About Judge Bennett
Judge Alan Bennett was raised in Avon Park, a small town in central Florida. While there, he was an active member of the First Baptist Church. In high school, he participated in varsity tennis and band. He was co-valedictorian of his graduating class. During his junior year in high school, Judge Bennett felt called to pastoral ministry which led him to enroll at Baylor University. While at Baylor, Judge Bennett felt a different calling—a calling to serve others through the law. So Judge Bennett enrolled in the Baylor Law School.
Judge Bennett has lived in Waco nearly 40 years.
After graduating from law school, he began his legal career as a prosecuting attorney in the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office. There, Judge Bennett worked his way up the ladder from misdemeanor prosecutor, to chief misdemeanor prosecutor, to felony prosecutor. He prosecuted all manner of cases ranging from DWI’s to murder and assisted the assigned juvenile prosecutor regularly in juvenile delinquency cases. Additionally, Judge Bennett represented Child Protective Services (CPS) in cases where children had been removed from their parents for abuse or neglect. Judge Bennett also launched his appellate career while in the DA’s office, representing the State in dozens of appeals before the Waco Court of Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. While at the DA’s office, Judge Bennett became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Judge Bennett’s experiences in the DA’s office began his unique qualifications to serve as Judge of the 474th District Court which is the designated juvenile court for McLennan County and which hears jury trials in CPS cases. His work as a juvenile prosecutor taught him the procedures that apply in juvenile court. His work as a felony and misdemeanor prosecutor taught him the fundamentals of criminal law that apply virtually equally in juvenile cases which are a blend of criminal and civil law. His work representing CPS taught him the unique standards and procedures for CPS cases.
Judge Bennett next served as staff attorney for Chief Justice Rex Davis of the Waco Court of Appeals. In that position, Judge Bennett had administrative responsibilities for assigning cases among the staff and briefing attorneys assigned to Chief Justice Davis. The assigned attorneys conducted necessary research, drafted legal memoranda, and assisted Chief Justice Davis in drafting his decisions which addressed and ruled on the legal issues raised by the parties to each appeal. Judge Bennett regularly took on the most complex civil and criminal appeals assigned to Chief Justice Davis. When Chief Justice Davis left the Court, Judge Bennett assumed identical responsibilities for Justice Felipe Reyna who was appointed to the Court by Governor Rick Perry. In addition to working for Chief Justice Davis and Justice Reyna, Judge Bennett regularly collaborated with other members of the Court and judges assigned to the Court in resolving appeals.
Judge Bennett’s experiences with the Waco Court of Appeals built on his experiences in the DA’s office to enhance his qualifications as Judge of the 474th District Court. During Judge Bennett’s tenure at the Court of Appeals, he studied a wide range of civil and criminal cases and learned about many of the common (and uncommon) mistakes that trial courts make during litigation. This experience will serve Judge Bennett by helping him to avoid those mistakes and make sound rulings as a district judge.
For the last 12 years before taking office, Judge Bennett worked in private practice at Sheehy, Lovelace & Mayfield, PC where he engaged in complex civil litigation such as the West Explosion litigation; represented clients in family law cases, including CPS cases; represented accused persons in criminal cases; and represented parties in a wide array of civil and criminal appeals.
Judge Bennett’s experiences at Sheehy, Lovelace & Mayfield solidified his credentials as Judge of the 474th District Court. His experiences as a civil litigator prepared him to preside over civil jury trials that often involve complex legal issues. His experiences in representing accused persons built on his criminal law knowledge and experience and further equipped him to preside over the juvenile court. His work in family law equipped him to preside over family law cases that make up a substantial percentage of the Court’s docket. His work in CPS cases equipped him to preside over CPS jury trials where the safety and best interest of our community’s children is the primary concern.
In addition to his legal career, Judge Bennett raised 4 children—Joseph, William, Abby and Madison. Their mother Sharon passed away in 2014 from glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor. But faith, family and friends helped Judge Bennett and his children to persevere through this dark season.
Judge Bennett is also active in church and the community. He has served as a deacon and has been a leader in children’s choirs, Royal Ambassadors, Upward Basketball, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He is a member of the Central Texas Choral Society. He is a member of the McLennan County Republican Club and an auxiliary member of the McLennan County Republican Women’s PAC.