Rockwall Judge Cathy Penn to run for Justice of Peace office


By J.J. Smith. Rockwall’s Presiding Municipal Court Judge, attorney Cathy Mason Penn, has announced her candidacy for the office of Rockwall County Justice of the Peace for Precincts 2 and 3, a post currently held by Justice Larry Holloway. 

Freelance writer, speaker and long-time community service volunteer Nancy Beaty has also announced her intention to run for this position in the March Republican Primary election.

As presiding Judge for the City of Rockwall since Oct. 2007, Judge Penn currently presides over jury trials, bench trials, pre-trials and juvenile pleas.

In her private law practice, she represents children of all ages and parents in child protection cases.     

From 1996 to 2007 she was an Assistant Criminal District Attorney in Rockwall County where she worked with both Justice of the Peace Courts as the attorney for the State in a wide range of cases, including  mental and chemical dependency commitments, dangerous dog proceedings, hearings on cruelly-treated animals, ordinance violations involving public health or safety, and class C misdemeanor violations of the Penal Code, Alcoholic Beverage Code, Health and Safety Code, Transportation Code, and Education Code.   

As the juvenile prosecutor, Judge Penn handled all juvenile offender cases, from felony cases in the 382nd District Court, to truancy cases heard in JP Court 2.  

She also provided legal representation for Rockwall County CPS and APS, obtained orders of protection for victims of domestic violence, represented the Department of Disability and Aging in guardianship actions, and prosecuted bail bond forfeitures in the Rockwall County Courts.  

According to her news release, she has attended countless legal and judicial training conferences, including programs on juvenile law, criminal law, civil procedure, domestic violence, and child protection.

As an attorney and judge, she says she has the specialized training and experience to ensure that the law is followed and all parties are treated fairly.   

“Justices of the Peace hear class C misdemeanor complaints, such as traffic tickets, and civil lawsuits up to $10,000.   For the average person, this may be the only court they will encounter.  Many people will form their trust in the judicial system at this level, therefore, the judge must be held to the highest ethical standards,” she said. 

“I believe there is a great honor to the judicial profession and I will strive to serve the public with the greatest possible accuracy and fairness.”

She added that justice is lost with the passage of time and she will work to improve accessibility of the court to the public, and the efficiency of court operations to reduce delays. 

Judge Penn holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston, where she was a member of the Order of the Lytae honor society, Managing Editor of the Corporate Counsel Review, and recipient of the AMJUR award for Legal Research and Writing. 

Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Houston, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance, earning membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. 

A resident of Rockwall for fourteen years, she lives in Chandlers Landing with her husband, Terry, and 12 year-old daughter, Lane.   

She is a former board member and officer for Helping Hands, a volunteer for the Legal Aid of Northwest Texas Rockwall legal clinics,plus has been a girl scout troop cookie mom for the past three years.  

Judge Penn is a member of the Municipal Judge and Justice of the Peace sections of the Texas State Bar, the Rockwall Bar Association, and the National Association of Counsel for Children. 

For more information, visit her website at


3 Responses for “Rockwall Judge Cathy Penn to run for Justice of Peace office”

  1. Michelle Gross says:

    I had the opportunity to take my daughter’s girl scout troop to observe Judge Penn on the bench as the Rockwall Municial Court Judge. We observed several cases. She was very patient in explaining the law to those who had no lawyers. She treated both sides very respectfully in each case– no matter what the situation. She had a very professional, yet compassionate attitude toward everyone that came before her. We felt she ruled fairly on several difficult cases. Afterward, she came down from the bench and spoke to our girls in simple, understandable terms about the judicial process. She is very knowledgable and extemely well-educated and qualified for the job of Justice of the Peace.

  2. Karen Harding says:

    Attorney Cathy Penn is right choice for Rockwall JP 2 and 3

    The Justice of the Peace performs specific judicial duties such as civil lawsuits for cases up
    To $10,000.00; felony examining trials, as well as class C misdemeanors. The JP also decides whether to issue subpoenas for felonies and misdemeanors, search warrants and much more. Whoever wins this Race will be in a position to dramatically impact the lives of many people throughout our County.

    Did you know that the JP does not have to be an attorney?

    We are fortunate to have Cathy Penn, a licensed attorney and experienced judge, running for this office. The only candidate with a law degree, Cathy has a BBA in Finance, worked for over 11 years as a Rockwall County Prosecutor and is the Presiding Judge in the Rockwall Municipal Court. Cathy has many years of experience working in both Rockwall County Justice courts as an attorney and is extremely knowledgeable about the duties of this court. She is committed to performing those duties as the law requires.

    Having known Cathy for most of the ten years we have lived in Rockwall, she is not only the most qualified candidate by her education and work experience, Cathy is an involved parent and community volunteer.

    You can see her list of achievements on her website at

    Please look CAREFULLY at your choice for Justice of the Peace for Precincts 2 & 3. Rockwall
    County deserves the most highly qualified office-holders and we feel strongly that Cathy
    Penn is the right person for the job.


    Tab and Karen Harding
    Heath, Texas

  3. Maureen Shipp says:

    I’m proud to support grassroots candidates like Cathy Penn. I’ve known her for several years and I have always found her to be a person of integrity and common sense. These attributes in combination with her education and experience make her uniquely qualified for the position of JP. I have confidence that she would perform the duties of this position with clarity, conviction, and adherence to the highest standards; and trust that she is more interested in doing what’s right instead of “playing politics”.

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