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Jurisdiction questioned in nuisance cases

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The Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE – The county’s four justice of the peace precincts hear cases involving constituents in those precincts, but when it comes to the county’s growing building development regulations, that’s not always the case.

Rick Parkinson, owner of a septic system maintenance company, recently called into question why Curtis Polk’s Precinct 3 JP courtroom handles nuisance cases.

County attorneys said this was done for "convenience" purposes since Polk – the only Democratic JP – has his courtroom in the courthouse.

A change reportedly occurred in which nuisance violators were sent to their own precincts.

A criminal prosecution, according to an analysis of state law, has to be in the precinct in which the offense was committed.

In the mid-90s, state lawmakers changed the status of a traffic citation from a civil matter to a criminal one, but the question of jurisdiction on nuisance ordinances – which can be both - is an issue various local legal experts have commented on but have not reached a consensus on.

Parkinson, meanwhile, said he’s complained to the county repeatedly and said as a result, he’s being harassed.

He points to several unlicensed inspectors with the county’s department of development as the root cause; currently, county officials are investigating Parkinson’s claims.

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