Suspended county judge looks on as Moran is sworn in
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Former Tyler councilman, Nathaniel Moran has been sworn in as the acting Smith County Judge. The Friday morning ceremony was held where the commissioners typically meet in the courthouse annex with U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider administering the oath to Moran.
"It is the moment when you realize this really is the opportunity to step up and serve the community of smith county and I'm prepared to do that," Moran said.
In their regularly scheduled commissioners meeting Tuesday, the court unanimously chose Nathaniel Moran to lead the county as interim judge.
Moran is a Tyler attorney at Ramey & Flock PC. He was elected three times to Tyler City Council. Moran resigned less than two weeks after being elected to his third term to move his family to the Houston area so his son, who has severe hearing loss in both ears, could attend a special school.
He is also listed on the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Discovery Science Place.
One person in attendance of the ceremony, was Joel Baker, the suspended county judge who was indicted in June. Baker stood quietly in the back of the commissioners courtroom during the ceremony and shook the hand of the acting county judge afterward.
"Judge Baker just exchanged pleasantries and again I appreciate the fact that he was willing to be here and to support my oath of office today," Moran said.
The need for an acting judge arose from the suspension of Joel Baker after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct was notified of his June 16 indictment on three counts of violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Baker filed for a post-suspension hearing to be held before the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in Austin. It is slated to be held in mid-August.
When Baker left the courtroom, he still avoided questions about his suspension, shaking his head no when asked if he had anything to say about Baker's request for the hearing concerning his suspension.
Acting Judge Moran will preside over the commissioners court and county operations until Baker's suspension is completed or the term expires in 2018. Moran said he is ready to move the county forward.
"Smith county has a bright future," Moran said. "I look forward to serving for as long as they'll have me in this position and we'll do great things for the county."
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