Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 4, 2014

Hearing set in claim by JP candidate

CHEROKEE COUNTY — An April 11 court date has been set for a petition hearing filed by a local primary candidate in an upcoming Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace race.

However, one of the defendants in the lawsuit has requested a continuance.

According to documents filed with the 2nd Judicial District Clerk's office Thursday, Jacksonville attorney Mike Wallace filed the continuance on behalf of his client, Rodney P. Wallace.

Vera Foreman, the uncontested Democratic incumbent in the local March 4 primary, filed a petition March 6 against Wallace and Jerry Rix, claiming Wallace does not meet county residency requirements.

Wallace ran in the March 4 Republican

primary.

Her case is based on a candidate application filed by Wallace that states he had “continuous residence in the county … for 11 months as of the date the application was sworn.” The application reflects a Jacksonville address for Wallace.

Rix – in his role as the Republican Party county chairman for Cherokee County – signed the document, noting that the application was accompanied by an eight-page petition submitted “in lieu of filing fee.”

Foreman's petition states Wallace is ineligible to be a candidate in the primary – and therefore ineligible to be a candidate in the Nov. 4 general election – because “he was not a resident of Cherokee County for a period of six months prior to the filing deadline for primary elections, said deadline being December 9, 2013.”

The Texas Election Code requires candidates filing for a Justice of the Peace seat must reside in the territory they seek to represent “for a period of six months next preceding the filing deadline for said election,” the document points out.

Foreman's petition also states that 29 of the 57 signatures Wallace procured on a petition to be placed on the primary ballot were dated after a Nov. 13, 2014, the date Rix said he received the petition.

Judge Jerry Calhoon, the senior judge of the 349th District Court, is assigned to overhear the case. Previously, four judges had recused themselves from the case, citing either conflict of schedule or conflict of interest, according to court documents.

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