Darlene Byrne, Chief Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals
The Honorable Darlene Byrne has served as presiding judge of the 126th Judicial District Court in Travis County since January 2001. Prior to her election in 2000, she practiced for thirteen years as an Assistant County Attorney and in private practice, working as a litigator resolving disputes involving employment and governmental entities and commercial enterprises. She followed her passion and found her place as a judge, as her accomplishments illustrate.
After her election, Judge Byrne was appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to serve as Vice Chair of its Permanent Commission for Children and Families (where she is currently a Commissioner). More recently, as Chair of the multi-disciplinary Texas Statewide Collaborative for Trauma Informed Care, she oversaw the development of (and is particularly proud of) that group’s recently released white paper outlining the nation’s first blueprint for establishing a trauma-informed child welfare system. Judge Byrne is a member of the Travis County Juvenile Justice Board, a founding judge of the Travis County Family Drug Treatment Court and the Travis County Model Court for Children, Youth and Families.
She has been widely recognized for her contributions both locally, statewide and nationally, is a past President of the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges, as well being named Judge of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates organization (where she currently serves on its judicial advisory council). Both the Texas and Travis County CASA organizations have also named her judge of the year, and the Travis County Women Lawyers Association recognized her for outstanding achievement.
Darlene’s expertise in her field has resulted in numerous publications throughout the country, as well as television and radio coverage. Writing or speaking on various juvenile justice and family law topics, works that she authored or co-wrote have been published by The New York Times, Time, The Austin-American Statesman, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, The Boston Globe, The Courier-Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Beast, The Guardian, KXAN News, and KVUE, among others.
Darlene is the proud mother of three adult children, and lives in Austin with her husband Dan, to whom she has been married for over 27 years.