DA asks to be recused from County Judge removal case

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith leaves the 15th state district Court Monday afternoon.

The Grayson County District Attorney has asked to be recused from the civil suit to remove County Judge Bill Magers from office.

In paper work filed Dec. 22, District Attorney Brett Smith has asked someone else to represent the county in the case wherein John Palmer has sued to remove Magers from office.

"On December 1, 2021, the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney's Office received information through the media that suit had been filed by Petitioner Palmer against Respondent to remove Magers from office as the County Judge," Smith said in the motion. "Under Texas Local Government Code §87.018(d), the County Attorney shall represent the state in a proceeding for the removal of an officer. However, an actual or apparent conflict of interest exists between the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney's Office and the Respondent. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety or any potential conflict of interest, the Grayson County Criminal District Attorney's Office requests an Attorney Pro-Tem be appointed for the representation of the State of Texas in this matter."

Hunt County Attorney Calvin Grogan has agreed to serve as Grayson County Attorney Pro Tem in the case.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers in a 2019 file photo

The petition to remove Magers was filed in the 397th on Dec.1 by Palmer. It cites Section 87.013 of the Local Government Code that states being intoxicated is a general ground to remove a county judge from office. The petition further states a district judge, under Section 87.017 of the Local Government Code, can suspend an official charged with an offense under Section 87.012 until a trial can be held.

More:Petition filed to remove Grayson County Judge

As proof for the request to have Grayson County Judge Bill Magers removed from office, the petition cites the fact Magers was arrested for a driving while intoxicated 2nd charge on Feb. 19, 2020 in Grayson County.

Magers pleaded guilty to that charge in June and was sentenced to 365 days in jail probated for 12 months. 

As conditions of that probation, Magers had to pay a $4,000 fine, do 200 hours of community service work at an organization like Mothers Against Drunk Driving or Four Rivers Outreach, maintain an interlock device on his vehicle and continue with outpatient DWI treatment including taking a monthly shot that helps curb alcohol cravings and inhibits intoxication.

John Palmer stands with his mother-in-law Rhonda Dean Nail who holds a photo of Katie Palmer on the day John Palmer filed a petition to remove Grayson County Judge Bill Magers from office.

Hearing set

Both sides of the case have asked for a hearing to see if the case should go any further and that hearing is set for Jan. 14. 

The county judge seat is one of the offices up for election in the March 1 Primary. Early voting for that primary begins on Feb. 14 and continues through Feb. 25. No Democrat filed for the office so the office will be decided by the primary. Magers has filed as the incumbent in the Republican Party and has been challenged by Sherman Assistant Police Chief Bruce Dawsey.