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Davis to Run for Turner's District Attorney Job

By: Meredith Stancik & Steve Fullhart Email
By: Meredith Stancik & Steve Fullhart Email

He was the first judge in Brazos County history to receive a public reprimand, but that is not stopping 272nd District Judge Rick Davis from seeking one of the county's highest positions.

The Republican Davis announced Wednesday he will run for Brazos County District Attorney, pitting him against one of his career rivals, veteran Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner.

Davis announced this summer he would not seek a third term as 272nd district judge, citing financial reasons. However, Wednesday he said his children's education has been provided for, and he has the blessing of his family to run for office.

"It's time for change and I hope to be that change," Davis said. "I have a patriotic passion for truth, justice and fairness and I have a deep sense of duty."

Davis has served Brazos County for seven years. Bill Turner has held the Brazos County District Attorney position for over 20 years.

"For nearly a decade, my democratic opponent has campaigned either directly or indirectly for judicial candidates who he wants in office and has shown favoritism to those judges who have towed his line," Davis said.

Political partisanship is one of the three reasons Davis says he's running for office. The other two: he says Turner has been in office for too long, and he wants to make sure every citizen has equal justice.

However, voters are unlikely to overlook the rivalry between the two candidates.

The history between District Attorney Bill Turner and Davis goes back a few years. It was in March 2002 that Davis received a public reprimand from the state after Turner lodged a complaint.

At that time, the state found Davis had written threats and profanities about former Assistant District Attorney Laura Cass. The judge was reprimanded and ordered to take anger management classes.

As a result, Davis asked for a court of inquiry against Turner. That move failed to result in any action against Turner.

A second court of inquiry came in late 2006, as Davis accused Assistant District Attorney Shane Phelps of influencing a grand jury extended by Davis to investigate Turner. Phelps was cleared in the hearings, and an amendment was made to the state commission's complaint against Davis. In total, the complaint says:

- Davis wrongfully attacked Turner and Cass
- Davis improperly empaneled the 2005 grand jury investigating Turner
- Davis improperly called for the Phelps court of inquiry

Two weeks after Davis announced he would not seek re-election this summer, Davis responded to the amended complaint, refuting all the alleged wrong doings by the commission.

"I made some immoderate statements six years ago and was sanctioned for that," Davis said. "It is not useful or fruitful to revisit that. It's in the past."

However, it is still to be seen whether the lengthy history between the two candidates will have an effect on Davis's run for office.

Davis must resign his seat on the bench to run, and says he will submit his resignation to Governor Rick Perry Thursday.

Turner, a Democrat, has announced he will run for reelection.


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