Hearing to decide what happens with petition to remove count judge set for Friday

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat

Friday a judge will decide if the civil suit to remove the county judge from office will be able to continue. There are several outcomes possible Friday including the judge throwing out the case or deciding that the case can move forward.

It is unclear whether Chief Administrative Judge for the Region Ray Wheless will set a date for a trial, if he decides that the case can move forward. It is also unclear if he will remove County Judge Bill Magers pending the trial, if he decides the case can move forward.

Here is what has taken place in the last two months.

The petition

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.

John Palmer filed the petition to remove Bill Magers as county judge back on Dec.1. 

More:Petition filed to remove Grayson County Judge

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.

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.

Bill Magers talks in Commissioners Court in 2019.

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.

More:County judge gets 12 months probation on DWI 2nd charge

More:Magers pleads guilty to DWI second

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 and politics

Magers grew up in Sherman and graduated from Austin College. He first ran for mayor of Sherman in 2005 and served three terms. He was elected Grayson County Judge in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

He is running for reelection again this year.

He has drawn as a challenger in the Republican Primary, Sherman Assistant Chief of Police for Bruce Dawsey. However, no Democrat filed for that race so whoever wins the primary will be the county judge.  

Early voting for that primary begins in just weeks on Feb. 14 and continues through Feb. 25.