WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TX — Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell was reappointed by Texas Chief Justice Nathan Hecht to serve on the Texas Judicial Council, officials said Monday.
Gravell will serve through Feb. 1, 2023. He originally was appointed in September 2015 as a member of the Texas Judicial Council for a term of four years to expire on Feb. 1, 2019.
“It is the highest honor to be appointed to the Texas Judicial Council by Chief Justice Hecht,” Gravell said in a prepared statement. “I am honored to be the only county judge to serve in this role.”
Formation of the Texas Judicial Council dates to 1929, when it was created by the 41st Legislature to continuously study and report on the organization and practices of the Texas Judicial Branch. TJC is the policy-making body for the state judiciary, county officials further explained.
The TJC studies methods to simplify judicial procedures, expedite court business, and better administer justice. It examines the work accomplished by the courts and submits recommendations for improvement of the system to the Legislature, the governor and the state Supreme Court. To that end, the council receives and considers input from judges, public officials, members of the bar and residents.
Williamson County judge pleads guilty for violating his own stay-at-home order, will pay $1,000 fine
In exchange for the guilty plea, two charges related to the incident — abuse of official capacity and official oppression — are being dropped.
Originally Published; Nov. 24, 2020 | Republished by LIT; Nov. 26, 2020
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Tuesday for violating his own stay-at-home order this spring and will pay a $1,000 fine, court documents show.
During the stay-at-home order in April, Gravell was caught on camera going to his grandson’s birthday party wearing firefighting equipment from the county, an act for which a fire chief later apologized because he provided a suit to the judge that he could “not provide everyone.”
The order, issued in March, ceased all public and private gatherings outside a household or apartment unit, closed all nonessential businesses and asked residents not to travel on public transportation unless it was for essential activities. Residents faced threats of jail time or fines if they left their homes for anything other than essential business.
The incident prompted the appointment of a special prosecutor, Milam County District Attorney Bill Torrey, and an investigation by the Texas Rangers.
Torrey’s office said it could not comment on the case since it was unresolved. Bill Hines, Gravell’s lawyer, said that Gravell is the only person in the county to be prosecuted for violating the stay-at-home order.
“He does accept responsibility,” Hines said. “He made a mistake as a grandfather. He’s paying the maximum penalty for that.”
In exchange for the guilty plea, the special prosecutor is dropping two other charges related to the incident of abuse of official capacity and official oppression.
Williamson County, located north of Austin, has had just over 1,100 COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.
“While I carry the heavy public burden of guiding the policies that best protect our citizens, I am also a husband, father and grandfather,” Gravell said in a statement.
“It was in this role that I visited my 5-year-old grandson on his birthday. Pawpaw Bill made an error in judgement that County Judge Gravell deeply regrets.”
This is a violation of Texas Penal Code 39.02(a)(2) – “Abuse of Official Capacity” that is public equipment that now must be sanitized due to this stunt. At what cost?
— Robert McCabe (@AttorneyRMcCabe) April 7, 2020
Here’s LIT’s #WeThePoeple Thanksgiving Message To Y’all @RepColinAllred @JodeyArrington @RepBrianBabin @RepKevinBrady @JudgeJohnCarter @JoaquinCastrotx @RepSpeier @RepCloudTX @ConawayTX11 @JohnCornyn @RepDanCrenshaw @CuellarCampaign @RepFletcher @RepKayGranger @SenTedCruz https://t.co/U7l0f7aqBE pic.twitter.com/ZMiINtinwy
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) November 26, 2020