Harris County Civil Court Judge Jack Cagle was chosen from a list of more than 70 people: a "who's who" of prominent men and women who were being considered to replace Jerry Eversole. He resigned last week as part of a plea deal in his federal corruption case. County Judge Emmett told reporters that Cagle was a man who could rise above the "chit-chat" that goes on behind the scene at Commissioner's Court.
"I would be remiss if I didn't mention, having another fellow Rice graduate on Commissioner's Court, obviously is a plus."
Early in the selection process, critics had raised the question about his residence. His law practice office was in the precinct, but his previous residence was not. Judge Emmett says there is no question to Cagle's status in Precinct 4.
"If the boundaries are under litigation, which ours still are, then again, that six month requirement is waived. So, there's no question about the residency requirement at all. And I checked that before I ever started the process, just because I didn't even want to consider somebody, if they weren't going to be eligible. So, it's just a clear, there's no question about it."
County attorney Vince Ryan says based on Cagle's recent move into a new home, he is in compliance with state law.
"We feel very confident that the lines as drawn by County Commissioners, will withstand the test of both the Justice Department and any litigation."
Judge Cagle says he will miss his court family. He spent the last 11 years on the bench and called his staff the best in the nation. He says they are all aware that he now has new goals.
"My first order of business is to get my hands, elbows, knees and feet, into the day-in-day-out practices of this precinct. My goal is to try to make sure that the good things are done even better."
He says he's not planning on making alot of changes for changes sake.
"My Rice education also taught me that, it's always best to study before you start to make any action. This is a very, very important job. And so I commit to you, that I'm gonna apply all of my effort and energy to see how we can build upon all the good things a that are in this precinct, and make that level even better."
Cagle thanked Eversole for his 20 years of service, and hopes to work with him in the transition of leadership in the precinct that represents more than a million residents. He will be sworn in tomorrow morning to serve the remainder of Eversole's term which ends in November 2012. He says he plans to run for the permanent post in next year's election.