BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — Burnet County Judge James Oakley was indicted this week on felony and misdemeanor charges, according to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.
Oakley was booked into Lampasas County jail and released Thursday, according to the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Office.
The charges, according to the sheriff’s office, are:
- Abuse of Official Capacity-Count 1
- Abuse of Official Capacity-Count 2
- Tamper/Fabricate Physical Evidence W/Intent to Impair
- Official Oppression
According to the indictment records, Oakley is facing two abuse of official capacity counts, stemming from his role as a Pedernales Electrical Cooperative board member while also serving as Burnet County judge. The court record claims this is in violation of Texas local government code.
Records state, on multiple occasions in 2021, Oakley used a Burnet County vehicle to drive to PEC. Oakley told KXAN earlier Thursday the charges stemmed from his “multi-term service as a member of the Director of the Board of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative.”
PEC told KXAN it is aware of the indictment. “This a matter for Burnet County Courts, and PEC has no further details at this time. PEC’s mission is to provide safe, reliable electricity, and the cooperative will remain focused on our members,” it said.
Oakley is also facing official oppression and tampering with evidence counts following a 2021 crash. Documents state Oakley “removed a portion of the vehicle’s bumper” after the crash with the “intent to impair its … availability as evidence in the investigation.”
In a statement, Oakley characterized what happened as “a fender-bender at a gas station two years ago, where I moved a piece of plastic bumper on the ground to clear for drivers.”
Oakley went on to say “I have every confidence that my attorney will be successful in the outcome of addressing these allegations during the process.”
According to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, when a grand jury indicts a judge, the county commission may vote to suspend the judge from office with or without pay as things play out in court. KXAN reached out to all four commissioners. Two of them responded to us Thursday saying the group had not yet discussed what it plans to do.