CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — County commissioners on May 12 approved appointing retired State District Judge Guilford “Gil” Jones to the position of Precinct 4 justice of the peace, officials said.
Judge Ed Cutchin, 77, announced his retirement from the position, stating his last day on the bench would be June 19. His last day in office is June 30.
Burnet County Commissioners had posted the position for a possible appointment until Jones expressed interest.
“The court decided to rescind its prior action of establishing a timeline to accept applications and have interviews on June 9,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “A scenario developed where former district Judge Gil Jones offered, in the name of public service, to fill the role of JP on a very temporary basis and with no intention of running in the future.”
Jones served as 33rd Judicial District judge from 1996 to 2012, presiding over civil and criminal cases in Blanco, Burnet, Llano and San Saba counties.
He had retired from the bench in 2012 but returned shortly to work as a mediating judge, which he said he plans to continue.
“The legal part of it will be simple for me. There are some specific justice of the peace duties that I will have to learn,” Jones said. “It will be just a scheduling issue. I will need to schedule times I’ll need to be in the justice of the peace office.”
Duties of a justice of the peace include presiding over misdemeanor cases and most civil proceedings, issuing civil processes, performing marriages, serving as a coroner, issuing search and arrest warrants and magistrating those arrested by peace officers.
Commissioners said they sought an appointee who would not file to run as a candidate for the position, giving he or she an incumbency advantage.
“I made that assurance to the court (of not filing to run for the position) in writing in the past, and I reiterated that in court on Tuesday,” Jones said. “It will be a different challenge. I’m always up for something new, and I’m glad I can assist.”
Jones is expected to serve until the next regular election in 2016.
Candidates will run for election at that time to fill the remainder of the position’s four-year term, which goes through 2018.