Confusion as to When Judge Chesney Must Leave the Bench

Last Friday, Juvenile Court Judge Brent Chesney announced that he would comply with state rules and resign from his position as he runs for Precinct 4 County Commissioner.

Chesney said he would stay on the bench until a replacement was found, but there is some confusion about when his resignation should take effect. That point was brought up at a Wednesday's Commissioners Court meeting by one of Chesney's rivals for the Precinct 4 seat, incumbent Joe McComb.

"My question was simply looking at the law," McComb said. "It says a judge shall resign from judicial office upon becoming a candidate in a contested election. I simply asked the question. Does that mean his resignation is effective the day he filed for office, or announced for office, or when we accept the resignation? I mean, he can continue to serve as long as he wants to. That's what the law says. Until we make a replacement, I think that's why the judge wanted to get it on the agenda, and we start doing it by the 20th."

"I'm deeply disappointed that I don't get to finish my job. That's hard," Chesney said. "But the law is the law, and I'm going to follow the law to the letter."

County Judge Loyd Neal said the county has now begun a search for an interim judge. Qualified candidates should submit resumes to the Commissioners Court by Jan. 17. An appointment could be announced as early as the Jan. 22.

Padre Island businessman Norm Baker is also running in the Republican primary for that commissioner's seat. There are no Democrats in the race.


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