Questions over Cherokee Co. candidate's eligibility

Documents filed with a high-level Texas court seek to force the disqualification of a candidate in the recently-formed race for County Court at Law Judge.

Filing on behalf of Interim Cherokee County Court at Law Judge Kelley Peacock, attorney John Ament submitted a Petition for Writ of Mandamus Tuesday to the Texas Twelfth Court of Appeals. That type of petition is a legal tool used to request that a judge force someone in an administrative position to do something specific, on the argument that the action in question is required under the law.

In this case, Peacock seeks to force Cherokee County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Rix to disqualify Janice Crosby McKennon Stone as a candidate in the race.

According to the petition, the filing comes after other attempts at convincing Rix of Stone's ineligibility were unsuccessful.

"[Rix] has refused to declare [Stone] ineligible," Ament wrote in the filing.

At the crux of the argument is Peacock's belief that Stone lives, or lived until very recently, in Williamson County, TX which is home to Austin's northern suburbs.

The filing cites voting and land records, among other things.

CBS 19 independently confirmed that Stone voted steadily in Williamson County elections between 1994 and late 2012. She remained a registered voter in Williamson County through late last year.

Williamson County land records indicate that Stone claimed a homestead exemption on a property she owns in Round Rock.

According to the State Bar of Texas, Stone owns and operates a law office in Round Rock. Calls to the phone number listed are still answered as having reached "The Law Office of Janice McKennon Stone."

As of December 20, 2013, Stone's driver's license was still registered to the Round Rock address at which she claimed the homestead exemption.

Those findings validate claims made in the petition. Additionally, Ament and Peacock claim a November 21, 2012 renewal of Stone's license as a notary public involved her swearing "under penalty of perjury" that she was a resident of Williamson County.

The variety of dates contained in the above information compare to a date of November 4, 2012. The petition indicates that Stone would be required to prove two years of residency in Cherokee County prior to being eligible for a November 4, 2014 general election.

No hearings have been set on the matter, but the petition urges the court to take notice of the fact that early voting for the March primary begins February 18. The winner of that primary will be the de facto winner of the election.


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