Travis Bryan III, the 272nd District Court judge in Brazos County, has announced he will retire when his current term expires at the end of 2020.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Brazos County and the state of Texas since March 17, 2008, the day I was sworn in,” Bryan said.
Bryan served for five years as Brazos County’s district attorney in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and then worked for 31 years as a defense attorney.
“It’s ... I have mixed emotions about it,” Bryan said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “I’ve been full-time in the criminal justice system all of my career, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each part of it: prosecutor, defense lawyer and now judge. But I’ll be 73 years old when this next term starts, and I just feel like it’s my time to step aside and let somebody else have it for awhile.”
“I’ve been glad to have the opportunity to serve people and try to be a contributor to our community — and to use the expertise that I’ve gained on both sides of the docket to be an effective judge,” he said.
In 2008, then-Gov. Rick Perry appointed Bryan as judge, replacing Rick Davis.
Bryan said that as of Monday afternoon, five people had talked to him about their interest in running to replace him.
“I make this announcement today to clear the path for them to run to make their decisions,” Bryan said.
Bryan said he hopes that the person who replaces him holds a commitment to judicial impartiality.
“You’ve got to decide what is the right thing to do in a case based on the law and facts and rules, no matter who it helps or who it offends,” he said. “Even your friends.”
Bryan, who received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a law degree from Baylor University, served for three decades as the director of First National Bank of Bryan, which his family had owned and operated since its founding in 1862. He is a member and past president of the Brazos County Bar Association and past director of the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center.
His retirement plans include increased time with family and more time playing golf.
“I’ll probably come back and do some visiting as a judge for awhile and see how I like that,” Bryan said. “I’ll spend more time with my grandkids, play more golf and be with my wife more.”
Bryan praised the culture and community of the staff at the Brazos County Courthouse, and said that come 2021, he’ll miss seeing them so regularly.
“The people who work at the courthouse — the lawyers, the staff, the sheriff’s deputies at the gate and the janitors — that’s what I’ll miss the most, is the people,” Bryan said. “It’s a wonderful group of people.”