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Rockwall judge upset with Rockwall Council member for public criticisms

By J.J. Smith. A Rockwall County Justice of the Peace says he is very upset with a Rockwall City Council member after recently learning that the Council Member publicly criticized him last November on his blog for not doing his job properly, for charging him with “essentially stealing taxpayer money” and for spreading what the magistrate feels were misleading and unsubstantiated rumors which may have contributed to his election defeat.

The Justice of the Peace, David Karr, said he can accept the outcome of the election but feels what Council member Matt Scott wrote on his blog at Matthew R. Scott, Rockwall City Council Member Place 5 was completely out of line, especially during an election, because it provided only partial information and “vicious rumors” which likely misinformed voters.

“I’ve never seen so many vicious rumors, low blows and outright lies in all my 26 years as a magistrate in Rockwall County,” Judge Karr said about the election March 2, when he lost to Assistant Garland Fire Chief Jack James. He said what Scott wrote was just the “tip of the iceberg.”

Judge Karr has served for 26 years as a Rockwall County Justice of the Peace and municipal court judge in Royse City, respectively.

The two-term City Council member had written that, in his opinion, Judge Karr “isn’t doing his job“, “has been derelict in his duties” and “he’s being paid to do a job, and he is not doing it.”

Scott was referring to his concerns that Judge Karr had stopped conducting any arraignments of prisoners at the County jail after moving his office to Downtown Rockwall.

“I have confirmed that Judge Karr flatly refuses to conduct ANY arraignments at the jail,” wrote the Council member. “So what started all this was the Commissioner’s Court refusing to raise Judge Karr’s automobile allowances. But what started as a feud has turned into a total fiasco. And in the end, it doesn’t matter what started this. What matters is, Judge Karr was elected to do a job—and he is not doing it.”

“Whatever his issues are with the Commissioners, Judge Karr has been derelict in his duties. His issues with the Commissioners are between him and them. But Judge Karr has handled those issues by, in my opinion, essentially stealing taxpayer money—he’s being paid to do a job, and he is not doing it. So whatever his issues are, they are not an excuse for refusing to perform his customary job duties.”

Scott also wrote he had heard stories from people who work with the JP routinely and one source in particular that the magistrate had forced one family to wait for hours to certify a death while he finished his dinner.

“If you have a loved one who passes away in their sleep, they stay in your home until the JP arrives. But word is Judge Karr responds to these calls on his own time. I have spoken with those who work with the JP routinely, and have been told of stories where Judge Karr was notified of a death while he was at dinner, and that Judge Karr arrived to certify the death hours later. This means family members had their dead loved one in their home for hours because Judge Karr could not be bothered to do his job.”

According to Judge Karr, to his knowledge, he has never made a family wait that for any reason for a death inquest.

“If I have, I did it unknowingly,” he said. “I asked Mr. Scott for the names of any families that I made wait so I could at least apologize to them, but he said he doesn’t know the names of any of them.

He said when he asked Scott who supposedly told him that he was making families wait, that the Council member would only say from “a trustworthy source,” whose name he would not reveal.

Judge Karr says that Scott’s assertion that he refuses to magistrate prisoners at the jail is correct, but that he’s never refused to magistrate anyone at his office which he said he offered to move to because the County Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Larry Holloway needed more space in the County Jail building.

“The law states that prisoners should be brought to the magistrate, not the other way around,” said Judge Karr.

He added that moving his office was obviously not a problem and “was only done with the blessing of the Commissioners’ Court” because the Court paid $6-7,000 for the move.

“It was also less expensive than creating space at the County Jail building on Whitmore.”

The JP explained that he decided to quit traveling to the jail after the move because the County Commissioners had refused to raise his car allowance so he could afford the extra mileage.

“Judge Holloway already makes $10,000 more per year than I do,” he said. “Why should I have to pay out of my own pocket? If the County Commissioners want to raise my salary or at least reimburse me for the expense, then I will gladly go to the jail to magistrate prisoners.”

Scott admits that he did criticize Judge Karr and accuse him of not doing his job correctly, although he later took down the blog post because he said he decided he didn’t need to be involved in any more election issues.

He added that he still feels the JP is not doing his job properly and that it is the primary reason why Judge Karr was not re-elected. He said that it only makes sense that a magistrate needs to go where the prisoners are.

“Many other people feel the same way,” he said.

