Oakley’s suspension will be in effect until his case is resolved or the State Commission on Judicial Conduct chooses to lift the suspension. The Burnet County Commissioners Court will appoint one of its four active members to conduct meetings in Oakley’s absence.
“I fully anticipated this, as it’s fairly automatic for anybody with ‘judge’ in front of their name under indictment,” Oakley told DailyTrib.com.
State Commission on Judicial Conduct Executive Director Jacqueline Habersham confirmed Oakley’s statement, saying the commission is very likely to suspend a judge who is indicted, especially on charges of “abuse of official capacity” or “official oppression.”
Burnet County Attorney Eddie Arredondo told DailyTrib.com that the Commissioners Court will continue to function normally in Oakley’s absence.
“Nobody is going to be the county judge,” he explained.
The commissioners will appoint one of their own during an upcoming meeting to lead court meetings and sign paperwork. The appointed commissioner will remain a commissioner, not serve as a temporary judge.
Oakley addressed the accusations against him in a written statement to DailyTrib.com.
“I’m humbled and proud to be elected by the citizens of Burnet County and am in the 17th year of that service,” his statement reads. “I’m equally honored to be elected by the members to serve on the PEC Board of Directors for the last ten years. In light of recent unfounded allegations, I wanted to offer some clarity concerning my public service which has always been in compliance with state laws.”
His statement lays out the other organizations for which he has served at the same time he has been county judge, noting that he has never had a conflict of interest in these instances. Among these boards and commissions are the Capital Area Council of Governments, Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization, Texas Association of Regional Councils, Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
“Throughout this transparent service, there has never been any overlap of agenda items considered that would require abstention,” the statement continues. “The Burnet County Attorney signs off on Commissioners’ Court agendas and attends each meeting.”
Oakley also addressed the accusation of abuse of power in using his county-issued vehicle to conduct non-county business.
“As defined by and at the direction of the Burnet County Auditor (Karin Smith), use of a county issued vehicle to interact with public serving entities like LCRA, PEC, CORIX, Frontier, TxDOT, TDEM, etc., is well within the approved usage of a vehicle as it is serving a public purpose,” he stated.
He also addressed the “tampering with evidence” charge by citing language in public transportation code 600, which states that hazardous material “shall” be removed from the roadway. He said this justified his moving of a piece of bumper from the road in the 2021 accident.