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Texas County Judge Accused Of Extreme Racially Inappropriate Behavior Again

Brady Chandler and Matt Briscoe

Burnet, Texas--A county judge in Central Texas who has already been disciplined by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct for racial insensitivity in under fire again for the same thing, only this time taking it one step further. Burnet County Judge James Oakley was seen by various members of the community holding a hanging noose in front of 3 African American inmates from a state operated Intermediate Sanction Facility and 1 white inmate trustee from the Burnet County Jail.

On March 19, 2019 organizers with the Burnet County Heritage Society invited local leaders and the public to a workday at the Fort Croghan Museum in the Hill Country community of Burnet, west of Austin. At the workday event, there were several exhibits open for display including a knot tying display. One of the knots on display was a hanging noose which Judge Oakley reportedly held up in front of the inmates.

This is not the first time Oakley has been caught making racially or otherwise insensitive remarks towards people of color. Oakley was eventually reprimanded by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct for remarks made on Facebook. In November of 2017 Oakley took to Facebook saying that “tree and a rope” were needed for a man accused of fatally shooting a San Antonio police detective.

Oakley, who serves as Burnet County’s chief administrator, was required to complete a 30-hour training program for new judges and four hours of racial sensitivity training.

In his defense, Oakley then told the Commission that his comment was intended to to reflect his personal beliefs that murder of the detective “should qualify for the death penalty.” Oakley, who is white, maintained that the comment had nothing to do with skin color. However, his recent and perhaps even more disturbing move has many Texans even more concerned.

Tom Stephens, who serves as Vice President of the Heritage Society witnessed the event along with several others back in March. Mr. Stephens, along with others in the community who witnessed the event say that they have already taken the matter to the State Commission On Judicial Conduct and have filed formal reports against Oakley.

Mr. Stephens is already catching backlash from supporters of the noose wielding judge. Stephens recently began to publicly question the actions on social media, Judy Lively, President of the Burnet County Heritage Society immediately called for Stephens to resign from his position with the society.

Oakley also serves on the board of directors for the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, one of the nation’s largest such organizations, a position to which he also currently seeking reelection. We reached out to the cooperative who has yet to respond to these latest allegations against Oakley.

While the State Commission will not comment on allegations under investigation, these matters usually take months to be heard, which many community members would hope allow Oakley enough time to resign from both of his positions.


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