McLennan court, sheriff see, hear, know nothing about doc’s thing for Hispanic women at jail

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“I hear nothing; I see nothing; I know nothing,” said Judge Felton and his colleagues on the Commissioners Court, after releasing confidential educational records regarding complaints by student nurses.

Six Shooter Junction – Allegations that former McLennan Jail Director John Wells resigned his $330,000 per year contract due to complaints about sexual harassment of student nurses are based on educational records the federal government prohibits from public disclosure, according to the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General.

Wells reportedly resigned in a letter to County Judge Scott Felton on March 9, effective April 30 because, according to students’ complaints revealed in papers released by MCC’s Vice President of Instruction Donnie Balmos, Wells allegedly told a Hispanic student nurse that he likes Hispanic women. She reported that Wells told her “that the first person he ‘impregnated’ was a 13-year-old Hispanic girl,” according to a local news report.

The release of confidential information was authorized by an attorney who represents MCC named Phil McCleery, according to the report.

In a response to the attorney who serves the McLennan County Judge who sought an opinion from the AG’s office, “You have submitted unreacted educational records for our review. We note the county judge’s office is not an educational institution…You state the county judges office obtained the information at issue directly from an educational institution. Because our office is prohibited from reviewing these educational records to determine the applicability of FERPA (federal law governing educational confidentiality) we will not address the applicability of FERPA to any of the submitted records.”

The June 15 letter from Assistant Attorney General James Coggeshall, addressed to County Judge Scott M. Felton, goes on to say that the Commissioners’ Court must withhold exhibits containing allegations of complaint against Wells, while releasing other records deemed suitable for publication, unless “the employee did not make a timely election to keep information confidential.”

According to the published information, “…MCC vocational nursing students reported that Wells sexually harassed them to the point that they tried to schedule their rounds at the jail when Wells was not working.”

When Wells complained in an angry call to Kim Sales-McGee, director of vocational nursing at MCC, she wrote a letter on February 17 to Sheriff’s Captain Ricky Armstrong stating, “He also stated that if I wanted the students to be with the nurses on the days that he isn’t there, then he would cancel the students’ clinical rotation. I found this very strange considering that at any other clinical rotation, the students, the majority of the time, follow the nurses as the nurse makes the rounds.”

When Wells suspended jail rotations, according to the correspondence, MCC pulled the students from the vocational program because “I cannot have my students feeling intimidated or harassed by Dr. Wells,” according to the letter signed by Sales-McGee.

Wells successfully completed a probated sentence after pleading guilty to DWI in 2012. The Commissioners’ Court allowed to continue his employment contract at the time, doing business as Melchizedek Medical, PLLC.

Sheriff Parnell McNamara and members of the Commissioners’ Court all claimed to have no knowledge of the allegations made by student nurses and Wells’ alleged proclivities for Hispanic women, when questioned by a mainstream media reporter about the allegations made in the educational records.

McNamara reportedly said…”it’s not my deal.”

Such a deal.

So mote it be.

 

The patch, the two filling stations, and the twenty-second day of March 2015

Lorena

Mile Marker 323 at Lorena, Tx, on I-35 south of Waco, directly adjacent to a Brookshire Brothers Supermarket with a  filling station

The deadly assaults that led to the debacle at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17, 2015, began months before that date. Federal officials of the FBI, ATF, Marshal Service, and other agencies of the umbrella agency, the Department of Homeland Security, quietly took over the investigation at the time, and have been running events ever since.

There is an invisible, but clearly discernible, in fact, palpable line between east and west Texas. Some say it’s loosely defined by Interstate 35, but there are parts of west Texas situated way, way east of that line.

What’s the difference?

It’s the people, and the way they react to events, new situations, strangers. In general, west Texas is just flat friendly as aw, get out. East Texans are about as concerned with who you just might be and what kind of bogey man you probably are, and they make it painfully obvious.

In west Texas, you’re a-ok until you just haul off and prove how wrong you are. In east Texas, you are a total pest and a complete rat, police bait the minute you come in sight. Jerk up the phone; we got us one, now. Call the po-leece.

Mile Marker 370 – Kim Winblad stands in a pool of flickering fluorescent light in a gray and milky midnight world intersticed with vibrant and vivid red and yellow logos for junk food, fuel additives, and assorted shiny gadgets of the road – the big twin-ribboned super slab the truckers call “the boulevard.”

She’s an experienced cashier, and she’s breaking in a newbie, a woman unfamiliar with the electronic gadgets that run inventory on items, punch in prices, calculate change, and print receipts for motor fuels.

This is the southern tip of Palo Pinto County, at Gordon, a twin hamlet with Mingus, located just a hoot and holler north of “Rodeo U” – Tarleton State at Stephenville. Hot, rugged, dusty cattle country in dipping and diving washes and hummocks over dry creek beds and brushy pastures, the mind’s eye barely registers te nature of the terrain at 75 miles per hour rushing down Interstate 20 on the way to nowhere.

