Oklahoma Community, October 21 – Ronnie Yeates II, a longtime resident of the Oklahoma community in south Montgomery County and an Assistant District Attorney in Grimes County, is running for Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace. Yeates, who has been campaigning for a couple of months, officially announced his campaign on October 19 in a press release.
Yeates told The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, during an interview yesterday, “I love JP courts. They’re the peoples’ courts. I’ve spent a large part of my law practice prosecuting criminal cases in those courts both in Walker and Grimes counties.” As an Assistant District Attorney in Grimes County during the past 16 years, Yeates has been responsible for the prosecution of misdemeanor cases. As a result, he’s very familiar with the practice and operation of the Grimes County JP courts.
“JP Court is the court of the people. It is a personal court where people want to be heard, expect to be heard and want to say their piece. I see this as an opportunity to take my background and experience in all facets of law and community work and apply it for the benefit of Precinct 3 residents…and Montgomery County as a whole.”
Yeates as a misdemeanor prosecutor in Walker County and as an intern at the Harris County District Attorney’s office while he attended law school. He attended South Texas College of Law and is a member of the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association.
Yeates is married to Becky Yeates, his high school sweetheart with whom he has two children, ages 10 and 8 who attend public schools in south Montgomery County. Yeates has been an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church for almost 30 years where he is a member of the Serve Team and an usher. He and Mrs. Yeates lead Financial Peace University classes at the Church. Yeates is a member of the Tomball Gun Club, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, member of the NRA Business Alliance, Ducks Unlimited, member of Sam Houston Rifle Association, and a member of the South Texas College of Law Association.
Yeates said he wants to made the Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Court more efficient and eliminate what he claims is a case backlog.
A critical issue in the Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace campaign is whether the successor to three-decade incumbent Judge Edie Connelly will continue her refusal to utilize the horrendous fee and fine collection system of the Davenport Ring, a corrupt group of politicians who have sought to take over the County government’s purchasing and information technology systems. Corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport, Precinct 4 JP James Metts (East Montgomery County), and Precinct 1 JP Wayne Mack (north Montgomery County) have insisted that the County’s Justice of the Peace Court utilize GravesHumphries law firm and their NetData database software for their JP cases and for fee and fine collections. The County is paying Graves Humphrey enormous fees for the collections but the rate of collections is been very poor. At the same time, by failing to utilize the County’s Odyssey database, citizens cannot access court files in JP courts in Precincts 1, 2, 4, and 5.
Connelly’s efficiency and financial management of her Court has led the courts of Montgomery County easily and has made her one of the most successful Justices of the Peace in the entire State of Texas.
One of the reasons Connelly’s JP court is so much more efficient financially than all four of the other JP courts in Montgomery County is because she has refused to succumb to pressure from local political boss Marc Davenport and Precinct 4 JP James Metts to utilize the GravesHumphries collection system and the associated NetData database system. Connelly has felt that the NetData database, which manages information about court cases before each court, raises due process and fairness concerns, because litigants and the public have only very limited access to court files. To the contrary, Connelly’s court files are available to the public online through the Montgomery County website, just as all court files in the County’s District Court and County Courts at Law. Furthermore, by utilizing the County’s in-house Collections Department, Connelly has saved taxpayers millions of dollars and had far greater success in collection of fees and fines than any of the other four JPs all of whom have succumbed to the Davenport-Metts pressure to use the GravesHumphries/NetData systems.
As the data reveals above, Connelly alone hears and disposes of approximately 40% of Montgomery County’s Justice of the Peace docket. Her case disposal rate is more than twice the rate of the next two busiest JP courts (Mack and Metts) while her budget is more than $700,000 less than the budget of those two courts.
Yeates told The Golden Hammer that he does not know if he’ll use the Graves Humphries/NetData collection system or not.