Eleventh Court of Appeals
Justice W. Stacy Trotter began his service with the 11th Court of Appeals on December 3, 2020. He was elected to complete the unexpired term for Place 3 on the Court, having been unopposed in the March 5, 2020 Republican primary and the November 3, 2020 general election.
Justice Trotter was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, on January 1, 1959. He attended public schools in Midland, Texas, and graduated from Midland High School (with highest honors) in 1977. He thereafter attended and graduated from Texas Tech University (cum laude) in May 1981 and Texas Tech University School of Law in May 1984.
After graduating from law school, Justice Trotter began his legal career with the Shafer Law Firm in Odessa on September 1, 1984. He worked continuously with this firm until September 28, 2004. During his twenty-year tenure with the Shafer Firm, Justice Trotter’s practice focused primarily on civil trial defense litigation that involved numerous areas of civil trial law. He litigated countless cases in the state and federal courts of West Texas and other areas of the state. He also prepared the appellate briefs and presented the oral arguments to the appellate courts that disposed of the appeals originating from his trial practice. While in private practice, Justice Trotter appeared and argued cases before the 11th Court of Appeals sitting in Eastland, the 8th Court of Appeals sitting in El Paso, the Texas Supreme Court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
On August 31, 2004, Justice Trotter was selected by the Ector County Republican Party as the party’s candidate for election to the vacancy that existed in the 244th District Court of Ector County, Texas. After his nomination by the Ector County Republican Party, Justice Trotter was appointed to the 244th District Court vacancy by Governor Rick Perry. He was sworn into office on September 28, 2004, and was thereafter elected in the November 2004 general election to complete the unexpired two-year term for that office. Justice Trotter was reelected to the 244th District Court on November 7, 2006, and November 2, 2010, to serve separate four-year terms. He was unopposed in the 2006 and 2010 primary and general elections.
Justice Trotter returned to private practice with the Shafer Firm on January 15, 2011. He resumed his civil trial defense and appellate practice, and developed a mediation and arbitration practice. From March 2011 until December 2014, Justice Trotter mediated 382 cases, successfully resolving 93% of the cases mediated. He also arbitrated various cases, as a panel member and the sole arbitrator, and authored reasoned decisions that disposed of the parties’ disputes.
On November 4, 2014, Justice Trotter was elected to serve a four-year term as the presiding judge of the 358th District Court of Ector County, Texas. Justice Trotter was reelected to the 358th District Court on November 6, 2018, to serve a successive four-year term. He was unopposed in the 2014 and 2018 primary and general elections.
Justice Trotter was elected by his colleagues to serve for several terms as the Local Administrative Judge for the Ector County District Courts. He served in this capacity from January 1, 2006, to January 15, 2011, and from October 1, 2015, to October 1, 2020.
During his service as a district court judge, Justice Trotter was appointed by the chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court to serve as a panel member with the 11th Court of Appeals sitting in Eastland and the 10th Court of Appeals sitting in Waco. On occasions, he authored the opinions for the Court.
Justice Trotter is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. In 1994, Justice Trotter received the Martindale-Hubbell “A-V” Peer Review Rating from members of the legal profession and the judiciary. In 1997, Justice Trotter was inducted as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a charter member of the West Texas Chapter and has served as chapter president (2008–2009; 2009–2010), national board representative (2013–2015), and chapter vice-president (2017–2018; 2018–2019).
Justice Trotter is a former member of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (member of the board of directors, 1995–1997; 1997–1999; 2003–2004; 2012–2014), Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (prime member, 2011–2014), International Association of Insurance Defense Counsel (1992–2004), and the Defense Research Institute (1988–2004; 2011–2014).
Justice Trotter has served as an appointed member of the Local Civil Court Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (2011–2014) and as an appointed member of the State Bar of Texas (Judicial Section) Legislative Committee (2018–2020; 2020–2022).
Justice Trotter was the Recipient of the 2014 Heritage Foundation of Odessa Community Statesman Award in the area of Law.
Justice Trotter has been married to Teresa Gray Trotter, of Odessa, since August 11, 1984. Teresa and Justice Trotter have two adult children, Sean and Noelle, and two grandchildren. Justice Trotter and his family attend The Bridge, an affiliate church of the First Methodist Church in Odessa.
Justice Trotter is a Division I High School Basketball Official and has officiated high school basketball for twenty-three years. He was selected by the UIL to officiate in the 2012 and 2019 Texas High School Girls State Basketball Tournaments and has been selected to officiate in eleven Texas High School Regional Basketball Tournaments (Boys and Girls). Justice Trotter was also selected to officiate in the 2016 and 2017 TAPPS (Private School Division) Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournaments.
Justice Trotter is a past president and former member of the board of directors for numerous charitable, private, and service organizations. In the past, he coached Little League Baseball for eight years, Junior League Baseball for two years, YMCA Basketball for nine years, and Pop Warner YMCA Football for three years.