Judge in Fort Bend County arrested on suspicion of DWI

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Judge Larry Wagenbach normally oversees DWI cases, but now he's on the other side of the law.

A Fort Bend county judge has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Judge Larry Wagenbach was supposed to take the bench in Fort Bend County Tuesday morning, filling in for a judge who was unavailable, but he made arrangements for someone else to take over following his arrest.

Wagenbach retired in 2006 after 14 years of service. Ever since he's been a visiting judge, helping out where needed.

A DPS trooper pulled over Wagenbach Monday night, and the 75-year-old was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Investigators are not providing much in the way of detail about the stop. It occurred at 11:19 p.m. near Pitts Road and Hughes. That's within a couple miles of the judge's home.

"I have nothing to talk about," Wagenbach told abc13. "You woke me up. I was arrested last night if that's what you want to ask me."

"Can you tell us if you were intoxicated?" we asked.

"I have no comment on that and you'll have to talk to my lawyer," he replied.

Wagenbach saw countless cases during his time on the bench. Among them are DWI cases. He posted bond after his arrest and was then released from the Fort Bend County Jail. His arrest raises a number of legal, ethical and strategic issues.

"All people, regardless of their position, should be held to the same standard and have to clear the same protocol as everyone else. There should be no special circumstances for anyone," Fort Bend County resident Carl Burch said.

Among the issues: Can a judge who might know or work along side Wagenbach fairly oversee his case? what happens if the prosecutor on his case were to one day end up trying a different case in his court?

Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey would say only, "We are going to do the fair thing by the judge and the people of Fort Bend County in this case."

What we still don't know is specifically why the judge was pulled over in the first place. DPS has not said, other than telling us he appeared intoxicated. Sheriff's office officials say Wagenbach was taken to a local hospital for a blood draw during the arrest. We are hoping for more on that soon from DPS.
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