Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam suspended; temporary move to fill seat nears

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick is set to decide on who will handle the cases from recently suspended Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam III.

Under Chapter 27 of the Texas Government Code, Branick is required to name a temporary replacement to cover the JP court during Gillam’s absence.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Branick had not made a decision on the appointment but anticipates a decision Wednesday morning.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We have some volunteers among the JP’s who are willing to assist,” Branick said. “It will likely be one or more of those individuals, so one person doesn’t have to bear the brunt.”

He said he may appoint multiple people to rotate in and out of the office during Gilliam’s absence.

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Gillam Sept. 1 for a pending criminal matter, according to the Commission’s website.

On Aug. 23, Gillam was indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury for the Class A misdemeanor offense of official oppression.

The allegation stems from an incident that allegedly occurred on or around June 28, 2022, in which Gillam sexually harassed a woman by making “unwelcome sexual advances, making requests for sexual favors and physical conduct of a sexual nature,” according to the indictment.

The Texas Rangers investigated the case, and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from any potential prosecution of Gillam.

The Liberty County District Attorney’s Office announced the indictment.

Gillam’s suspension is without pay, Branick said.

Gillam now has 30 days to appeal the suspension.

Several calls and an email this week sent to Gillam’s attorney, Layne Walker, went unanswered.