Louis E. Sturns

Louis E. Sturns, a native of Fairview, Texas, was born and raised with four older brothers in the small rural community. He earned his bachelor of arts from Wichita State, and his doctorate in law from the University of Kansas School of Law. Upon graduation from law school, he served for three years as captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General Corps. He was honorably discharged, and afterwards entered private practice in Fort Worth, Texas, with legal and civil rights legend L. Clifford Davis. 

During the span of his long legal career, Judge Sturns experienced a few firsts, including being the first African American criminal district court judge in Tarrant County; the first African American to serve on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court for criminal cases; as well as the first African American president of the Tarrant County Bar Association.

He was elected to Criminal District Court No. 1 in Tarrant County and served for 13 years. He was then appointed to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. After serving on the high court, he returned to private practice. He later became judge of the 213th District Court in Tarrant County and served until his  retirement.

At requests made by the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, Judge Sturns presided over some of the most complicated legal cases involving other elected officials. Included among those requests was a Court of Inquiry into prosecutorial misconduct which led to major changes for rules of discovery in the state of Texas.

Judge Sturns has received numerous awards in recognition of his career accomplishments and service to country and community. Included among them are the U. S. Army Commendation Award; the NAACP Civil Justice and Humanitarian Award; the Law “Good Scout” Award from the Longhorn Council, Boy Scouts of America; the Silver Gavel Award from the Tarrant County Bar Association; the Judicial Excellence and Courage Award from the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Fort Worth Business Press. He was also named Honorary Captain of the Texas Rangers law enforcement organization.

Judge Sturns has served in various capacities on state and local boards, including the Texas Juvenile Justice Advisory Board; Texas Department of Public Safety Commission; Texas Ethics Commission; Texas Racing Commission; and Trinity River Authority Board of Directors. He is a past president of the Fort Worth Black Bar Association and a fellow of the Tarrant County Bar Foundation. He is a former board chair of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce as well as Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He now serves as a member of the Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees.

Judge Sturns is married to Marilyn W. Sturns, and the couple have four adult children, three grandsons, and one great-granddaughter.