Citizen A.C. Archer filed a voters motion just before Christmas asking the 271st District Court to reinstate suspended Precinct 4 Commissioner Terry Ross.
In the motion filed Dec. 19, Archer also requests that County Attorney James Stainton’s motion for summary judgment be denied.
Along with the motion, Archer filed a voter petition asking the court to “dismiss the temporary removal of our good and honerable (sic) county commissioner Terry Ross. That Mr. Ross be returned to the job that we the voters elected him to do.”
The petition also states that “we the voters in Precinct 4 are sure our voter rights have been violated.”
It appears there are 93 signatures on the petition, but the names are not numbered and some are difficult to read.
Archer did not return a call by press time Friday.
Just one day after Archer filed his petition, Stainton filed a second amended petition for removal, which is a follow-up to the amended petition for removal he filed in October.
In this document filed Dec. 20 with the district clerk, Stainton reinforces his argument that Ross should be removed from office without a jury trial, and he requests that Ross remain suspended until the case is resolved.
In addition to arguments previously made, he outlines another that says issues already decided by a court should not be re-litigated. He says Ross shouldn’t be allowed to “subvert the appeal process and use this civil matter to contest those issues already decided by his plea of guilt and conviction.”
“Allegations of misconduct pled in this matter are identical to those alleged by the state in the criminal case,” the petition states.
Stainton requests that Ross be stopped from “challenging or re-litigating any issue, at trial, through discovery or otherwise,” which is related to his Sept. 23 criminal conviction.
Last fall Ross pleaded guilty to abuse of official capacity greater than $20 and less than $500. The plea agreement required $500 restitution and 180 days in jail, probated for one year. The agreement also dismissed two felonies.
Stainton said in October “the game changed dramatically with the conviction.” He was unavailable for comment Friday.
After both of these documents were filed, District Judge Roger Towery on Dec. 23 set the motion for summary judgment hearing for March 19, 2014.
Ross has filed for re-election and will face challengers Gaylord Kennedy and David Stewart in the March 4 Republican primary. Towery’s ruling will have no impact on the election results.
If Ross is removed from office, whether by Towery or jury trial, it’s for the duration of his current term only. It does not affect a new term if he’s elected or prohibit him from running again.