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January 23, 2014

Writ filed against court-at-law candidate

Janice Stone disputes residency ineligibility claim

CHEROKEE COUNTY — A petition for a writ of mandamus against a Cherokee County court-at-law candidate was filed Monday with Cherokee County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Rix.

According to the writ, Janice Crosby Stone does not meet the residency requirement in the rules of eligibility to run for the court-at-law 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, filed by fellow-candidate Kelley Peacock (as relator) and her attorney, John Ament, states:

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

Stone expressed surprise at the claim Wednesday, saying she has more than satisfied the residency requirement under the laws of Texas.

"I don't know what to say, I have lived in Cherokee County for 27 years of my life," Stone said. "I was born and raised in Jacksonville, and my family still lives here. I re-established my residence in Jacksonville in June, 2011."

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

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.

The writ also states that Stone listed Williamson County as her residence on paperwork to be re-commissioned as a notary public in August of 2012.

"The bottom line is Kelley Peacock is suing to try to manipulate an election to avoid having to stand before the voters. That's it. Plain and simple. This is a frivolous lawsuit, and the real issue here is why is Kelley so afraid to let the voters of Cherokee County decide this race," Stone said.

Peacock was named to fill the county court-at-law position in late 2013 after the presiding judge, Craig Fletcher, stepped down. On the ballot with Peacock and Stone, is Judge Dan Childs.

Childs said Wednesday he hopes the issue is cleared up quickly in order to assure that ballots can be properly printed in time for the election. Childs reaffirmed that a candidate is required to have lived in the county for at least two years .

Stone has one week from the writ's claim date of Jan. 20 to legally respond to the accusation.

Stone has been a practicing attorney for more than 30 years. She started her own law firm in 1988 which is still in operation after 26 years with offices in Jacksonville and in Central Texas.

 

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