Judicial candidate sues to keep name off ballot

David Yates Sep. 20, 2010, 3:25pm

The Republican nominee running for the Jefferson County criminal district court judgeship has filed a temporary restraining order against the county clerk and the Texas secretary of state to keep his name off the ballot.

Beaumont attorney Rick Williams filed the TRO and request for permanent injunction Sept. 16 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to his petition, Williams put his name forth believing Criminal District Court Judge John Stevens would be confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas.

"Unfortunately, the confirmation process slowed to a virtual halt ... and Judge Stevens withdrew his name for consideration," the petition states. "Because petitioner (Williams) always envisioned the election would be for an 'open' bench, petitioner began the process to withdraw his name."

However, instead of filing his notice of withdrawal with Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, Williams filed his notice through Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry. But Williams claims that to his surprise, his name was never removed from the ballot.

Believing he "substantially complied with the intent of the election code," Williams is asking 60th District Judge Gary Sanderson to declare Guidry a "de facto" agent of the state capable of accepting his withdrawal request, court papers say.

"In light of the various statues giving the county clerk the basic responsibility for conducting county elections ... and the fact that Guidry accepted petitioner's withdrawal request, it was reasonable for petitioner to believe (Guidry) was the appropriate authority to file his withdrawal request; and, therefore petitioner substantially complied with the statutory scheme," the petition states.

Williams is representing himself.

Case No. B188-330

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