This morning Justice of the Peace Gary Ritchie appeared before a grand jury in a hearing regarding his court!
In July, DAT broke a story about JP Gary Ritchie and his court having an abysmal audit that documented multiple violations. Just one of those violations was the discovery that at least $19,000 in cash was missing. At least $16,000 of that cash was later found in a box at his court administrator’s home.
Today, Judge Ritchie appeared before a grand jury at the Tim Curry Justice Center. It remains to be seen whether the grand jury is hearing a case against Judge Ritchie or his court administrator Shelley Ables. In previous statements it appeared Judge Ritchie was ready to cast all the blame on his court administrator. That is a challenging position for Judge Ritchie to take. All the deposits and reconciliations DAT reviewed were signed by Ritchie himself. Regardless, state law holds the Judge liable for all activities in his court. Being a poor manager is not a defense of prosecution.
Whether the grand jury is hearing a case against Judge Ritchie or his court administrator is yet to be seen, but as we head into the March Primaries, this does not bode well for Judge Ritchie.
Interestingly enough, Judge Ritchie won’t be the only Judge in Tarrant County going into the primaries with ethical challenges. More on that soon…