Texas Judge Pleads Guilty to Violating His Own Stay-at-Home Order
A judge in Texas, Bill Gravell, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after he violated his stay-at-home order to attend his grandson’s birthday party.
“While I carry the heavy public burden of guiding the policies that best protect our citizens, I am also a husband, father and grandfather,” Gravell said in a statement. “It was in this role that I visited my 5-year-old grandson on his birthday. Pawpaw Bill made an error in judgement that County Judge Gravell deeply regrets.”
Gravell was caught on camera in April going to the birthday party in firefighting equipment from the county, which also resulted in the fire chief apologizing for providing the judge something he could “not provide everyone.”
The judge issued the stay-at-home order in March, which prohibited all public and private gatherings outside of a person’s household, closed nonessential businesses, and restricted residents from using public transit except to carry out essential activities. County residents faced jail time and fines for leaving their homes unless it was for essential business.
Gravell pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor in exchange for special prosecutor Bill Torrey dropping two other charges, abuse of official capacity and official oppression.
According to Gravell’s lawyer, Bill Hines, the judge is the only person in the county to be prosecuted for violating the order and will pay a $1,000 fine.
“He does accept responsibility,” Hines said. “He made a mistake as a grandfather. He’s paying the maximum penalty for that.”