Callisburg — Staff report
Incumbent Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Dorthy Lewis is running unopposed in the March election and says she’ll keep the job as long as possible.
“I love what I do and I enjoy it and as long as I am making an impact, then I will continue to do this,” she said Thursday.
Lewis took office in January 1995, having been elected the prior year. Her jurisdiction includes the northern half of Cooke County — in parallel to Precinct 4, an area currently overseen by justice Jason Brinkley, who recently filed for candidacy as county judge.
Texas Association of Counties material explained that the justice of the peace is elected for a term of four years. This county official is the presiding officer of both his or her justice court and the small claims court. The justice of the peace has jurisdiction over minor misdemeanor offenses (Class C), and in civil matters where the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000. A variety of civil process, as well as arrest and search warrants, can be issued by the justice of the peace. The justice of the peace also sits as judge of the small claims courts, in actions for the recovery of money, which does not exceed $10,000.
The justice of the peace may also preside over hearings pertaining to suspension of driver licenses and conduct other hearings and inquests. The justice of the peace may conduct marriage ceremonies and serves as “ex officio” notary public for the precinct. The justice of the peace also has administrative and financial duties concerning the keeping of records and fee and expense reports.
Lewis, raised in Arizona, graduated Arizona State University before moving to Cooke County in 1970. She is married to Ralph Lewis, owner of Gainesville Foundry, Inc., and has three grown children plus several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“I enjoy my contribution to the county and I love the job,” she said, and credited her staff. “I like what I do and I hope I’m a good judge who contributes.”