By Jon Schroeder

Killeen Daily Herald

GATESVILLE – Long-time 52nd District Judge Phillip Zeigler will be stepping down after his current term ends in December, but he won't be gone completely – he still hopes to serve as a visiting judge, taking some of the 52nd district caseload.

Zeigler will be succeeded in January 2009 by Assistant Coryell County Attorney Trent Farrell, the only candidate running for the position in the upcoming election.

But for the next 11 months, Zeigler will continue to hear cases – about 120 each week, he estimates.

In a prepared statement, Zeigler said he had been considering whether to run for the last two years and had already informed staff members and Coryell County lawyers of his choice.

"I want to thank the people of Coryell County for the privilege of serving as their District Attorney and District Judge. I have found my time in public service rewarding and couldn't have asked for a better career," the statement reads in part. "I look forward to sitting as a visiting judge in Coryell Court in other counties as I may be needed or assigned after retirement and will remain active in the legal community in Central Texas."

In an interview on Monday, he reiterated his statement, adding that he's looking forward to sitting as a visiting judge and pursuing other legal opportunities (he cannot plead cases).

Zeigler said he made the decision not to run for re-election because he didn't want to serve out another full term.

"I'll be 64 two weeks after my term ends," he said, adding that he decided he didn't still want to be serving full-time until he was 68.

"It was just a convenient breaking point," he said.

In addition to some legal work, Zeigler said he's looking forward to traveling – after a trip to India this fall, Zeigler is ready for more when he leaves office.

Zeigler has been 52nd district judge since 1991; he'll have served 18 years by the time Farrell takes over. Before becoming judge, he served for eight years in Gatesville as district attorney.

Contact Jon Schroeder at or call (254) 547-0428

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