Galveston judge wants name removed from primary ballot

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jan. 19, 2010, 6:00am


GALVESTON - A Galveston County court at law judge who sought re-election only to change his mind and retire has filed a temporary restraining order to remove his name from the ballot.

Galveston County Court No. 2 Judge C.G. "Trey" Dibrell III explains in a 15-page document that on Dec. 5, 2009, he applied for a spot on the March 2 Democratic primary ballot but chose to abandon his re-election campaign a month later.

Despite announcing his withdrawal on Jan. 4, Dibrell's name remained among a list of candidates set for ballot arrangement on Jan. 11, according to the original petition filed Jan. 12 in Galveston County District Court.

"The plaintiff intends to retire and does not want his name on the ballot," the petition states.

The case names Galveston County Clerk Mary Ann Daigle, Galveston County Democratic Party Chair Lloyd Criss and Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie as defendants.

Judge Dibrell, 63, is up against two other Democrats in the primary. One person has filed as a Republican candidate for the seat held by Dibrell for 16 years.

He cites his family as his reason for bowing out of the race.

"Over the Christmas holidays, after visiting with my family, I decided that I did not want to seek re-election and instead wanted to retire as judge at the end of my current term," Judge Dibrell said, adding he notified attorneys interested in running for his position about his plans.

"I truly intend to retire at the end of my current term and I do not want my name on the ballot."

The plaintiff gave defendant Criss a notice of withdrawal, but his name was nonetheless included in a drawing to determine ballot order, the complaint says.

It is state law for the deadline to withdraw from a primary election to be 62 days before the election. Dec. 30 was the deadline for 2010.

The suit argues that Judge Dibrell's inclusion on the March 2 Democratic Primary ballot will "cause voter confusion and cause the plaintiff to be forced to be a candidate in an election he does not want to win and he would be forced to campaign to convince voters to not vote for him."

"There is no adequate remedy at law which will give the plaintiff complete, final and equal relief because his name will remain on the ballot," it says.

Webster attorney Greg B. Enos is representing Judge Dibrell, and Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

Case No. 10cv0047

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