December Spotlight – Hon. Mark Russo, Justice of the Peace, Rockwall County Pct. 3

Tell us a bit about yourself
I am originally from Canton, Ohio, and the rock singer Marilyn Manson was my neighbor (I believe the water is safe.) I have degrees in Culinary and Broadcasting.  For 20 years, I have also been a pro wrestler, worked in Radio and TV, as well as been involved in historic preservation. I am married to Nicole and have two amazing boys Alex and Lincoln.

In 2008 I was elected to Rockwall City Council and was selected as Mayor Pro-Tem in 2011. I then ran in 2012 for Justice of the Peace and won. I have been involved in JPCA and TAC since being elected and believe I get the weirdest cases TJCTC has ever heard of (Right Thea?!!). I have also served on various committees throughout the state.

Personally, I may be the most energetic and creative person you will ever meet. Truly passionate and I love people and making a difference in people’s lives. Every day should be an adventure!

What made you decide to become a Justice of the Peace?
I ran for a newly created Justice of the Peace position. Every aspect of this job energizes me. The Justice of the Peace position in Rockwall County is very diverse. Every day is different. This job allows me to be able to utilize different facets of my talents and challenges me every day! I enjoy coming up with out of the box solutions.

What is something innovative, interesting or fun your office does? During Christmas we honor the twelve days of Christmas and sometimes the Elf on the Shelf attacks the office.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is being able to make a difference in people’s lives. Every moment and interaction can have a positive impact on someone. I have found that I can make a big difference by taking a little extra time on the bench. It’s great to have a job you can love every day.

What makes a good judge? A positive attitude, humility, and willingness to be a good listener.

Spotlight: Chief Deputy Clerk Ashly Vicuna from Del Rio

Ashly Vicuna
Chief Deputy Clerk – Val Verde County, Pct. 3

Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and raised in Del Rio, Tx. I graduated from Del Rio High School in 2007. I started working for Val Verde County in 2013. I married in October of 2015 and had my first and only child in October of 2016. I love to play softball on the weekends and spend time with my family. As of July 2019, I have become the Chief Deputy for our office and am grateful for the opportunity.

What made you decide to become a clerk?
In 2013, while I was in search of a job, I was told there was a position open with the Justice of the Peace office. I applied and thankfully got the job. I have been in the same office and judge ever since.

What is something innovative, interesting or fun your office does?
Our office is like a close family, so we get together for our birthdays and celebrate together. We have monthly celebrations with the other JP offices as well. The JP offices here have all become close with each other and we are always there to help one another.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the people I work with. No matter what is put on our plate, we always work together and get the job done.

SPOTLIGHT

We are rolling out a new “Spotlight” series on our blog. Each month, we will post an interview of someone from a justice court or constable office. Here is the first featured Constable.

Don Langford

Constable, Chambers County Precinct 2

1. Tell us a bit about your background.

I have over 42 years experience in law enforcement. I hold a Master Peace Officer, Mental Health Officer, Fire Arms Instructor, and Civil Process certification through TCOLE. I turned 21 at the DPS Academy in Austin where I went through A school 1970. I spent 8 years as a State Highway Patrolman.  In 1974 I received the award of honor for valor by the Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce. The newly incorporated City of Cove Texas also proclaimed Don Richard Langford Day that year. I was very appreciative and humbled by their actions.

In 1978 I got out of law enforcement and went to work for Exxon. In 1980 while working on a well in Trinity Bay a crew boat driver let his boat get away, and my left leg was crushed below the knee. I lost my left lower leg as a result. In 1981 the late C. E. “Chuck” Morris then Sheriff of Chambers County and a former Highway Patrolman reactivated my commission as an unpaid deputy. Then in 1985 he asked me to be his Chief Deputy. I held this position until I was elected constable in 1990.

I have been married to my beautiful wife Debby for 48 years and have a beautiful and talented daughter, Dolores, that works for an Engineering Firm in Houston. I also have a very talented and avid outdoorsman son, Daniel, who is a construction manager for a major home building company in Houston.

I also have 4 grandchildren that I am very proud of.

My interests include travelling. I have been to most states and over 30 Countries. For my 66th birthday I did a tandem skydive. Two years ago, I bungee jumped off the Kawarau River Bridge in Queenstown New Zealand. I have just recently returned from China where I hiked up and along the Great Wall.

If it is God’s will, I plan on retiring at the end of my term in December 2020. I have had a wonderful and blessed career in law enforcement.

2. What made you decide to become a Constable?

At the time I decided to run for constable I was chief deputy sheriff in Chambers County. I wanted to serve my community in a less volatile atmosphere and on a more personal level.

3. What is something innovative, interesting, or fun your office does?

I have two very fine ladies in the office that are involved in just about every local event, from helping with baccalaureate services, 4-H events, Chicken club, trunk-or-treat and beyond. My fellow mid-county constables and I have also sponsored the local 4-H skeet team.

4. What is the best part about your job?

The absolute very best part of my job is interacting with the people in my community.

Every day I am at the local convenience store at five in the morning drinking coffee, greeting, and visiting with my constituents as they are on their way to work.

 

SPOTLIGHT

We are rolling out a new “Spotlight” series on our blog. Each month, we will post an interview of someone from a justice court or constable office. Here is our first one!

Judge Clyde “Bubba” Howse

Justice of the Peace, Medina County Precinct 3

Judge Howse

  1. Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born and raised in the Air Force. I was born at Ft. Clayton, Panama Canal Zone. I have lived in Panama, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. I graduated from Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas. After almost two years at the University of Corpus Christi, I worked in the oil field. When the oil field shut down, I moved to Sherman, Texas where I was the Golf Course Superintendent at the Grayson County Golf Course for 9 years. I took some Turf Science and Pest Control classes at the Golf Course and I was asked to apply to be an Investigator for the Texas Pest Control Board and EPA. I received that job and covered 27 counties in the East Texas area. There were some big changes in the Texas Pest Control Board and EPA, so I went to work for the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office in the Jail. While on vacation in Hondo, Texas I visited with the Sheriff of Medina County and then moved to Medina County and worked with the Medina County Sheriff’s Office as a Jailer and Animal Control Officer for 7 years.

  1. What made you decide to become a Judge?

I have been very interested in Law Enforcement and the Law for many years. I was getting a warrant for an animal seizure from Judge George Ernst, Justice of the Peace Pct. 3, and he told me that he would be retiring after 28 years in office and told me I should run for his office. After much prayer, I ran and won. I took office January 2011 and I am on my third term.

  1. What is something innovative, interesting, or fun your office does?

The four Justice of the Peace offices (Clerks and Judges) in Medina County have a quarterly meeting to discuss office issues, law changes, and how to handle these changes. We invite other offices that might be involved with these same issues or changes. We have had conversations about Mental Health and Magistration, Inquests, Courtesy Letters, and Video Magistration, to name a few. We have had Rebecca Glisan from TJCTC come and talk about the Bond Conditions on DWI Magistration. We have invited Pretrial Services, the Department of Public Safety, the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, jail staff, deputies, Net Data (JP software), MVBA ( collection agency), the Chief of Police from the towns in Medina County, MHDD (Mental Health staff), the County Judge, the Auditor, and other elected officials to come to these meetings and be a part of our conversation. These are informal meetings where everyone can voice their opinions. They are very good trainings and informative meetings.

  1. What is the best part about your job?

The best part of my job is the people I work with. I have the best clerks in the state. I am blessed to have a good working relationship with the other JPs and their clerks. We have good county officials to work with. I enjoy serving the people of Medina County.