This is the Bar-B Truck Stop, and when Kim is quizzed about whether she saw what happened to a man named Arthur David Young, 38, a few minutes after 1 pm on Saturday, March 22, 2015, she is visibly shaken. She turns her shoulders half-way to her right and looks directly at the gas pump in a long line of gas pumps where, she says, “probably a dozen – ten or fifteen of them – beat him in the head with all kinds of stuff. It was the worst thing I ever saw.”

Only then, does she look – really look – at the one asking the question. A dispatch record obtained from law enforcement said a filling station attendant had telephones to say a crowd of men were beating another man in the head with hammers.

Why?” she asks. Her eyes narrow noticeably. One looks back at the notebook, then realizes there is no ballpoint in the breast pocket of the t-shirt, and points to a spare on the counter next to her cash register, where she has been counting the day’s receipts and stapling them. “May I?”

She nods, then does the math on her fingers and says, “He’s my, let’s see, uh, I guess he’s my second, no third – ah, yeah, second cousin. I saw the whole thing; in fact, I’m the one called the law…”

And then she points to a woman waiting to pay the new cashier who is struggling with the cash register for sodas and potato chips for her kids, and says, “His wife? She was standing right there, watching through the window.” She hooks a thumb over her shoulder and turns to look again, pointing to the gas pump. And you know it’s the very gas pump by her gesture.

She said, ‘Oh, my God! Look what they’re doing to him.’ When I turned around to look, I grabbed the phone and called 9-1-1. They hit him in the head with a hammer.” She sounds incredulous about, even sixteen months later.

Young’s wife tried to go outside to intervene, but, “I called her back. I told her, ‘There’s nothing you can do about it. Look how many of them there are.’”

Young was still holding the gas nozzle in his hand; he’d just just finished filling his motorcycle tanks with gasoline.

One of them. One of the Bandidos came in here and asked me to turn off the pump. He stood right there.” She nods at a man waiting in line by the door to pay for a tank of gas.

He was afraid he would douse them with gasoline and set them on fire, but he’d already turned the pump off. He’d finished filling his tanks. I just told him, no, I wouldn’t turn the pump off. No.”

And then she shudders. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

And, there, as simple as that, an eye witness who actually saw the Bandidos beat up a Cossack, gives her account of what she saw, how it happened.

She lowers her eyes and her voice, and says, “They say they did it to him because he wouldn’t stop wearing his patch on his jacket. That’s why they did it.”

One nods in agreement, says “That’s what they all say,” and it all seems so simple – until it comes to mind that no matter the rumored motive, it’s still a case of aggravated assault. It says so on the Palo Pinto County offense report. It says two county mounties were dispatched at 13:13, arrived at 13:29, and were clear at 13:57, about 45 minutes later, after they got the victim in the ambulance and found no one to arrest. That means they left.

They noted it was an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Mile Marker 323 On the same day, on Interstate 35 south of Waco, at Lorena, Texas, on a service road fronting a Brookshire Brothers Supermarket where there is a filling station, a police report about a similar, equally savage assault on a Bandidos patch holder is vague about the exact time that a group of men rammed the motorcyclist with a pickup truck, curbed his machine, and had at him with deadly weapons.

An “adult gang” left Rolando Campos, date of birth redacted, with “severe lacerations, other major injury.” Weapons included “personal weapons, motor vehicle, blunt object.”

No one said anything about the Cossacks or patches, or turf disputes. Or anything at all. 

As in the previously described case, the same penal code section applies, 22.02, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The circumstances? “Unknown cir” are noted. Since there was no one to arrest, the officers merely left once they had Campos loaded in the ambulance.

Seeking the bare bones public record of these two events is as different as night and day. At Lorena, the custodian of records elected to send the inquiry to an attorney, who recommended to the staff of the Attorney General that no information be released.

When a personal appeal was made to Chief Tom Dickson, he realized all that was requested was the basic information and faxed it immediately.

An appeal to the Custodian of Records at the Palo Pinto Sheriff’s Office netted the same information, but Records Chief Angela Bryant made the observation that, “The people you are dealing with throughout the state, they don’t have it to give. The FBI came in here right away and took over these cases.”

For the first time, someone in a position to know – a custodian of record for a local constitutional office – just stated plainly the obvious truth.

We thank you, ma’am. The federal government is running the show; it has been since March of 2015, if not earlier.

The same goes for her boss, Sheriff Ira Mercer, who hauled off and suggested the Cossacks omit their annual blow-out at a piece of private property just up the road from the Bar-B Truck Stop. Just like the Sheriff of Ector County at Odessa, he ran them all off, and it made the news on prime time all over the Metromess and greater Texas the next day.

He and his coutnerpart in the oil patch reasoned that you can’t have trouble if the troublemakers aren’t there to do it. They told them to “Git!”

