By Jack Douglas Jr., CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth City Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks is seen by her supporters as a champion of economic development in her near-southeast side district, where financial needs are plenty.

A new Jack in the Box has opened up. A Walmart is planned. And fancy street lights, in parts of Hicks’ district, now light up the neighborhoods.

For those reasons, her resume is quite impressive.

So why does she have a license plate on her late-model Porsche that suggests she is a state judge when she is not?

Following this week’s city council meeting in downtown Fort Worth, CBS 11’s Arezow Doost tried to question Hicks about the matter.

“Is this your car?” Doost asked, as they stood next to the councilwoman’s Porsche Boxster. “Do you have a card?” replied Hicks.  “Are you a state judge” asked Doost. “I need to get your card,” said Hicks, again avoiding the question.

Despite being promised a business card, Hicks declined to answer any questions. Instead, she got into her car, waved goodbye, and drove off.

In a subsequent call to Hicks’ office, one of her staff members speculated that maybe the councilwoman was in a car belonging to her mother, Maryellen Hicks, indeed a former state judge in Tarrant County who left the bench 17 years ago. The elder Hicks has since worked as a visiting judge and as a mediator.

Records from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, however, show Kathleen Hicks as the owner of the car. And that triggered more questions – with no immediate answers – since the law says “State Judge” plates can only go on vehicles if a judge owns or “controls” them.

picture 1 Fort Worth Councilwoman Driving With Misleading Plates
“It doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer Trent Loftin, whose brother happens to be a state judge in neighboring Parker County.

Loftin questioned why anyone would go to the trouble of putting judge plates on their car, when they are not a judge, unless it was in hopes of getting favorable treatment from traffic cops. Such a ploy might work, he added, especially for someone in a fast car – like a Porsche.

“If you are driving down the street and you have two people speeding … I think the officer, as a courtesy, might give more discretion or more leniency to the individual with the state (judge) plates,” Loftin said.

Daryl Coffey has state judge plates on his vehicles, but for a good reason … he’s a judge, and has been for 20 years.  Coffey said he was puzzled why anyone would want judge plates. After all, he knows from personal experience they don’t stop the cops pulling over speeding motorists.  “I’ve been stopped,” the judge lamented, “two times … in the last year.”