Judge Tom Rickhoff, who presides over Bexar County Probate Court 2, has recused himself from a case that was the subject of my column last week.
In “Probate judge is shunting aside Texas law,” I echoed a reversal by the Fourth Court of Appeals, which argued that Rickhoff was ignoring Section 883 of the Texas Probate Code.
The law states that when a spouse is incapacitated, the other spouse “acquires full power to manage, control, and dispose of the entire community estate as community administrator.”
My column featured Jack Hood, an 88-year-old World War II veteran whose wife, Billie Ray, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Despite numerous evaluations confirming Jack is mentally competent, Rickhoff signed an order channeling most of the married couple’s assets to Billie Ray’s daughter.
Despite the appeals court decision, Rickhoff seemed unswayed by Section 883 at a hearing last week. I pointed that out in my column.
Today, the judge signed a “motion order of referral” that states the following:
“On this date, the court on its own motion and based on the considerable controversy and animus created by this case, and the recent filing of a judicial complaint against Judge Thomas E. Rickhoff, presiding judge of Probate Court #2 by one of the litigants in this matter, Judge Thomas E. Rickhoff, presiding judge of the (sic) has decided to voluntarily recuse itself in accordance with section 25.00255 of the Texas Government Code from further hearings on the matter and requests that the clerk who serves the statutory probate courts of Bexar County randomly re-assign this case to a judge of the other statutory probate courts that are located in this county.”
Brian Chasnoff/The Public Eye
March 28, 2012
San Antonio Express-News