughest criminal court judge.”

Wilson won the Republican primary in March and did not face a Democrat opponent in November.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984

Twitter: @catyhirst

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