Well, more drama and shifting is going on in the Collin County Courts. I reported a while ago about who might be the new judges in Collin County . Since then there have been some more changes and shifting.
As before, much of this info isn’t verified, and mostly courthouse gossip. So don’t take everything at face value. No real sources, comments from participants, etc.
First off, let me explain what I believe to be the rules on Sitting Judges running for other benches. I’ve been asked this a lot. If, say, a county court judge wants to run for a District Judge bench, he or she may do one of two things. They can, a) announce now and begin the race. This however will force them to step down from their current bench. Or, b) wait until a prescribed time (I believe Jan 1) to announce. If this is done, they may retain the bench until the end of the cycle (Dec.31, 2009).
I don’t really understand why there is an arbitrary date for a Judge to announce. On one hand, they have a big advantage in the race (signs that say "Judge"on them, etc), but puts them at a disadvantage because someone who does not have a bench gets a head start. It would make more sense to not have this rule at all, or have a rule like there is for someone running for District Attorney…
Running for District Attorney has a different rule for sitting judges. If a sitting judge announces they are running for District Attorney, they must immediately resign their bench. No amount of date waiting changes it.
If the judge leaves early, the commissioners are tasked with filling the empty bench. In our county, no one seems to run against incumbents, so that person pretty much has the seat with no election.
So, lets start at the top, and work our way down this time.
John Roach has announced that he will not seek re-election. This means there is a vacancy for Collin County District Attorney. Some names are being tossed around as possible candidates for the seat. Judge Greg Willis is being recruited for the possible spot. He has not publicly in any way stated he is running, but would nonetheless seem a possible contender for the spot. Judge Willis is currently the Judge of County Court Six. Also, James "Jimmy" Angelino and K. Jefferson Bray (Jeff Bray) have both expressed interest as well. All 3 are former prosecutors. Angelino is in private practice, and Bray serves as the legal adviser for Plano Police Dept.
416 – Judge Oldner’s court. I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against him.
417 – Judge Cynthia Wheless. Her court is as Juvenile/CPS court. I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against her.
429 – Judge Jill Willis’s court. I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against her. However, if Judge Greg Willis were to become District Attorney, I imagine she will not hear criminal cases. (This is what Judge John Roach, Jr. did while his father is DA). Because there would be the switch, I guess he would start taking on criminal cases once again.
296 – Judge John Roach, Jr. I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against him. He would, however, probably begin to take on criminal cases after the election and his father is no longer District Attorney.
401 – Judge Mark Rusch – I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against him.
199 – Judge Dry – I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against him.
366 – Judge Ray Wheless – Just got appointed to the bench, and will take over within a couple of weeks. Technically, someone could run against him, but quite doubtful. I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is running against him.
219 – Open Bench – Judge Henderson has stated he is not seeking re-election. Right not, the only official name in the race is Scott Becker. The other rumored possibility is/was Judge Willis (of County Court 6). Judge Willis was being recruited to run by others to run, but has yet to make any official announcements.
County Courts are where we are going to see the most changes.
1 – Judge Mason – I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is going to run against her.
2 – Judge Lewis – I haven’t heard anything, nor do I imagine anyone is going to run against her.
3 – Open Bench – Judge Barry has announced he will not seek re-election. Several attorneys have shown interest in this bench. Barnett Walker, Lance Baxter, and Angela Tucker are among the names in the hunt for the bench.
4 – Open Bench – Judge Wheless has been appointed to the 366. So the commissioners can appoint someone to the bench. I am sure tons of people will put in for this. Technically, whoever is appointed has to re-run, but usually no one runs against the appointee. (To the dismay of some bloggers).
5 – Judge Wilson – Haven’t heard anything, and I don’t imagine anyone is going to run against him.
6 – As stated before, if Judge Willis were to choose to run for DA, or announce an early candidacy for the 219th, he would also have to resign his bench (County Court 6). It is widely accepted already that he will not be the next Judge of CC6. Because of this, several people have announced candidacy for the court. Local attorneys Shawn Ismail, Terri Green, Jay Bender, Bill Dobiyanski, and Don High. However, if Judge Willis leaves early, the commissioners could appoint someone to the bench.
Many of those seeking county court benches will probably put in for the appointments. This, of course, would take their names off of the "running for" lists. So there is a lot more left to shake out before this whole thing is done. Some have suggested that the county commissioners NOT appoint new judges. They could then allow the elections to occur (primaries in March), then appoint the winner early to fill the seat until they take office in Jan 2011. But this would leave the court open for about 6 months. Although visiting judges get the job done for week or two stretches, I’m not sure this is the best idea. But it does allow the voters to choose, which is nice.
As always, if anything on here is wrong or needs adding, let me know!