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George Reynolds for Justice of the Peace Precinct #2

The more laws, the less justice. – Cicero (d. 43 BC)

Without laws there can be order. – An idea that can be attributed to many, libertarians and non-libertarians.

Without justice there can be no peace. – A paraphrase of a longer quote by Louis Farrakhan.

I think combining the last two as “Without laws there can be order, but without justice there can be no peace.” makes a good introduction to this post, in which I am announcing my candidacy for Justice of the Peace (Precinct 2) of Denton County.

Kinda a highfalutin campaign slogan for a down ballot office, don’t ya think? Maybe not. A Texas Justice of the Peace handles: fine only misdemeanor criminal cases, civil cases up to $10,000, evictions, truancy, marriages, arraignment of prisoners, setting bonds, other magistrate functions, and a whole bunch of administrative functions. While its true that the current Federal Income Tax legislation (for instance) will have far reaching effects on you; if you are involved in any of the matters I just listed, they are pretty darn important to you at the time.

If you want to know more about what a JP does, query your favorite web search engine with “the role of a texas jp.” Additionally, the following is a downloadable pdf put together by Judge Hayes of Tarrant County which is a good and easy read: http://assoc.cira.state.tx.us/users/0003/The%20Role%20of%20a%20Texas%20JP.pdf

The above document lists the Constitutional Qualifications to be a Justice of the Peace. I think it is telling to note that one doesn’t need a law degree to be one. This is a very good thing. We all know people whose judgement we trust and most of them are not lawyers. Life experience produces the ability to discern without too narrow a focus. A JP court is very much a people’s court (but the law still has to be followed). Our current concept of a Justice of the Peace has its origins about eight hundred years ago in England with local men deemed to be fair and just, appointed to keep the king’s peace. We still need local men and women who are fair and just.

Running for a legislative or executive branch office is easier than running for a judgeship and particularly JP. With the non-judicial offices you can take a stand, propose programs and legislation (or propose to dispose of them), oppose what your competitors espouse, and generally attack the system. Unless an incumbent judge has committed a large boo-boo and made the papers, you probably don’t know his name. With any kind of luck, you will never meet the local JP on his/her job. Unless his/her political party meets a maelstrom of opposition, the incumbent will probably win re-election.

Issues of who did what to whom (issue of fact) or who should be compensated (issue of justice) do not fall into political party categories. In short, a JP is expected to be competent, fair, and just; regardless of political affiliation. A more “establishment” elected political position, I cannot imagine.

At this time, I do not have anything to say against the Republican incumbent, nor his opponent in the primary, nor the one person running in the Democratic primary. This could change over time, but my hypothesis is that it will not.

Thus, over the coming months, I have to convince you that I can exercise good judgement. I can tell you this: to the extent that any candidate for Justice of the Peace can exercise good judgement, we all got to that ability by the same road. Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from exercising bad judgement.

I am a U.S. National Government retiree. I really dislike calling that government centralized in Washington D.C. the Federal Government because the definition of federal is a government system with a central government and regional governments (in our case States) that are equal. That ship is barely visible on the horizon. In any event, I did not retire from any State as an employee.

I was a Physical Scientist/System Engineer in the chemical agent detection arena. It is quite tempting here to say that I should be elected Justice of the Peace because I have experience in detecting “bad stuff”. However, I will exercise good judgement and attempt to relate what I did to what I want you to elect me to do.

On many projects I was what is called a Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative. The Contracting Officer (KO – why KO? – Because CO stands for Commanding Officer) is the designated person who can actually make contractual decisions for the government. My job was as the technical guy between the KO and the contractor. As such, I had to have knowledge of relevant laws, regulations, and such; write requirements documents and statements of work; and deal with attorneys and a variety of specialists (in government and out).

Before returning and graduating from college (in my thirties) and getting the above job, I managed a couple of small businesses, worked as a customer service representative and account executive for two financial companies, and was a correctional officer for four years in the State of Delaware. So yes, I have been in court a few times mostly on the non-defendant’s side of the aisle. Oh, and since this is Texas, I should mention that I used to raise horses (and chickens). The horses were a non-profit enterprise (not what we intended but the way it turned out) but the chickens would fit in the freezer.

George Reynolds

Libertarian candidate for Justice of the Peace Precinct #2, Denton County.

Without laws there can be order, but without justice there can be no peace.

David RohdeComment