Judge Arrested For Cattle Rustling And In Case You're Wondering, Yes, It's 2022.

Buckle up, buckaroos!

800px-Cow-IMG_2050Cattle rustling is one of those problems that Hopalong Cassidy has to deal with, not something afflicting the country in 2022. But everything old is new again — from fashion to losing bodily autonomy — so of course cattle rustling would be back in the news.

But it’s back in Texas and authorities have arrested 71-year-old Skeet Jones on three counts of theft of livestock and one count of organized criminal activity. The only snag with his arraignment is that… Skeet Jones is the only judge in the county [it turns out the county itself has an Acting District Judge for this stuff and Skeet’s “County Judge” role is more political than judicial… like the Supreme Court, eh?]

As another person pointed out, Loving County is the least populous county in the contiguous United States, and the arrest of Judge Jones and his three alleged accomplices mean 6 percent of the county just got arrested.

These arrests come after a year-long investigation by special rangers trying to get to the bottom of cattle theft in the tiny county. Not clear why it took a whole year since the county population is basically the size of a parlor gathering in an Agatha Christie novel, but here we are.

From The Guardian:

His cousin Brandon Jones is a constable, an elected law enforcement officer, for the county.

“He’s had free rein for the entire time since he’s been the judge,” Brandon Jones told NBC News. “That’s given him a sense of power and impunity that he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Even the feeling of self-righteousness. That he can do no wrong.”


Someone’s in trouble at the reunion.

Susan Hays, an election lawyer who has clashed with Jones, told NBC News she could not believe he would “risk real trouble” by allegedly stealing cattle.

“It’s a pain in the ass to round up cattle and take them to market,” Hays said.

Exactly! The maturity of the agriculture market in the country and the meticulous tracking required by regulators should prevent people from selling stolen cattle on the black market, shouldn’t it? It should at least make it difficult enough that it’s not worth the effort.

Jones faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted.

Tiny Texas community shaken by arrest of official over cattle rustling [The Guardian]


HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.