5 things to know about judge over petition to remove county judge

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Judge Ray Wheless

After weeks of speculation on what the outcome will be, Friday a district court judge will make a decision in the case wherein a local man seeks to remove the county judge from office. Chief Administrative Judge for the Region Ray Wheless will preside over the hearing after all of the local district judges asked to be recused from the case. 

Friday's hearing will not decide if Grayson County Judge Bill Magers is removed from office, only if and how the case should proceed.

Here are five things to know about the judge overseeing the civil suit to have the Grayson County Judge removed from office.

More:Judge recuses himself in county judge removal case, new judge assigned

1. Education from in and out of Texas

Wheless received his undergraduate degree from California State College and his law degree from the University of Texas.

2. Appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott 

Texas has more than 400 district courts, three of which are in Grayson County. The  courts are grouped into nine administrative judicial regions with a judge assigned to over see each region. That judge is appointed by the governor to a four-year term. Wheless was appointed in 2018 by Governor Greg Abbott to the first administrative judicial region which includes Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Kaufman and Rockwall counties. 

3. Can assign visiting judges

The Texas Courts website said that administrative judges' duties "include promulgating and implementing regional rules of administration, advising local judges on judicial management, recommending changes to the Supreme Court for the improvement of judicial administration, and acting for local administrative judges in their absence. The presiding judges also have the authority to assign visiting judges to hold court when necessary to dispose of accumulated business in the region."

4. Experience as a judge

Before being appointed to his current position, Wheless, was judge of the 366th state district court in Collin County from 2014 to 2019. Before becoming a judge, he worked as a prosecutor. 

5. Did not oversee initial DWI case

While Wheless will be overseeing the trial Friday as well as any additional proceedings if he rules that the case can continue, he was not the judge that sentenced Magers back in June of 2020. 

That case was seen by Judge Carol Siebman.

The petition for removal was originally assigned randomly to the 397th state district court, and the judge of that court, Brian Gary, asked to recuse himself from the case. It was then moved to Chief Administrative Judge for the Regional Ray Wheless.