Gladewater Judge Fired After Council Vote - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/20/04 - Longview

Gladewater Judge Fired After Council Vote

Gladewater city judge Virginia Beason finds herself without a presiding bench to sit on today, after city council voted Thursday to fire her, something she says was unfair and unexpected.

"I felt sadness that at that fact that I don't believe I was given the opportunity to defend myself on any accusations that was given," said Beason. Her unusual practice of ordering people to attend church in lieu of paying fines was the beginning of her troubles as she was placed on probation six months ago.

"I have people who come to me that do not have the resources to pay fines, it would take money out of their food, feed their kids, their electricity their house payments, I cannot in myself do that if I can find another avenue for them to do it," she said.

She's ordered people to do community service, write essays on the dangers of drugs, and even put people on payment plans for fines, but the city says shes cost them in other ways.

"The biggest problem was that she was not arraigning prisoners in our city jail in a timely fashion, it costs us money if we don't get rid of those prisoners it costs we have to feed those prisoners," said Gladewater mayor John Paul Tallent.

The city says she left town without notifying the city for arrangements and also failed to fine defendants the proper amounts. The city has appointed a justice of the peace to temporarily replace Beason. She's considering legal action.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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