Former Dallas County Commissioner Justin J. “J.J.” Koch has been appointed to Criminal District Court No.2 in Dallas County, Governor Greg Abbott announced.
Koch was sworn in on Wednesday.
“I am extremely grateful for Governor Abbott and his tremendous staff for giving me this opportunity to continue serving Dallas County,” Koch told The Dallas Express. “I will work tirelessly with the good people of our criminal justice system to ensure that justice is not delayed.”
Koch previously served on the Dallas County Commissioners Court as the lone Republican. He was appointed to the Civil Service Commission and the Behavioral Health Leadership Team while serving as commissioner.
Before his tenure as a commissioner, Koch served as a prosecutor, a private practice attorney, and director of legal solutions for Thomson Reuters.
The former commissioner was defeated in the November 8 midterm election by challenger Andrew Sommerman, effectively making the entire court Democrat-run, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Redistricting prior to the election is presumed to have aided in Koch’s defeat.
Koch has voiced criticism of the criminal district court in the past.
Koch and fellow commissioner John Wiley Price accused criminal court judges of not working enough hours or disposing of enough cases, going so far as proposing to withhold the county portion of each judge’s salary until they make progress in the backlog of cases, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“Everything they have asked for, we have given them, and we have seen no change. At the very least they need to show they can knock down these numbers in the jail significantly,” said Koch at the September 6 meeting. “I don’t see them working with us in a meaningful manner until they know we mean business, ” he continued.
The Dallas Express previously reported on the looming overpopulation crisis in Dallas County Jail, where long trial wait times have driven inmate levels up past 88% of the jail’s capacity.
Following his appointment, Koch said he “cares so much about” the criminal courts.
“In no way shape or form do I want to be any part of slowing things down,” Koch said. “I’ve got to hit the ground running here this week.”
Koch will serve the remainder of Kennedy’s term, which ends on December 31, 2024, or until his successor is duly elected and qualified.