Judge Thompson’s lawsuit saga reaches county commissioners

By Sahar Chmais 

HAYS COUNTY – First, she sued the two Hays County Court at Law (CCL) judges, then she amended her lawsuit to include the Hays County commissioners.

 Judge Millie Thompson, CCL #3 Judge, continues her pursuit in appointing a court coordinator of her choice by amending her lawsuit to include Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and commissioners Debbie Ingalsbe, Mark Jones, Lon Shell and Walt Smith. The amended lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief, unlike the first lawsuit where she sought declaratory relief.

Declaratory relief is a request for a court’s judgement stating the rights of the parties without ordering any specific action or listing awards for damages. An injunctive relief is a remedy used to restrain a party from doing certain acts or requires a party to act a certain way. 

In this case, Thompson continues to ask for sole discretion to appoint her own court coordinator, one of her original requests. In Hays County, only Administrative Judge Chris Johnson can hire the court coordinators. 

But in the amended case, she is seeking for the commissioners court “to approve a reasonable salary for that coordinator.” Her choice for a court coordinator would have a salary of $60,000, according to the lawsuit. 

Thompson had previously stated that she had a series of problems with her coordinator, and in the amended lawsuit she added that she has a backlog in her court. In the Hays CCL, the coordinators work for multiple judges. One of the coordinators that Thompson attempted to fire, Chris Perez, has moved off of Thompson’s services. Thompson has another coordinator who works on her docket. 

“The existing coordinator, assigned to her by the other CCL judges, is resistant to implementing changes, for whatever reason,” the lawsuit reads. “Prolonging the process of appointing a court coordinator will cause significant injury in the form of an even more bloated backlog.” 

The case goes on to state examples of the issues Thompson is facing with her coordinator, such as the coordinator’s refusal to search for jail reports for defendants who have not made bond so they may be placed on her jail docket for bond review. 

Hays County District Judge Bruce Boyer recused from the case. The hearing is set to take place in Judicial District Court No. 22, where the retired Judge Tim Sulak will preside over the case.  

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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