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Legacy on the Bench: Honoring Judge Weldon Copeland's 35 Years of Judicial Service


Legacy on the Bench: Honoring Judge Weldon Copeland's 35 Years of Judicial Service



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In a touching gathering held in the jury assembly room of the county courthouse, Judge Weldon Copeland bid farewell to a distinguished 35-year career on the bench. The retirement event, attended by 150 special guests, served not only as a sendoff but as a celebration of Judge Copeland's unwavering commitment and principled approach that defined his courtroom throughout the decades.

The prevailing sentiment among those in attendance reflected the unique nature of Judge Copeland's judicial legacy. "There aren't many judges out there like him. He's undeniably the last of a dying breed, and he will certainly be missed," said Shaunda Willey, Probate Court Coordinator. County Commissioner Duncan Webb echoed her sentiments, declaring Judge Copeland “the best probate judge in the State of Texas."

Throughout his tenure as Collin County Probate Judge, Judge Copeland held fast to a philosophy that extended beyond legal proceedings. Often managing up to 20 cases daily, he aimed not only to navigate the legal complexities but also to ensure every individual leaving his courtroom did so with clarity, dignity, and trust in the probate process. This simple, profound reminder on Judge Copeland's computer screen summarizes his conviction, "this case is the most important thing in the world at this time to the people involved in this hearing."

Judge Copeland's journey from a legal scholar born in El Paso to his distinguished career in Collin County reflects a trajectory marked by commitment and excellence. His roots trace back to The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1973 and followed it with a law degree from Texas Tech University in 1976. His early career in far West Texas set the stage for his eventual role as Plano Municipal Court Judge in 1985.

He experienced many changes in probate laws and technology through the years and always found ways to adapt to the changing landscape of the legal profession. One notable breakthrough he now reflects on with pride, the mandatory adoption of Zoom video calls due to COVID-19. Reflecting on this technological enhancement, he humorously noted, “It's really the biggest change I've experienced in Probate."

As Judge Weldon Copeland retires, his legacy remains a testament to the multifaceted nature of the legal profession and the profound impact one individual can have on the pursuit of justice. The Honorable Ray Wheless, Presiding Judge of the 1st Administrative Judicial Region, closed the retirement ceremony with perhaps the most profound words of the day stating, “Weldon Copeland is the smartest man I know, and he is also the most caring man I know."

Truly a helper to all, and an unsung hero to many, Judge Copeland has left a permanent mark on Collin County.​

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Created at 2/1/2024 9:49 AM by Derrick Jackson
Last modified at 2/1/2024 9:51 AM by Derrick Jackson