Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

December 6, 2013

Fletcher resigns county court seat

JACKSONVILLE — Craig Fletcher, whose seven-year career as Cherokee County Court at Law Judge includes helping tighten laws against violent sex offenders, intends to resign his position next week, officials confirmed Friday.

The Monday meeting agenda of the Cherokee County Commissioners Court includes a measure to "consider acceptance of resignation from Cherokee County at Law Judge." The item  does not list which judge.

However, Cherokee County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Rix confirmed it is, indeed, Fletcher who is resigning.

"He gave me a letter rescinding his recent application to run for reelection," Rix said. "At his request I pulled it. He is no longer a candidate."

Rix said Fletcher did not offer an explanation and he didn't ask for one.

Neither County Judge Chris Davis nor commissioners Katherine Pinotti, Kelly Traylor, or Steven Norton immediately returned calls to comment on the issue Friday.

Cherokee County Precinct 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood said he had recently been in the hospital for pneumonia all week and had just learned about the development checking his email.

"I'm barely out of the hospital now, so I guess I'll find out why on Monday," Underwood said.

Fletcher, who as an attorney practiced family law, graduated from Texas Wesleyan University in 1994  with a doctor of jurisprudence degree.

He has no public disciplinary history, according to the State Bar of Texas.

Judge Fletcher and his wife, Amy, worked with State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, to create Texas' version of  “Justin's Law” which places employment restrictions on certain violent sex offenders as well as tougher penalties on repeat offenders.

Anyone convicted a second time of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child younger than 13, would automatically face a life sentence.

The bill is named after Justin M. Bloxom, a 12-year-old boy living in Stonewall, La. who was killed three years ago. Justin was Fletcher's stepson and the son of the judge's wife, Amy.

Versions of this bill have already have passed through the respective Louisiana and Oklahoma legislatures.


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