Van Zandt County Judge Rhita Koches was honored by the Texas Judicial Academy last week as a Fellow of the Academy, which acknowledges accomplishments in continuing judicial education.
Judge Koches, a Tyler native, was honored at a presentation in conjunction with the Academy’s Fall Judicial Session, according to a news release. She has been honored every year since 2006.
“Because of the wide range of our judicial duties, it’s imperative that county judges stay on top of all areas of the process,” Judge Koches said. “And the academy promotes the effort to stay informed as to case law as well as new legislation.
“For example, at this conference, we discussed numerous court opinions issued just this year regarding probate matters,” she said. “It’s obviously a very fluid field that requires thorough monitoring.”
Judge Koches also has been invited to serve as a mentor and facilitator at the 2007 and 2011 Judicial Orientation for New County Judges, the release states.
Mentor/facilitators are selected to serve as a confident model or standard for the new judges and as an interpreter between the faculty and the attendees. They assist groups with discussion and interactive learning. The orientation program is held every four years and is designed to help new judges comply with the state’s mandated 30-hour continuing education requirement during their first year in office, according to the release.
“I really felt honored to be selected back in 2007 because I never had the opportunity to attend new judges training,” said Judge Koches, who was appointed to serve as county judge mid-term in 2004. “I had only been on the bench a couple of years when I was invited to serve at the Academy.”