The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

February 12, 2013

Commissioners show support for judicial change

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Anderson County commissioners made a show of support for legislation involving the addition of Leon County to the 369th Judicial District Court during their regular meeting Monday.

According to County Judge Robert Johnston, current 369th District Court Judge Bascom W. Bentley III had approached him about the addition of the third county, Leon County, to his district.

“Judge Bentley has received the support of Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis and Leon County Judge Byron Ryder,” Johnston told commissioners. “He is asking for our support as well.”

Johnston explained that if commissioners gave their support, then a bill would have to be drawn up for this legislative session and filed by March 2 in order for the district change to be considered by lawmakers.

Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe was asked to voice any concerns he had about the issue.

“It makes sense in numbers,” the DA said. “(87th District Court) Judge (Deborah Oakes) Evans has four counties in her district — Anderson, Freestone, Limestone and Leon counties — and she works very hard at it.

“It seems to be important to Judge Bentley and if he feels like he can do it, I don’t see a problem with it.”

After approval by the court, Johnston said that he would draft a letter of support for the change.

Also on Monday, the court:

• APPROVED minutes from previous meetings, budget amendments, bills and utility crossing county roads.

• HELD a public hearing to lower the speed limit to 35 miles per hour on Anderson County Road 415 (also known as Rooster Road) and approved the measure.

• APPROVED two land use agreements for Precinct 4 Road & Bridge with Ramona Hickman for iron ore gravel and with Winston Wilson for sand.

• APPROVED the renewal of the contract with Xerox for the collection office copier at a cost of $95.01 a month and the purchase of the current copier for $55.

• APPROVED going out for bids for base stone for the remainder of 2013.

• DREW names for the Salary Grievance Committee. No action was required.

• APPROVED a raise for Benjamin Decker, a part-time employee for Precinct 2, to $12 per hour effective immediately.

• APPROVED an agreement with the Palestine Economic Development Corp for the reimbursement of legal fees not to exceed $2,500 for legal document work done by Palestine City Attorney Ron Stutes for the prospect referred to as Project PICO.

Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at