San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 25th, 2009
Open letter: Warner family speaks

Dear Citizens of Hays County,  

On behalf of the Warner family, we would like to express our sincere thanks for supporting our father as your County Court at Law Judge for 27 years and for the three years that he represented Hays County as the Legal Aide Attorney. Judge Warner was proud of the work he did for the community and the Hays County Juvenile Justice System.

Our family was overwhelmed by the way the community embraced us during his illness and his final days. The pageantry of his memorial would have humbled him greatly. A special “Thank You” is extended to our father’s office staff, the law enforcement and legal community, his BBQ Cook-off Committees, his many special caregivers and friends, for your love and support. Words will never express our gratitude for what you did for our father and our family during his lifetime, during his illness and after his death.

Our father was passionate about serving Hays County and the Juvenile Court System. He began preparing for his retirement by encouraging the person he felt was most qualified to fill his position with the same dedication, passion, and sense of fairness that he possessed. He endorsed Tacie Zelhart and encouraged Mrs. Zelhart to run for his bench. As you know, our father always put people before politics, so does Mrs. Zelhart.  Judge Warner felt strongly that Mrs. Zelhart possesses the same qualities that he did as an energetic, talented attorney. Mrs. Zelhart is tough as nails and has the background and the sense of fairness to continue his life’s work. The Warner family is proud to endorse Tacie Zelhart to fill the vacancy left by our father’s untimely passing.

When we notified Mrs. Zelhart of our intentions to release this statement to the community, she responded with the statement below that was included in her letter of interest she submitted to the Commissioner’s Court and asked that it be included in any press release:

“It is no secret that many months ago Judge Warner, upon his decision to retire, asked me to run for his bench. After many conversations with Judge Warner, my legal peers, citizens and leaders of this county and other Judges across the State, I decided to run for County Court at Law Judge. It was not a decision I took lightly. I am very humbled and honored by Judge Warner’s endorsement of my legal experience and my qualifications. I am willing, qualified and would be proud to serve my community as Judge. That being said, if Mr. James “Jim” Pape has expressed interest in this position, I defer consideration of my application to Jim Pape. If appointed, Mr. Pape’s role should not be limited to just a temporary “caretaker” position, we should all encourage Jim Pape to continue his good work and serve the citizens of Hays County as long as he desires.

“Jim Pape is a legal legend, he is known throughout our great State as one of the most effective attorneys in Texas. Mr. Pape is humble, honest and trustworthy— Jim Pape is a true statesman. He is trusted and steady. Mr. Pape has the perfect judicial temperament.  Our Commissioners and County Judge are in a unique position to appoint one of the finest gentlemen in Texas to serve the citizens of Hays County. If given the opportunity, I strongly encourage them to appoint Jim Pape as Judge of County Court at Law Number One.  Nonetheless, I greatly appreciate the Commissioner’s thoughtful consideration of my application. I look forward to the future, I will continue to work tirelessly to advance the cause of justice in our community and to always remember it is a privilege to serve the citizens of Hays County.”

We understand that the Commissioners may not want to appoint someone who previously announced their intention to campaign for the position of Judge; therefore, we join Mrs. Zelhart and many other Hays County citizens in their support of Mr. Jim Pape to finish our father’s term as County Court at Law Judge. Judge Warner highly respected, both personally and professionally, his colleague Jim Pape, a long-time resident of Hays County and trusted attorney.

Again, thank you all. Our father was blessed to be embraced by such an incredible community, colleagues, friends and family. Your outpouring of love and support for him will never be forgotten by our family.

Michelle “Missie” Warner Haislip
Dr. Howard S. Warner, III
Jacqueline “Jacquie” Warner

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7 thoughts on “Open letter: Warner family speaks

  1. I’m sure Mr. Pape is a good guy, but he doesn’t have broad or well-rounded experience in all areas of the law involved in the types of cases heard at the county court-at-law level.

    A question I have is whether victims of family violence with cases before a Judge Pape will feel a level of trust that their case will be heard fairly, given Mr. Pape’s own past. I would like to see the court choose someone without baggage that could raise questions of fairness in some plaintiff’s minds.

  2. Mr. Pape is a well qualified attorney, and well respected in Hays County. His past was 25 years ago, and those of you who would do this man and his wife harm are despicable.

    His wife is still with him and he has raised fine children. He is a great inspiration to many in Hays County, and he has mentored many individuals within the County to not go down that same path. He has been active in this community, and I am proud to say that I have know him for several years, and he is a good, ethical, and honest person.

    However, the county judge has dug up a document that is 25 years old and circulated it to throw mud on this man and his family. Truly this is sad we have all made mistakes in our lives, it’s what you learn from them that matters.

    He has and is an attorney respected throughout Hays County, and this State. We would be lucky if he was appointed. However, I fear that politics will prevail,and the best person for the job will not get picked.

    I have nothing against any of the other candidates, they all have baggage as you so call it. I call it living life, I am sure if we checked into your life we would find some indiscretion.

  3. I’ll second that. The day someone must go back 25 years to find something I’ve done wrong will be a very proud day for me.

  4. Sumter, susan r and the rest of the echo chamber are the reason good people don’t get into politics. Mr Papes character is above reproach. If this is how boling has to win, she will likely be rejected by the voters again.

  5. what I know…

    I’ve known Jim Pape for many years and know him to be a substantial, fair-minded and compassionate man with a brilliant and curious mind.

    I know Jim to be one of the best atorneys in the state with a wealth of experience.

    I know Jim to be a humble and giving husband, father and friend.

    I know the citizens of Hays County would be fortunate to have Jim Pape as a county judge.

  6. Seems to be like the Sheriff appointment all over again. Where the family felt an entitlement to name the successor.

  7. I am sorry my comment angered and offended family, friends, or Mr. Pape. And I could tell from all I’ve read that he is a great guy. Mr. Pape, please accept my heartfelt apologies. Not every passing question in my head deserves the light of day.

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