What happened on the border with east Texas, at the corner of Highway 6 and Interstate 35, Six Shooter Junction? There is a lot of secretive conjecture about maneuvers behind the scenes and so on and so forth, what have you.

Matters brewed on, and local law enforcement struggled with the consequences – badly.

Judges sent ‘messages’ with the amount of bond they set, and the DA ‘commandeered’ an investigation of aggravated assault when he ordered the police to arrest everyone wearing any kind of distinctive patch or identifying as a member of any organization for engaging in organzied criminal activity that led to capital murder and/or aggravated assault.

No trial date has been set for any defendant.

So mote it be.

Mile Marker 370

Mile Marker 370, Interstate 20, at Gordon, Tx, at the Bar-B Truck Stop

The flying chihuahua

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Drunk and belligerent, the accused punched his cousin twice in the eye, then jumped into the bed of the pickup, where he flung the family chihuahua to the winds in the 4800 block of Hwy 6

Six Shooter Junction – You see it in parking lots throughout the red states of the southwest, bumper stickers that say, “Yes, this is my truck, and, no, I won’t help you move.”

That’s why the spectacular narrative of the 2014 arrest McLennan K9 Deputy Rebecca Mabry made of a Corsicana drunk in the environs of Jerusalem-on-the-Brazos stands out in technicolor.

In a survey of her previous 20 arrests, public records show the arc begins in early 2014, that her apprehensions have mainly been on inter alia unaided warrants in roadside stops for failing to signal a lane change, and the like.

But on March 1 of that year, Deputy Mabry was called to the scene of a family brawl all day in the making, at 8 pm after Mitchell Waites, who had spent the day drinking and helping his cousin Billy Willis and his girlfriend Jessica Richardson move to Marlin, hauled off and socked Billy in the eye – not once, but twice.

That was after a fight with an elderly man that started in the aisles of the Corsicana Wal-Mart and Billy Willis’ demand that Waites alight from the truck for some needed relief from his mouthing.  Waites reportedly socked Billy twice, then jumped into the bed of the truck for the remainder of the ride to Marlin.

That’s when Jessica Richardson realized her little lap dog was nowhere to be found, and she suspected the tiny creature had jumped into the pickup bed with the now isolated Waites.

When she and Billy Willis heard a moaning sound, they immediately realized that Waites had with callous disregard flung the pooch to the prairie winds. Ms. Richardson called the law.

Mabry charged him with Assault “A” causing bodily harm and destruction of property under $50 because the chihuahua cost the family only $35.

Veteran officers remarked they would have charged cruelty to an animal and have done with the matter, fully prepared to testify about their investigation of the affair at trial in a court of law.

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A portrait of Deputy Mabry with her partner “Impulse” upon her certification as a  K9 Officer in the year 2014

Not through a glass, darkly, but a silicone whirligig – revolving

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Chemical reactions, crossing boundaries and distilling in patterns worth – how much, and to whom – until the mad vapors solidify, crystallize 

WACO – The absurdity of organized violence contrasted with the princely little minuet of the law is an extreme contrast, when you stop and allow yourself to be amazed by the clockwork nature of it.

There is a certain degree of absurdity in the fact that the people who manufacture and market aspirin – Bayer – also held a 19th Century patent on the improved base alkaloid, heroin, or that a Japanese chemist looking for something else entirely happened to accidentally discover a potion that will make people forget when they last took nourishment or had a decent night’s sleep – just in time for the last ditch, all or nothing struggles of World War Two.

Even President Kennedy and some of the members of his staff who ruled from “Camelot” had his go-round with a “vitamin” preparation all the “beautiful people” in New York and Hollywood would have a society doctor make a house call with which to inject them. The result – sparkle, drive, go, man, go – to the limits!

It was meth laced with B-12 and other Dr. Feel-Good jive. Who could resist?

Like the fellow said, Bushido extremist kamikaze pilots full of methamphetamine probably never gave it a thought they would even get a scratch when they did nose dives with their little flying bombs into the hulls of battle ships and aircraft carriers.

There’s a lot of money in all this meshugas, however. Two-arrested-1.8-million-in-drugs-seized-during-local-traffic-stop by Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna in this hotbed of law and order on the banks of the Brazos. In a joint operation, the Waco Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency directed DPS troopers to seize $1.8 million worth of heroin and methamphetamine en route from the Rio Grande Valley. Because a veteran Waco narc named David Starr “indicated to prosecutors” he was “apprehensive” to word an affidavit and his report in a certain way, “but was ordered to do so;” when Reyna discovered the “discrepancy,” he reported it to defense attorneys – and the Texas Rangers.

A confidential informant was involved. Surprise, surprise! Eight pounds of heroin and seven pounds of meth – $1.8 million smackeroo’s. It’s the new currency, over here.

