The Austin chapter dinner on was held Thursday, November 30. Two very special awards were given. The Scott Ozmun award for judicial courage was given to Judge Julie Kocurek, who was shot by a man that was set for sentencing by her. The second award was the Richard T. McCarroll award for civility and professionalism, which was given to Mary Dietz.
New members received their membership plaques. They are: Daniel Bryne, Bridget Robinson, Ryan Squires, Laura Sharp and Melissa White.
Judge Kocurek is from Dayton, Texas and received a BA in economics at UT and her JD from St. Mary’s University School of Law, 1990. Formerly an Assistant DA for Travis County for 7 years. Kocurek is a George W. Bush appointee (1999) and became the first female district judge in Travis County. The won her first election in 2000 and then won reelection in 2004.
She was originally a Republican judge then switched to Democrat in 2006. Kocurek said she’d done some soul-searching and decided “there is no doubt that my beliefs are more in alignment with the principles of the Democratic Party.”
Today she is judge of the 390th district court in Travis county
On November 6, 2015, she was shot by a man who was to be sentenced in her court. She had 20+ surgeries and lost a finger. The was hospitalized for two months and thought about leaving the bench. She returned in February 2018 to a standing ovation from her colleagues. On April 26, 2088, the man who shot her, Chimine Onyeri, was found guilty of 17 counts, including assassination attempt.
Here is a video about Judge Kocurek and her return to the bench after the shooting.