Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

January 31, 2014

Court denies petition for writ on Stone

TYLER — A petition for writ filed to declare Janice Crosby Stone ineligible to run for the Cherokee County court-at-law seat was denied Wednesday.

The Twelfth Court of Appeals denied the petition saying the information provided did not "conclusively establish that Stone is ineligible to be a candidate ... ."

"By the court denying the writ of mandamus it puts the decision of who will be your next Cherokee County Court at Law judge back where it should be ... in the hands of the voters of Cherokee County," Stone said Thursday.

The petition, filed Jan. 20, by fellow-candidate Kelley Peacock and attorney John S. Ament claimed Stone did not meet the residency requirement in the rules of eligibility for the seat.

In order to run for the position, a candidate must have resided in the district for at least two years prior to Election Day (Nov. 4), according to the Texas Secretary of State's qualifications for office.

The writ states: "Stone has resided in Williamson County, Texas, at least since 1994, according to records of the Williamson County Appraisal District."

Stone said she previously lived in Williamson County "for many years" before returning to Jacksonville in June 2011.

"I practice law here, I live with my husband here, I go to church here and I hope to serve as Judge here," Stone added.

Peacock claims in the writ that Stone claimed to have a residential homestead in Williamson County for the year 2013 and that she voted in Williamson County in 2012.

According to documentation from the Court of Appeals in Tyler, the documentation filed in conjunction with the petition was not found to uphold legal qualifications to take Stone off the March ballot.

The court also said the document pertaining to Stone's Williamson County homestead exemption was "equally inconclusive."

Stone will remain a candidate alongside Peacock, and third candidate Dan Childs for the position.

Peacock expressed dissatisfaction in the court's decision.

"I believe Mrs. Stone's 2012 voting record in Williamson County, her 2012 sworn application for notary public indicating Williamson county residency, along with her continuing in 2013 to claim a homestead exemption in Williamson County speak for themselves," Peacock said Thursday. "I am disappointed Mrs. Stone has failed to answer these simple questions for the voters of Cherokee County."

In a letter to The Daily Progress, Childs said he felt the petition was "purely the act of an opposing candidate."

Voters will decide the position during the March 4 Republican primary election.

 

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