Our intake division and grand jury prosecutors relied on this information in making the decision to present this matter to the Grand Jury. More importantly, the Grand Jury relied on this information in returning the indictments.” Reyna-Press-Release-and-Letter

It’s complicated, but when the cops lie – or, just as bad, cover up exculpatory evidence that would be material to either a finding of guilt or the degree of punishment – prosecutors must admit it, either of their own volition, or at the behest of a Brady order resulting from a defense motion.

And who was Brady? He was an armed robber who in 1958 admitted his participation in a deadly Maryland stickup, but alleged the actual homicide was committed by his fall partner, a man named Boblit. Boblit had given police an earlier statement to that effect, but prosecutors neglected to allow jurors to know of it as a material fact.

When that omission came to light, Brady’s case was remanded by the state court of appeals for re-trial because the defense argued that a trial held under the pretense that certain facts have not been withheld is an outright denial of a federal constitutional right, the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process of law. In a landmark 1963 decision, the Warren Court upheld the Brady holding because in Maryland, jurors are deemed both finders of fact and judges of the law by the state constitution, according to an opinion authored by Justice William O. Douglas.

The Texas Legislature put sharp teeth in all that. It’s called the Michael Morton Law.

After a Williamson County man named Michael Morton spent a big chunk of his life in the pen for the murder of his wife, a deed he did not do, a prosecutor named Ken Anderson who later became a District Judge and had not acknowledged an investigator’s finding that Morton’s little boy saw the actual killer beat the woman to death, a jury sent him to the joint to do some of Morton’s time.

Judge Ken Anderson went to the pen for his mistaken belief that it didn’t matter what the little man had to say about how his mother died when a “monster” with red hands covered with her blood “broke the bed” and covered her remains with an open suitcase. A jury in ultra-conservative Georgetown found Michael Morton guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment when the eyewitness exculpatory testimony would have exonerated him for the act. No member of the public ever knew that Mrs. Anderson’s body had been covered with a suitcase, nor did they know of the broken bed frame and headboard resulting from the savage beating.

The cops kept all that secret so false confessors would be foiled.

Jurors never heard that a piece of two by four with her DNA and a bloody bandana found on a nearby construction scene were matched to the killer by similar means.

Why? Members of the Texas defense bar think it’s because prosecutors in Texas have no uniform policy when it comes to discovery of evidence. DA’s in the Lone Star State range from an open file policy to a steel-trap mindset in which armadas are launched and crusades mounted to get the barest of facts about offenses.The truth is, there is no constitutional right to discovery of the evidence to be used against an accused offender; there is only the obligation of prosecutors to divulge exculpatory evidence.

Or is there?

An open file policy doesn’t really work that way, anyhow. According to a North Carolina Brady training program, “The files we are shown often do not contain some police reports, witness statements, and other crucial documents. Materials that contradict the State’s case or support a defense are frequently missing. Evidence that corroborates the defendant’s story is mysteriously absent. Items that would impeach the police are nowhere to be found.”

In criminal litigation, surprise witnesses and evidence abound amongst prosecutors.

That was then; this is now, and all this has made a distinct impression on the legal mind of the local DA.

McLennan County Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna has often told the Courts and the media that he is extremely hesitant to put on cases that could result in “my picture on the front page of the paper” accompanying a story that says he’s going to the pen for withholding exculpatory evidence.

In an opening salvo, Reyna dismissed indictments for organized criminal activity against seven defendants accused of participating in an auto theft scheme in which one party to the offense sold a car to a LaSalle Avenue car dealer, then stole the vehicle back to re-sell it elsewhere – for a substantial quantity of meth.

He and his chief prosecutor demanded to know the name of the confidential informant involved. Police refused. He dropped all seven indictments. Criminal District Judge Ralph T. Strother, himself a veteran of 19 years prosecuting criminal cases in Waco courts, said he’d never seen anything like it.

One wonders about the steady exodus of prosecutors from Reyna’s staff.

His office and the Texas Rangers are still busy conducting a meticulous review of criminal cases prosecuted by his office, or indicted by the Grand Jury, according to numerous public statements by Reyna. He claimed the concurrence of Waco Chief of Police Brent Strohman, who last week announced his retirement after a decades-long career in which, according to his bio, he saw a 42 percent reduction in crime as a result of his administration.

His staff has never really gotten the message, it appears. Reached for a Public Information Act Request, an Assistant City Attorney named Judith Benton replied that official Waco has no idea what all the fuss is about when it comes to an investigation or the suspension of narcotics officers.

“There are no documents responsive to your request: ‘I am making application for and requesting access to public information related to the suspension of Clare Crook and David Starr. I am looking for suspension letters and the paperwork related to the criminal case that started it. If there is correspondence from the DA that has been determined to be public information, I need that also.’”

So mote it be.

‘It’s all abut drugs!’

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Photo from a training course outline: ‘Counterdrug Task Force Training’

The two-day, 18-hour training course bills itself as “A partnership between the Florida National Guard and St. Petersburg College.”

Printed and published in March, 2005, the document is designed to train officers who have had limited contact with criminal street gangs as defined by “multijurisdictional” authority – federal and state laws from coast to coast, including Florida and California.

