By SEAN BATURA
The Hays County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 Thursday morning to pick San Marcos attorney Anna Martinez Boling to replace the late Judge Howard Warner on an interim basis in Hays County Court of Law No. 1.
Boling will be sworn in during the commissioners court meeting on Sept. 21.
The court’s legal counsel is still trying to figure out how long Boling would serve, because the law stipulates that an interim appointment serves until the next general election, while also saying that the newly elected person in a November election takes office the next Jan. 1. Hays County Judge Liz Sumter (D-Wimberley) said she thinks it’s likely that Boling will serve until Dec. 31, 2010.
Boling has said she will run for the full term in November 2010. Others reportedly in that mix are San Marcos attorney Zelhart, Hays County District Attorney David Mendoza and San Marcos attorney Robert Hargrove.
The vote for Boling followed straight party lines, with the four Democrats voting for her and the one Republican, Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley (R-San Marcos) in opposition. Boling served as the Chairperson of the Hays County Democratic Party for a year before stepping down in May.
The two most formidable candidates for the interim position, Martinez and San Marcos attorney James Pape, went under considerable scrutiny in the last ten days.
Court documents show that Warner signed a protective order in 1984 against Pape after he threatened his wife and children. Pape’s supporters say the attorney has long since turned his life in a productive direction, remains with his wife, Dianne, and emerged as a leading light in the local legal community.
Warner’s family and one of the contenders for the interim position, Zelhart, threw their support behind Pape. Warner’s family originally gave its support to Zelhart, then joined Zelhart in supporting Pape.
“I don’t have any realistic chance of getting the appointment, and I’m staying out of the politics,” Pape said when contacted at his home late Wednesday night.
The references to Pape’s distant past parallel a similar episode last December, when Hays County Sheriff Allen Bridges died and the commissioners sought an interim replacement. When Bridges’ family announced its support of Chief Deputy Sherman Brodbeck, it was reported that Brodbeck stood trial in 1987 under an accusation that he sexually assaulted a child. Brodbeck was not convicted. The position ultimately went to retired Texas Ranger Tommy Ratliff.
Boling filed for bankruptcy this summer, listing among her debts $35,000 in arrears to the Internal Revenue Service.
“We have a payment plan to take care of that as quickly as possible, but it’s not unusual for people to owe taxes,” Boling said. “There’s nothing sinister about it or anything like that.”
Boling ran for 428th District Judge in 2006, losing in a close race against Republican Bill Henry.
“(Warner) was a wonderful person, and we had a very good relationship,” Boling said. “He really encouraged me when I ran in 2006.”
Boling said every lawyer who wrote letters of recommendation on her behalf knew of her financial difficulties and encouraged her to apply for the empty position. Sumter attempted to have Boling appointed to the position earlier this month.
Boling has practiced law since 1995 and has lived in San Marcos since 1998. She specializes in criminal defense, family law, collaborative law, guardianships, wills and probate, mediations and general civil. She said she and her husband filed for bankruptcy well before Warner died on July 18.
“I have a good business,” Boling said. “It’s just that my husband had a furniture and art business that didn’t do well, and we finally, after two years of anguishing about it … contacted an attorney, and they ran whatever analysis they had to run, and they determined that we qualified to file for bankruptcy, so we did. And then … about (a) month after we did that, Judge Warner passed away, and I was approached about putting my name in and to consider running.”
The other candidates for the interim position were Mendoza, San Marcos attorneys Charles Roach and Kyle Maysel, and state Assistant Attorney General Scott Glicker, who lives in Buda.Email | Print