A former judicial candidate has been hired by McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson to replace a juvenile prosecutor Johnson recently fired.
Kristi DeCluitt, who was defeated in a runoff election for 19th State District Court judge by Thomas West, will start her new duties as a juvenile court prosecutor Monday, Johnson said.
DeCluitt formerly worked as a juvenile court prosecutor at the county’s Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center before moving over to the McLennan County Courthouse to work as a felony prosecutor. She later served as justice of the peace.
Most recently, DeCluitt worked as an assistant city attorney for the city of Waco. After her defeat by West, she sought appointment as 54th State District Court judge, but Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Susan Kelly to fill the unexpired term of Judge Matt Johnson, who now serves on Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals.
Kelly also ran for 19th State District judge.
DeCluitt replaces Nina Price, who DA Johnson fired. He declined to specify the reason for firing Price.
“We made a change and we made a difficult decision to terminate her employment,” Johnson said. “I really can’t say any more than that because it was a confidential personnel decision. We, of course, wish her the best of luck, but we had to make a difficult decision and make a change.”
Price declined comment Thursday. Her husband, Gabe Price, who works in the DA’s office appellate section, also declined comment on his wife’s termination.
Johnson said DeCluitt will be a good addition to his office.
“Several of the probation officers and others who were there when she was there before said she was great,” Johnson said. “It was kind of just one of these things that happen. That position came open and she was available and interested and we are glad to have her.”