The strategy is straightforward. If on trial it is proven that an actor committed violations in furtherance of the ends of a criminal street gang, sentence enhancements of as little as ten years apply to most felonies. Assaultive offenses and other crimes against the person are punishable by much more serious terms.

Ironically, much of the training of this type appeared in the southern tier of states – from Florida to California – in the Spring of 2015, the time frame targeted by the Army’s Special Operations Command program known as JADE HELM 15.

That is an artificial intelligence warfare program; its acronym stands for “joint assistant defense executive homeland elimination of local militants – 2015.” The software-driven program relies upon multiple bits of information, including facial recognition, maps, records, and the like, and takes over in moment to moment decision-making for field commanders.

Charming.

The thesis statement of the 100-plus page gang investigation outline is that “Gangs are about drugs, guns, money…”

Drugs account for an $80 billion a year industry thriving on the nation’s streets, it says here.

A gang is identified by colors, loyalties, family associations that replace the traditional values with those of an ongoing criminal organization, according to the training program.

How many members constitute a gang? In state after state, law after law, the number is fixed at three, or more.

According to a confidential source, “Nothing in this document mentions bikers, but it is very enlightening. Give it a read.”

Why not? “It’s all about drugs!” the manual says.

But it says something else that is far more subtle – and very chilling.

In an extensive section about “gang ideology,” there is much mention made of “Political control of law enforcement.”

That includes:

Political action

Candidates funding

hinder criminal investigations

injunctions hindering investigations

It all becomes very familiar in light of developments involving nearly 200 indictments of people for engaging in organized criminal activity, folks wearing colors who attended a meeting at Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, a meeting that was called by the Council of Clubs and Independents.

Many of them are not members of a motorcycle club; many are.

Those who are include members of an organization called U.S. Defenders, a coalition of activists with extensive ties to state legislators nationwide. Along with others, they keep motorcycle enthusiasts abreast of political developments regarding traffic laws, insurance regulations, gun ownership, civil law, and criminal prosecutions.

They are granted that right under the terms of Amendment One to the U.S. Constitution, which states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Like the rest of the Constitution, this statement limits the powers of the government, rather than enumerating its powers and privileges.

The meeting never took place. Before its organizers could begin, a disturbance involving gunplay and fist fighting occurred.

There were many items on the agenda, but we the people have for more than 13 months been prohibited from learning them due to 1) an exercise in mass hysteria in which legal authorities have told the same lie repeatedly, that everyone is under a “gag order” prohibiting any such discussion, and 2) terms of bond conditions prohibiting the accused from any such discussion.

That is hardly an across-the-board “gag order” issued by a Court.

But it worked for Adolph Hitler. He said if you tell the same lie long enough and loud enough, they will eventually believe you. He and his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, wound up dead in a bunker below the streets of Berlin. They allegedly committed suicide before elements of the Soviet Red Army could get to them.

The gag order, which was last week lifted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, involved the principles and only the principles of the case of State v. Clendennen, a member of the Scimitars, a Cossack support club.

The Cossacks and Bandidos are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation called “Operation Rocker Arm” that has targeted those clubs and their support organizations over their alleged “war” involving the right to identify as a motorcycle club from Texas, as evinced by a rocker arm on their “colors.”

One may read the Army’s gang investigations manual by clicking here:

173932427-Gangs-Investigations-Manual

It also doesn’t say a word about country club fund-raisers, church bulletin advisories, precinct, county, state and national political conventions – or the odd demonstration outside a reproductive clinic.

Just doesn’t say a word about all that.

Parolee’s desperate flight for freedom

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Cops apprehended Keith Allen Brown in these trees near 13th at Lasalle Ave. after a 20 hour pursuit along the Brazos in the heat

Waco – A Waco man who led McLennan deputies on a long night’s chase through the Brazos River bottoms began his flight for freedom when a patrol deputy reportedly saw him trying to break into a commercial location next door to the Visitors Center at the County Jail at around noon on Saturday.

Keith Allen Brown, 49, wrecked his pickup on railroad tracks when he got stuck in a pile of dirt and debris, then took to his heels through the brush and jungle growth along the banks of the river. He left his cell phone, billfold, and ID behind.

Deputies with dogs and a chopper overhead chased him until Sheriff Parnell McNamara called off the manhunt after two deputies succumbed to heat exhaustion.

Brown evaded arrest throughout the night, and was next spotted walking along LaSalle Avenue clad only in a pair of shorts at about 8 a.m. on Sunday, whereupon he again fled into woods between 13th and 18th Streets.

Records show he is charged with possession of methamphetamines and parole violation.

In a search at a residence, a woman named Lorrie Regian, 55, who answered the door at the North Waco address of 1710 Alexander greeted deputies, saying they should “feel free” to search wherever they chose.

