Retired justice of the peace tapped to handle suspended Gillam’s caseload

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Retired Justice of the Peace Ken Dollinger has been named to handle suspended Justice of the Peace Tom Gillam III’s caseload.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick named Dollinger for the task and saw four other justices’ of the peace come forward and volunteer to assist. They include Judge Brad Burnett, Judge Joseph Guillory II, Judge Justin Chesson and Judge Ben Collins Sr.

Branick said the four volunteers will act as backups to Dollinger if needed.

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An exact timeframe for Dollinger to handle the caseload is unknown, but Branick said it could be for 90 days.

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

Gillam was indicted Aug. 23 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 Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from any potential prosecution of Gillam.

Liberty County District Attorneys Office announced the indictment.

Gillam’s suspension is without pay, Branick said.

Gillam now has 30 days to appeal the suspension.

A call, text and email were sent to Gillam’s attorney, Layne Walker, but were not immediately returned. It is unknown if Gillam has appealed the suspension.