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PROFILES [text of profiles from court's web site as of 9/9/09)
Chief Justice James T. Worthen
James T. "Jim" Worthen is a seventh generation Texan who was born in Conroe and grew up in Big
Sandy. He graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Texas at Tyler in 1978, and later
earned a M.A. degree from there in 1999. He received his J.D. from South Texas College of Law in
1980 and his L.L.M. from the University of Virginia in 2004. He practiced law in Tyler from 1980
through 1998, initially with the partnership of Sammons and Parker, the final twelve years with the
firm of Bain, Files, Worthen and Jarrett, P.C. From 1999 through 2002 he served the State of Texas
as a Justice on the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler. He became its Chief Justice in 2003. He served
as Chairman of the Council of Chief Justices from 2005 – 2006.
Chief Justice Worthen is Author of "The Organizational and Structural Development of Intermediate
Appellate Courts in Texas, 1892-2003" published in South Texas Law Review, Fall, 2004.
Bar memberships for Chief Justice Worthen include the State Bar of Texas, United States District
Court of the Eastern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has also been a
member of the American Bar Association since 1981. In 1986 the Texas Board of Legal
Specialization certified him as a specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law.
He has served on the Bar Journal Committee for the State Bar of Texas (1985-2001) and is a Life
Fellow for the Texas Bar Foundation. He is a Charter Fellow of the Smith County Bar Foundation
and has served on the Law Library Committee of the Smith County Bar Association since 1982.
Justice Brian Hoyle
Brian Hoyle is a life-long Texan who was born in Arlington and raised in Mansfield. He graduated
with a B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1991. He received his J.D. from
Baylor University School of Law in 1994. After clerking for Texas Farm Bureau in Waco, he served
as a law clerk to the Honorable William M. Steger, United States District Judge for the Eastern
District of Texas, in Tyler from 1994-1996. He then practiced law in Longview from 1996-2006
representing various companies in civil litigation. From 1996-2000, he was with Merriman, Patterson
& Allison, and from 2000-2006, he was with Brown McCarroll, LLP. He was made a partner with
Brown McCarroll in December 2001. He was appointed to the Twelfth Court of Appeals by Governor
Perry in August 2006, and he was sworn in as the sixteenth justice of the Twelfth Court of Appeals
on August 28, 2006. In November of 2006, Justice Hoyle was elected to serve the unexpired term of
the previous justice, Justice Diane Devasto.
Justice Hoyle is Co-Author of "Federal Preemption" published in Texas Paralegal Journal, Summer,
Bar memberships for Justice Hoyle include the State Bar of Texas, Smith County Bar Association
and Gregg County Bar Association. He is a past member of the American Bar Association, joining in
1994. He is also a past member of the Defense Research Institute and the Texas Association of
Defense Counsel. He has been admitted to practice in the United States 5th Circuit Court of
Appeals and in the United States Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of Texas.
Justice Hoyle is married to Nicole Hoyle, a licensed specialist in school psychology with Pine Tree
ISD. They have two daughters attending Pine Tree High School, Megan, a senior, and Katee, a
Justice Sam Griffith
Sam Griffith resides in Starrville on the working farm that has been in the family since 1872. He
received a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. He
received his Juris Doctorate from St. Mary's School of Law. He was a briefing attorney for Justice
Paul S. Colley of the Twelfth Court of Appeals. He was in private practice in Tyler until his
appointment as judge of the newly-created County Court at Law # 3 of Smith County, which was
designated the county's juvenile court. He was judge of the County Court at Law # 3 from August
1997 until December 1998. He returned again as partner in the Tyler law firm of Holcomb, Morrison
& Griffith from 1999 through 2000. On January 1, 2001, he began his current service on the Twelfth
Court of Appeals.
Justice Griffith is a Member of the State Bar of Texas and the Smith County Bar Association. He is
board certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a member of the
Texas Bar Association Judicial and Appellate Sections, and was a member of the Texas Bar
Association Committee on Law Focused Education from 1998 to 2004. He is admitted to practice in
the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Fifth Circuit, and the U.S. Eastern and Northern Districts of Texas.
He has been an instructor at a number of legal seminars on various legal topics, including criminal
appeals and evidentiary issues. In 1998, while he was juvenile judge, he delivered his "Now You Are
Ten, Making the Right Choices" program to over ten thousand Smith County school children.
His community involvement has included being Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Y.M.C.A.
of Tyler, Secretary and member of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Smith
County, and member of the Board of Directors of Goodwill Industries of East Texas. He has written,
has delivered, or has had published, articles on topics ranging from law to social psychology, from
farming to devotionals, and including "Debt Liability of Marital Property in Texas", published in the
Community Property Journal.