A native Texan, Judge Jim Pruitt grew up in Houston where he worked at an oil refinery while attending college at night. He spent time in Alaska working on the pipeline and then moved to the Dallas area where he attended the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating with a degree in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Baylor Law School in 1984.
After graduation, Judge Pruitt began a general law practice and later became a partner at Kirzner & Pruitt. During that time, he became active in his community of Sunnyvale, Texas. He was a volunteer firefighter and was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, later becoming its chair. He then became the city’s prosecutor. During that time, he was instrumental in defending the town’s right to control its own density and character by actively opposing questionable zoning practices and sexually oriented businesses.
Judge Pruitt became active in Republican politics during his early years. He was selected as a delegate to the Young Republican National Convention and served on the YR National Executive Board. He has been repeatedly elected as a delegate to the State Republican Convention.
In 1994, Judge Pruitt was honored to be elected as the judge for Dallas County Criminal Court Number Two. During his eight year tenure of service to the county, Judge Pruitt was elected by his judicial peers as the Presiding Judge for three years and Local Administrative Judge for two years. As the Presiding Judge, he worked closely with the legislature regarding laws that would affect the criminal justice system and was instrumental in creating the first dedicated court in Dallas to address the issue of domestic violence. Judge Pruitt also collaborated with the Department of Public Safety to write the first regulations governing driving while intoxicated ignition interlock providers. Additionally, he was appointed to the First Administrative Judicial Region’s budget board, which covers 34 counties including both Collin and Rockwall Counties.
While on the bench, Judge Pruitt continued to be active in outside legal activities. He became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (about 1% of the lawyers in Texas are board certified in this area) and was honored to become a member of both the National Judicial College and the State Bar College. He remained active in the Dallas Bar Association and was elected as chair of the Criminal Law Section, a group whose membership includes prosecutors, judges and defense lawyers.
A dedicated believer in Second Amendment rights, Judge Pruitt was the founder and a lead lecturer for the Weapons Education Safety Training Program. This class taught weapons law and law regarding self defense and protection of property to groups including attorneys and law enforcement officers. Judge Pruitt has additionally been a member of the Dallas County DWI Task Force, the Interlock Ignition Advisory Council, the American Probation and Parole Association, and the North Texas Crime Commission. He has been courted to speak by numerous legal groups regarding various legal issues including weapons, DWI laws, Family Violence issues, and judicial ethics.
Judge Pruitt earned a reputation as a tough but fair jurist who demanded that criminal defendants pay financially for the system that was created to deal with their actions. In his eight years as a judge, he collected millions of dollars in fines and court costs from defendants. He has been lauded as a man of action who can work and communicate with people from all walks of life.
After leaving the bench, Judge Pruitt moved to Rockwall County and became the managing partner of Culpepper and Pruitt with offices in Rockwall and Dallas. When his wife, Kenda Culpepper, was elected as the Rockwall County District Attorney in 2008, he created the Pruitt Law Firm which practices in areas including mediation, family law, and intellectual property law. Jim has four children and lives in Rockwall. He and his wife are members of the First United Methodist Church of Rockwall