Q&A with Chris Evans, candidate for Justice of the Peace Pct. 2.
Updated: May 23
Q. What are the main duties of Justice of the Peace?
A. JP court is also known as the “People’s Court.”
A person may choose to represent themself or use an attorney. Class C misdemeanors such as traffic tickets and crimes that involve a fine are often processed here.
When someone is arrested, bond can be set by this court. When a gun is taken in a criminal matter, or from a possible mental health patient, a hearing can be held in this court to decide if it should be given back.
Civil lawsuits up to $20,000 are tried here and protective orders are issued if someone is abused. Erath county has no coroner’s office so inquests are done by the JP. When a person dies under questionable circumstances, we gather evidence and information for the State Department of Health Services and decide whether the body should go to the medical examiner’s office in Ft. Worth.
Warrants can be issued from here and evictions are done through this office.
In short, this is the court closest to the people. Almost everyone will need this court at some point in their lifetime.
Our job is to bring people together and resolve their disputes, serve our community in times of need, and make sure punishments fit crimes. This functions to balance the scales of justice between our hardworking members of state and local law enforcement and protecting and serving the people who pay taxes so our community can peacefully exist.
Q. What educational and career experiences in your background make you the most qualified candidate for this position?
A. As far as education goes, I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M. Political science was my major and I have an understanding of federal, state and local government functions.
I have worked with many lawmakers and elected officials in both drafting legislation and campaigning. As a builder I have worked with codes and regulations to make buildings safer for the public and ecologically sound. As a business owner in Erath County for twenty-five years, I have managed as many as 20 employees and served thousands of customers satisfactorily.
For 19 years I’ve been on call for our funeral homes. I own the contract service that digs the graves for Stephenville, Harrell and Hico funeral homes. Most of you have set under one of my tents in a cemetery. Knowing and working with our funeral directors for decades makes this part of the job much easier.
We seldom have more than a couple of days notice to prepare a cemetery for a funeral. This track record is important when considering how long it might take to arrive at an accident scene or issue a protective order.
Accidents and crimes don’t always happen Monday through Friday between nine and five. I’m the guy that will be there at midnight on Saturday to help clear an accident scene or help protect anyone in our community.
Q. Why have you decided to run for Justice of the Peace?
A. First, I have a heart for service. My father, brother and many of my family members have served in the military and at state and local levels. Everything I have, I have because of God’s blessings and the people of Erath and surrounding counties.
I can’t ever repay what the people of Erath County have done for me, but I can serve the people who educated me and my children. I can give easy access to justice to the person that paves my roads, stocks the shelves at the grocery store, raises cattle and farms so I can eat, and the business person that mortgages their house to provide a service for our community.
What about the college student that works fast food? Have you ever seen the pride and dignity in the eyes of the guy that just fixed your car? I want that truck driver, the florist, and the folks working at the lumberyard to know that justice is on call, easily accessible and readily available.
I believe that the best way to serve God is by serving your fellow man.
Q. If elected, what would you like to accomplish in your first two years in office?
This office was here long before me and will be here long after I’m gone.
Precinct 2 has been blessed with many hardworking, honest, and fair JP’s. I stand on the shoulders of giants who I hope to carry on for. It’s too much to hope for but I would love for this office to be like the Maytag repairman’s job; boring.
You see, I’d rather no one was suing anyone, people were driving safely, no questionable deaths and no arrests made to bond out.
Since that’s not realistic, I think we should have a working persons court. I plan to have one day a week where we have evening court so busy taxpayers can come after work to pay fines or have a hearing.
This is fair, after all, we don’t want to interfere with their livelihood when they already have a problem that is costing them money. Easier access to justice is something I promise.