Friday, August 19, 2022 Aug 19, 2022
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John Peyton Is a Former Judge. Now He’s a Probate Lawyer. You Can Hire Him.

It's fun to catch up with people's careers.
By Tim Rogers |

This is a complicated deal. I’ve tried to explain it before. That previous effort nearly caused me to pull a hamstring. So I’m just going to repeat myself from a 2018 blog post:

If you haven’t been following the saga of John Peyton, the disgraced former probate judge, let’s see if I can break it down for you in one sentence. He slept with a lawyer who had a case in his court, and he didn’t recuse himself, which led to a D Magazine story written by Jamie Thompson, which then led to an investigation into the matter by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, in response to which Peyton resigned rather than face possible disciplinary action, but everything was cool for a bit because his fellow probate judges gave him a job as director of probate operations, whatever that is, thereby raising some serious ethical questions because the Court of Appeals sent the case at the heart of that original D story back to the lower probate courts, the ones presided over by the same judges who had rewarded their friend with that cush job. I think that about sums it up.

Well, after six months on the job, Peyton has resigned. His “notice of separation” form indicates that he quit August 16 for a personal reason.

Did you read that closely? Then you are up to speed. And that brings us to today’s update.

Peyton is now a probate attorney at the prosaically named Dallas Probate Attorneys. You know who else is a member of that group? The lawyer with whom he consorted while married to another woman, the lawyer who had a case before his court, the case from which he did not recuse himself. That lawyer’s name is Mary Burdette. There are two other Burdettes who belong to Dallas Probate Attorneys. They are Elliott Burdette and Bradford Burdette. If my math is right, that makes three Burdettes. It appears Peyton has transitioned from the bench to a bed of Burdettes.

My point here? If you have a probate case in Dallas County, why wouldn’t you hire one of the attorneys at a group that is populated by people whom the Dallas County probate court judges have shown they are partial to?

Follow-up question: is there a single judge in the Dallas County probate court system that deserves to keep his or her job? I’m sincerely open to answers to that last question.

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