After more than 30 years recording the details of criminal and civil cases, Jeff M. Goodwyn may soon find himself on the other side of the bench.
Texas Ranger Jim Holland led a raid in Decatur early Friday that resulted in the arrest of Goodwyn, a court reporter in the 271st District Court in Decatur, on charges of illegal drug possession.
Goodwyn was arrested at 1:50 a.m. at a motel in Decatur after delivering methamphetamine to an undercover DPS agent, said Wise County Sheriff David Walker.
Following Goodwyn’s arrest, officers searched his home in the 1600 block of South Stratton Street in Decatur and found drug paraphernalia in the basement of the house. Officers also confiscated several computers during the raid.
In addition to Holland and other DPS officers, agents from the U.S. Secret Service and the Wise County sheriff’s office have been involved in the investigation, which has been ongoing for several weeks.
“There were no other arrests, but the investigation is continuing,” Walker said.
Goodwyn has been charged with one count of delivering between one and four grams of a controlled substance. As of Friday afternoon he was still being held in Wise County Jail under a $20,000 bond.
Goodwyn, 56, is one of the longest-serving employees in the Wise County Courthouse. He’s served in his position as court reporter for more than 30 years, including the past 19 with 271st District Judge John Fostel.
“At my age of 65, and all I’ve seen in my life, there’s not much that shocks me,” Fostel said. “But I’m shocked by this whole thing. It’s just a bad situation.
“Jeff has always been a good worker and a good employee. He may have been around this courthouse longer than anybody.”
Court reporters document the details of a trial, creating a transcript that is used in appeals and becomes a permanent legal record. They are often called upon to document other legal procedures as well, including depositions and hearings.
“They make a record of what happens in the courtroom,” Fostel said. “And in rural courthouses they end up doing all sorts of jobs.”
The 2013 Wise County budget shows Goodwyn is paid $86,000 a year as court reporter.