ABOVE: Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, right, swears in Precinct 7, Place 1 Justice of the Peace Reginald Fox, center, with his wife, Mary, at his side.
In a necessary move to fill the recently vacated Precinct 7, Place 1 Justice of the Peace seat left by Hilary Green, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis administered the oath of office to attorney Reginald Fox on Monday, May 21. Judge Fox replaces Green, who resigned from the position in March after 10 years on the bench. Green had faced tons of scrutiny after damning allegations came out, much of which she admitted to, regarding questionable activities she was allegedly engaged in while presiding over cases in the courtroom and in the role.
Commissioner Ellis nominated Fox on May 1 based on the recommendation of a selection committee that carefully evaluated applicants to identify the best-qualified candidate.
“You are someone who really spent your career, your lifetime, helping people who have to deal with problems in life on a regular basis,” Commissioner Ellis told Judge Fox before he was sworn in.
Judge Fox has worked his entire career as a staff attorney at Lone Star Legal Aid in the Housing and Consumer Unit, where he represented indigent clients in cases such as convictions, disputes less than $10,000 and neighborhood disputes.
“This is an awesome opportunity,” said Judge Fox at the swearing in ceremony held in the judge’s courtroom. “You don’t know how happy I am to be given this opportunity to serve. And that’s what I think this position is all about – it’s about service. If you live in Precinct 7, I work for you. If you need to see me, as long as you’re not a litigant in a case, my door will always be open.”
While no nominee can legally be required to agree not to seek the office permanently, Commissioner Ellis made it abundantly clear throughout the selection and nominating process that he did not want to appoint someone who had stated intentions to run for the office.
Instead, Commissioner Ellis envisioned the role of interim Justice of the Peace as one of a “caretaker” to look after the court and serve the people with matters in Precinct 7, Place 1 until the voters decide they want to permanently fill the position in the upcoming November election.
Later this year, each political party will nominate a candidate for the Nov. 6 election by a convention of the precinct chairs representing the precincts located within the jurisdiction. The winner will take the office permanently after the votes are canvassed.