Petition filed to remove Grayson County Judge

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
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.

Wednesday morning a Grayson County resident filed a petition in the 397th state district court seeking to remove Grayson County Judge Bill Magers from his office. 

In the petition, John Palmer cites Section 87.013 of the Local Government Code as stating that that being intoxicated is a general ground to use to remove a county judge for his office. Palmer further says that 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.

Palmer asks that such a trial be held and that it be a jury trial. 

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

In that case, the petition states, Magers' blood alcohol reading was .277, well over the legal limit for intoxication. 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.

Grayson County court records show that Magers petitioned to have the deep lung interlock removed from his vehicle in December of that year and that the request was approved.

Palmer's petition asks the judge to remove Magers from office and appoint someone else to be county judge while Magers awaits that trial. 

Magers didn't respond to the petition on Wednesday but on Thursday his attorneys Joe Brown and Bob Jarvis issued a joint written statement.

“Between Joe Brown and I, we have almost 30 years of bi-partisan experience as elected district attorneys of Grayson County. We have never seen a case like this – where one individual is trying to take away the public’s ability to choose their County Judge. If someone wants to run against Judge Magers, they should sign up, pay the fee, and begin their campaign. They can debate Judge Magers on the job he’s done. They filed this case because they can not win on their own merits,.” said Jarvis, who is a former elected county attorney.

“This is all politics," said Brown. "In reality, I don’t believe this is John Palmer bringing this case 'pro se,' on his own. This is the political opponents of Bill Magers using unrelated events to try to score cheap political points. Judge Magers has taken responsibility for the mistakes he made. Why is this suit being brought right now, in the middle of the filing period for political office? It could have been filed any time in the last two years since Judge Magers’ arrest. It is obvious to me that there is a ghost-writing lawyer with a grudge writing a lawsuit at election time taking advantage of the Palmer family’s tragedy. The suit is frivolous and we are going to contest it and let Judge Magers keep his focus on the business of the County.”

Who is the petitioner?

Palmer is the widower of Katie Palmer a Denison school teacher who was struck and killed while the couple was on a walk in their neighborhood on the morning of April 21, 2020. John Palmer was hurt in the wreck as well. The man driving the vehicle that struck the Palmers was no billed or not indicted by a grand jury in August of that year.