She is charged with 9 counts of possession of controlled substances – one of which is for manufacturing and delivery of more than 4 grams and less than 21 grams of methamphetamine – and numerous charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, including 2 plastic bags of hypodermic needles.

Sheriff McNamara told media outlets, “We’re gonna file everything we can on this creep.”

To drop back 10 and punt

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Second-term McLennan County Judge Scott Felton runs a tight ship when it comes to control of information, public info requests show

Waco – So, the County Commissioners replaced Dr. Wells as the attending physician at the County Jail after he resigned in a huff over the objections leveled by intern nurses in the local community college training system.

That’s part of the story, but only part; we’ll save the rest for later.

Dr. Hodges of a local medical service, Compleat Physicians, PLLC, “submitted the proposal with the best cost to the County,” according to an announcement. The price: roughly the same as the rate at which Dr. Wells worked – $330,000 annually – for a period of three years.

What’s more, the existing medical staff will be retained under the employ of McLennan County.

Competing proposals varied wildly, but none came anywhere near the status quo of roughly one-third of a million per year, as experienced with Wells, as did the bid of Compleat Medical.

Correctional Medical Care of Blue Bell, PA., turned in a proposal for $1,138,858 per year. Southwest Correctional Medical Group of Monterey, CA., proposed an annual fee of $1,943,645 with a $1.89 per diem charge for each inmate over the population of 880, and the University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston bid $2,363,524 per year with an additional per diem charge of $0.97 per inmate in a population of more then 900, in addition to a 2% increase over the next year.

The unsuccessful bidders would have replaced existing county employees with their own staff.

One must be very careful what term is used to describe a bid – especially when the bidders are responding to a Request for Qualifications, according to the legal staff.

County Attorney Dustin Chapman corrected a Legendary News Service Public Information Act request for information, saying, The proposals (not bids) were presented to Court yesterday… As to the proposals, much of the information is marked as proprietary.  We will have to contact each proposer to make a determination on what can be released—if we cannot get agreement for release of proprietary parts, we will have to notify providers of their rights and punt it to the AG. Thanks…”

Said his interlocutor: “I understand that once the bids are opened in court, the information is public. If, instead of awarded you intended to say opened, I understand the information is still excepted and the information is considered by requestor as excepted from the request. If that is the case, I am making application for the RFP. If the bids are opened and known, I need the bids.”

One can’t be too careful.

After all, it was just such a pecadillo that led to the medical shakeup to start with. Courthouse Security Sergeant Lionel McGee’s wife reported to him that the young ladies in training at McLennan Community College objected to something or the other Dr. Wells was doing.

He told County Judge Scott Felton, who responded by having his legal staff make a request to the college for just what the ruckus was about, and they turned records of the complaints over. Wells decided to resign his contract. When the Legendary News Service asked for clarification, Mr. Chapman of the legal staff punted the pig skin to the Attorney General’s Office, and they responded by saying none of the information so described is in any way part of the public record.

What in the world were they doing with it?

We of The Legendary News Service are still wondering what Dr. Wells did to the candy straipers, and can only say, “Get well quick.”

So mote it be.

Spending political capital

Video's diminishing returns

Vote-hungry legislators count the house; video diminishes ‘political capital’ – according to veteran biker activist Mel Moss

Bedford, Tx – The Senator who was rag-chewing the government’s relations with folks’ billfolds and purses would qualify for the highest compliment a man can get on any car lot or in any boiler room.

When it comes to closing, this guy is not just strong; he’s in the garlic sandwich department.

Don Huffines, ultra-conservative freshman State Senator from District 16, didn’t mince words as he talked to the grizzled group of road warriors clad in colorful black leather cuts who gathered at the American Legion. He told them what they needed to hear, and what he needs to accomplish.

When it came time to mash the close button, he didn’t fool around; he slapped it so hard, fiery sparks flew.

It’s as simple as this, he said. Businesses large and small – giant and globe-straddling to mom and pop emporiums of tobacco and brew – are experiencing one growth industry and one only.

The only real hiring trend today is for the position of “compliance officer,” the person who makes dead sure the government can’t nail the outfit for what is written on some form, checked off in a dialogue box, or entered on any spread sheet.

If an outfit can’t afford to hire a professional to fill the position, then someone is spending valuable money-making time getting the job done, or trying to get the job done. 

You can go to jail, your corporation fined out of existence and into reorganization, if you’re not careful – very careful. The bigger the business, the higher the risk. Government has cast itself as the enemy of the go-getters who meet payrolls, build empires, close deals, sell securities, and use their big shoulders to play with railroads, stack wheat, butcher stock and ship it on down the line.

In the case of large banks, for instance,“For every piece of paperwork filled out wrong, that’s a separate crime,” he said. Indictments handed down in federal and state courts can go on for thousands of pages.

That’s why he wants term limits of 12 years for elected officials in the State of Texas – especially judges. Why? Sometimes, you just can’t get the Court’s attention. “The District Courts get it wrong all the time and in the appeals courts, sometimes you just can’t get a hearing…The Texas Supreme Court has waited as long as four years.”

