Texas Judge Accidentally Resigns By Posting Future Plans Online
A civil court judge in Harris County inadvertently resigned his position after announcing future plans to run for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. Now he's counting on his supporters to help him keep his job.
Judge William "Bill" McLeod was elected to the bench of the Harris County Civil Court back in November. After less than three months on the job, McLeod set his sights on a run for the state's highest court and announced his aspirations on his website and social media. He also filed with the Texas Ethics Commission for the sake of transparency.
That turned out to be a big mistake.
The Washington Post reports that, not long after his announcements, a colleague warned McLeod that he may have violated Article 16, Section 65 of the Texas Constitution. McLeod, realizing his mistake, removed language related to this plans from his website and social media accounts and retracted his declaration. However, the Harris County Attorney's Office had already learned of the violation and were on the case.
Article 16, Section 65 is meant to prevent elected officials from using their position to campaign for other offices. To prevent ethical violations and tax payer money being wasted in such a way, the clause considers any candidate's announcement of intent to run for another office a resignation from their current position.
According to McLeod, Harris County Commissioners will hold a meeting on April 9 at which they will vote on whether or not to allow McLeod to continue to serve as judge at Harris County Civil Court at Law Number Four until a special election can take place. In a video posted to Facebook (embedded below), McLeod urged supporters to attend the meeting and stand with him.
KHOU-TV reports that some supporters are already making their voices heard. Kandice Webber told KHOU, "Our judges are human. This would not be the first time that a judge has made a mistake. I would beg the court to leave him where he is. This is where Houstonians want him. This is where Harris County wants him, and we made that very loud and clear at the ballot.”
Kandice and fellow McLeod supporter Daniel Cohen have taken to social media to encourage citizens to stand behind McLeod.