When contacted about the Judge Karr’s move,  Rockwall Police Chief Mark Moeller said Rockwall Police have not been affected by it because police only bring prisoners to the jail, leaving the processing of prisoners to jail guards, so he has no comment about it.

Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson admitted that the JP’s move did create somewhat of a problem with processing prisoners at first but ”as with any problem that arises” they just deal with the problem and move on. He explained that Justice of the Peace Larry Holloway began taking on more cases and County Judge Chris Florance also began magistrating prisoners.

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8 Responses for “Rockwall judge upset with Rockwall Council member for public criticisms”

  1. Chris Smith says:

    Michelle S, stop with the “Good Christian” game. Every preacher caught in scandal plays that card; yet it didn’t stop them from doing all sorts of wrongs. Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Jim Baker, all were “Good Christians” when the lights were on–and something far less when the lights were out. Same thing applies for hundreds of pedophile priests. So save your holier-than-thou attitude for Sunday or Wednesday or whenever it is you go to church, and stick to facts here. Sounds like you have a grudge against Mr. Scott–grind your axe somewhere else. The facts are Karr was not doing his job by his own admission and he got voted out of office big time–those are the facts.

  2. Mary Renta says:

    Judge Karr got himself beat. He played more dirty politics than Matt Scott or Nancy and Bruce Beaty ever did. What goes around comes around. Besides, he admits he wasn’t doing what he was paid to do–so what’s left to talk about? This is old news.

  3. Peter Paschler says:

    Everyone knew about Karr and his not arraigning prisoners–something he doesn’t deny. That’s what got him beat. You all give Matt Scott waaaaay to much credit–he doesn’t have that kind of power. What he said was true, but everyone knew it long before he opened his mouth and said anything about it. Karr’s trying to find someone to blame. He should look in a mirror. Or at the other county officials like the sherriff and all the commissioners–they wanted Karr gone and worked hard to make it happen.

  4. David Jackson says:

    So let me get this straight. Karr was elected to arraign prisoners. He offered to move his office. And then when he moved it, he stopped arraigning prisoners because he didn’t want to travel to the jail? And you all are on Matt Scott about this? Really? Karr got beat so bad in the election it wasn’t even close. Do you really think whatever Matt Snott said had anything to do with Karr getting beat? Please! He’s a lowly council member–no one listens to them. Oh, don’t forget, truth is an absolute defense. If you notice, Karr never denied anything Scott said, only said he didn’t remember. Very convenient.

  5. John White says:

    “He who states his case first seems right, until his rival comes and cross-examines him.” – Proverbs 18:17 AMP

    In other words, every story sounds true until you hear the other side of it.

  6. Michelle S says:

    I have seen Matt Scott’s underhanded ways first hand, this is a unacceptable from a Council member in this community. The Rumor I hear about Mr. Scott is he is wanting the Mayor’s position next cycle. I feel that is a Job of honor and integrity. One that Mr. Scott has not shown this community by his actions seen all around the internet. As a Christian, and servant to the Lord Jesus Christ, even those things done in silent will soon be exposed to all. We must remember these actions on the next election cycle when Mr. Scott is up for Public Service.

    Michelle Smith
    Rockwall Resident

  7. Anon says:

    The extra our commissioner earned from the state… What percentage was that of Florence’s pay, and what percentage of his time was required by the state to earn it? There is a conflict in there somewhere…

  8. citizen says:

    The dirty politicians in this town did their damage. The sheriff, Judge Florence, the Beatty’s, with Matt Scott’s help, got the outcome they intended. Outright lies were spread about Judge Karr with Scott leading and printing the lies. The only way to shut down people like Scott is to sue them.

    As for not arraigning prisoners at the jail, I don’t blame Karr one bit. He was duly elected by the citizens and there is NO reason he shouldn’t have been reimbursed for his milage at fair rates and NO reason Holloway should make $10,000 more in the same job. Besides, Florence was earning an additional $15,000 by the state for arraigning prisoners so let him earn that money. Judge Karr has been JP in Rockwall for years and years with NO problems whatsoever until Evanson became sheriff. The men did not get along. Scott and Evanson are friends…. Get it?

    Big fat pay increases voted for themselves by the commissioners and the judge, plus car allowances, and perks for basically part time job while not paying county employees fairly caused this mess.

    But in Scott’s case, whatever it takes, lies, rumors, doesn’t make any difference, if he gets the outcome he wants. Why would Scott care? This council and group of “in” people have gone crazy with power. They need to be exposed and stopped – starting with Matt Scott.

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