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Montgomery County Judge Back On The Job After Commission Amends Earlier Ruling

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal has had his suspension lifted. He’s still banned from performing certain functions, but those functions aren’t currently within his job duties.

County Judge Craig Doyal
County Judge Craig Doyal

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Judge Doyal after he was indicted on misdemeanor charges of violating the Open Meetings Act.

But Doyal appealed. He says his job is to run the county and not to hear legal cases. 

So why would the case of a county administrator go before the commission in the first place?

University of Houston Law Professor Emeritus Robert Schuwerk says in some of the less-populated areas, county judges still handle low-level civil matters like evictions. But in Montgomery and most other counties that’s not the case.

“Our more modern sensibilities are that the same person who is exercising a judicial function should not have responsibility for other branches of government,” says Schuwerk.

And Schuwerk says it appears the commission took that into consideration by changing its earlier ruling.

“That’s what the amended order does, is to apparently narrow the scope of the original suspension so that it only covers judicial duties,” adds Schuwerk. “Which at the moment he apparently doesn’t exercise anyhow.”

Doyal and two other commissioners are accused of improperly exchanging emails before voting to put a $280 million road bond on the ballot. That measure passed last November.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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