The candidates for Ellis County Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 include Republican Steve Egan and Democrat Greg Hellings. Hellings did not respond to the Daily Light questionnaire.
1. Though a justice of the peace does not necessarily have to be a practicing lawyer, you are responsible for overseeing minor legal disputes such as civil cases under $10,000 and landlord-tenant disputes. What experiences do you have in dealing with these matters?
Steve Egan: I am in my 8th year as the Justice of the Peace of Precinct 4 and I handle cases like those just about every week. The court also handles a number of fine only misdemeanor cases . I receive about 30 hours of training each year, and I worked in law enforcement for over 28 years before I was elected as Justice of the Peace.
2. In relation to the above question, say, for instance, the tenant is a family member who is suing a landlord whom you have never met. How would you handle that situation?
Steve Egan: If the tenant is a family member of mine or even a close friend I would recuse myself and have another Justice of the Peace hear the case, this would remove any appearance of unfairness to the other party.
3. Have you ever faced any disciplinary actions in your professional career?
Steve Egan: I have not had any disciplinary actions as the Justice of the Peace Precinct 4. I had some disciplinary actions very early in my law enforcement career.
4. Ellis County averages about 7,000 civil cases a year between the four JP districts. Many of those disputes involve minor traffic incidents or civil cases. Dealing with that number of cases in addition to daily duties such as attending fatal accidents to pronounce a victim deceased requires quite a bit of time management. What experiences do you have that will benefit you in managing the workload?
Steve Egan: Precinct 4 has a large number of civil cases filed in the court. We work hard to get to a timely disposition in each case. The court manages it's workload well but may have to cancel hearings if I am called to an inquest. Then cases are reset as soon as possible.
5. Use this space to inform the voters on what separates you from the other candidates.
Steve Egan: I am in my second term as your Justice of the Peace in Precinct 4. I have served the citizens of Ellis County for 36 years both in law enforcement and as the Justice of the Peace. During this time I have maintained or exceeded the training requirements of the professions. I look forward to continuing my service to the citizens of Ellis County and I would appreciate your votes in the primary and the general elections.