Local lawyers and judges took their talents to the stage last month as a part of the Bastrop County Bar Association’s annual theatrical fundraiser.
The Cedar Creek Shootout: State of Texas vs. Orange W. Wicks was a historically accurate three-act play based on an 1889 murder case, in which the first black justice of the peace in Bastrop County was charged and later convicted following a shootout outside his courtroom that left two black men and two white men dead.
This was the fourth year David F. Bragg, an attorney and past president of the Bastrop County Bar Association, penned the script for the play.
Using research from historical records, Bragg writes the first three scenes of the production, then hands over a list of the facts of the case to the actors and let the prosecution, judge, and witnesses come up with their own questions, answers, and dialogue—modeling the process after learning experiences he had while a student at Baylor Law School.
In the three showings on April 28-30 of The Cedar Creek Shootout, the performers—including Hon. Christopher Duggan of the 423rd Judicial District Court in Bastrop County, local attorney Ernie Bogart, and attorney and Bastrop County Bar Association Vice President Bryan McDaniel, among others—acted out grand jury proceedings related to the 19th century case. The twist? The audience members served as the jurors.
After the presentation of the shaky evidence, attendees at the April 28 performance were unanimous: no indictment against the defendant, Wicks.
With proceeds from the dinner theater performances, the bar association plans to give $2,000 scholarships to five area students, $1,000 before their first years of college and $1,000 prior to their second, Bastrop County Bar Association President Caroline A. McClimon said.
Top, from left: Retired attorney Sam Damon, attorney and Bastrop County Bar Association member Ernie Bogart, and former Bastrop City Councilman Dock Jackson perform during the April 28 play.
Bottom: Hon. Christopher Duggan, judge of the 423rd Judicial District Court, speaks during the performance.