Queue the Isley Brothers doing “Shake it Up, Baby; Twist and Shout.” Many flags unfurled; balloons fall from the sky.

Huffines is a fifth-generation Texan, scion of an automotive family with a long track record of selling motorized wagons and horseless carriages to the local gentry. His cowboy boots have dogging heels. He came to dance, and not necessarily only with those who brung him. This guy slung ink statewide in the latest biennial.

But he wasn’t there to talk to these guys about criminal violations. In only a small percentage of cases of asset forfeiture, where cops and prosecutors just haul off and seize money, motorcycles, boats, cars, houses, property, does the government allege any criminal violation whatsoever.

In fact, Huffines told the Sons of Liberty Riders, each of them politically attuned road warriors with many trips to Ostenatious under their butts, he’s fully in favor of felons who have been convicted of crimes having to forfeit their sack of marbles, the big house, the ranch and all the toys. That’s not his problem.

What he is against are the cases that are styled, “People of the State of Texas v. 2015 Harley-Davidson Motorcycle,” “People of the State of Texas v. Bushmaster AR-15 Rifle,” or “State v. $35,832.59.” That’s the nature of civil forfeiture as opposed to criminal forfeiture of assets in Texas courts. Prosecutors need not file any criminal complaint whatsoever. There is a hearing; the owner of the asset may post a bond and replevy, but if no convincing case is made, the forfeiture goes through immediately.

Period. Done deal. Happens every day. “It’s a profit center for the DA’s office,” he declared.

Huffines is a member of the Criminal Justice Committee. He sees a new day dawning in the Texas Legislature because the Legislature balkanized the state into an edgy balance of power.

“Everyone’s safe. We gerrymandered the districts when we redistricted. Republicans are safe; Democrats are safe.” They proved it in the State Senate when a coalition of Hispanics from blue districts joined whites from red districts, blacks from blue spots, and all of them, from both sides of the aisle, went against the establishment by voting and passing his amendment to the Open Carry Bill that would have nullified the right of a police officer to demand a person wearing a sidearm to show their ID and their Concealed Carry Handgun License after first carefully confiscating the handgun and detaining the individual in a roadside investigation.

Whew. Hot, ain’t it?

Huffines set a state record by holding the microphone for six and a half hours – as a freshman. In his opening remarks, he said, “They don’t like to hear you when you’re a freshman. They want you to sit in the corner and be quiet.”

Naturally, police exploded and the opposition raised hell. They said they would do it anyway and they slapped it down immediately when the bill came back across to the House of Representatives. It was a moment, and it counted.

Something clicked – somewhere. Everyone heard it.

The point remains, nothing of the sort would have ever happened only a few years in the past, or in any biennial session of the Texas Legislature in memory. The rules have changed.

Here’s the clincher. Huffines does not take his $600 a month salary, nor does he participate in the state’s pension plan for legislators, partake of expense account reimbursements – or anything else.

A professional politician he is not. No way.

How would one remedy the state of the law on civil forfeitures? It’s regulated by Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Would he seek to amend that?

I’m still studying that. I haven’t decided,” he said.

Here’s a sample of what he did say. Hear this and listen to the audio of his presentation.

The number one cause of poverty is divorce. That’s because in a divorce case, you remove one bread winner from the home. Insurance-driven regulations like the “Driver Responsibility Law,” in which a person can lose driver’s license, car, and, job, as well as his freedom over DWI and other moving violations have turned the state’s jails into “debtor’s prisons.” When Daddy can’t get to work, the family is no more.

Jail-for-Profit schemes have turned the jails into profit centers, something they were never meant to be.

The solution? Decriminalize traffic offenses. Put a 10-year limit on all offenses, including felonies – except when a person is to be vetted for law enforcement or national security positions.

As the bikers crowded in after his talk, he handed one his last copy of the U.S. Constitution, reminding his listeners that the only power that can take away their enumerated rights is the government.

Butch Moss, the leader of the pack, lamented privately the fact that he could only put about 25 “butts in the seats.” He needs upwards of 70 to make an impression.

They count the house,” he said of vote-hungry politicians. “If we video these events and post them, they say what difference does it make? Every time I do this, I’m spending political capital.”

Huffines didn’t appear to let that bother him.

As his supporters rushed in, seeking his opinion, wanting to share their hopes, he held his hands palms forward and said, “You’ve got to pick your battles.”

He said he will be entering the bruising arena again in summer of 2017, when the next election cycle begins anew. “I’m going to be doing a lot of social media. I’m going to do a lot of calls to action. I won’t do it often, but when I need you, I want you to come to the Capitol.”

It’s on.

So mote it be.

Sen. Don Huffines

Don Huffines, freshman District 16 Senator, faces re-election in 2018

Policing for profit

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A targeted motorist traveling on any of a number of well-worn grooves in the Lone Star State is motioned to the shoulder by the flashing lights of a patrol car.

Typically a Hispanic driving a rental car, a black man or woman obviously on the road to a gambling mecca at Shreveport or Oklahoma City, a truck driver operating a rig with a Rio Grande Valley address on the door, or a couple driving a slightly worn sedan or SUV, they get the good news from the patrolman that he has reason to believe they are transporting drugs, or laundering money – or some other outlandish accusation.

Asked to alight from the vehicle, a thorough search takes place and they are “detained” and transported or escorted to police headquarters – or, perhaps, the local hoosegow.

What they have in common is they are the kind of people who don’t look like they will fight back, according to a growing number of scholarly studies by think tanks, both conservative and liberal.

When it’s learned they have a large stash of cash, the officers summon a prosecutor who explains they have one of two options. They can sign a waiver and surrender their money, or they can see the judge, who will charge them with money laundering, set their bond – and they can call a lawyer.

What lawyer?

The one who will demand cash money up front to open a file, represent them for a criminal offense, help them contact a bondsman who will charge them a wallop of greenbacks to get them out of jail. Represent them through the rigors of years of endless, droning docket calls out of town.

Then the prosecutor – often the Criminal District Attorney in person – has a little heart to heart, come-to-Jesus conversation with his quarry.

This can all go away in the blink of an eye. Just sign the paperwork and walk way, step back into your lives, as if nothing ever happened, and all will be well.

Something happened, all right, and it’s starting to attract a lot of attention in the national media, as publications such as “The New Yorker,” the “Washington Post” and “New York Times” chronicle these outrageous roadside rip-offs.

What happened is the police and the jurisdiction’s chief law enforcement officer, the criminal district attorney, just took the extra-judicial route of relieving them of their assets – cash, car, valuables – without filing any criminal charges whatsoever.

It’s positively medieval, this thing of the King’s Men and Counsel coming out of the night to take whatever they wish to take – and it happens every day.

Members of the Legislative Strike Force will gather Saturday at 12:30 pm, American Legion Post 379 at Bedford,1245 N Industrial Blvd, to discuss all this with District 16 State Senator Don Huffines, Republican.

People will remember him by the last minute amendment he offered for the Open Carry Handgun Law that passed the 84th Legislature. If one must have a concealed carry handgun license to “wear” a handgun openly holstered, he reasoned, then why should it be mandatory to stop and prove it to every police officer who observes a person walking about wearing an openly holstered sidearm?

The amendment passed by a coalition of both conservative and liberal Senatorial votes amidst a furor of opposition from police who openly announced their intended defiance, but it was slapped down when the bill returned to the House of Representatives and the full Legislature for a final vote.

Needless to say, much of the Legislative Strike Force is made up of members of the Confederation of (motorcycle) Clubs who had gathered at Twin Peaks Restaurant on May 17 to hear about progress of that and other proposed open carry bills when “shots rang out.”

Huffines, a fifth generation Texan with a family background in automotive dealing, has a lot to talk about when it comes to civil asset forfeiture. Among his assignments, he is tasked as a member of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

That’s important, because it takes an interlocal government agreement between any law enforcement agency and the District Attorney’s office to deposit seized funds and account for property seized in reports to the U.S. Department of Justice under strict guidelines. Civil forfeitures are to be earmarked for the acquisition of police equipment. 

Needless to say, local governments throughout Texas are extremely secretive about these arrangements, and they have the law on their side, according to an extensive study in its second edition, published by the Institute For Justice. Local governments nationwide seized $29 billion worth of cash and assets through civil means over a 14 year period. In only 13 percent of cases, the government proved a criminal violation.

Local governments get 80 percent of what they seize, but under a complicated set of laws and regulations, information is unavailable because most states don’t keep records. Most who do keep records produce documentation that is unreadable, abstruse, difficult to decifer.

The practice “threatens basic rights to property and due process,” according to the Institute for Justice,” and without reform, “It’s only going to get worse.”

The study gives Texas a D+ for its grade in compliance with the law, with many agencies refusing to identify what they bought and paid for with the money they seized.

According to a white paper by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, “Unfortunately, delineating civil fofeiture from that which occurs pursuant to a criminal conviction is impossible under current reporting law.”

In fact, the report says, “defining just how much civil asset forfeiture occurs in Texas is impossible.”

Why?

Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 59, Article 59.06, agencies tthat engage in asset forfeiture only report topline summaries of the value of what is forfeited to the Office of the Attorney General.

Good luck.

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This map shows the areas where the most civil forfeitures are reported

But an open records request revealed some tidbits, such as the fact that “the 2012 total for Denison – a city in Grayson County astride U.S. 75 just before the Oklahoma border – posted a staggering amount in their forfeiture account of nearly $54 million.”

Somewhat tongue in cheek, the report adds “This was well beyond the amounts of previous years, and if accurate would give the town the largest account in the state…” One would wonder, why put down your money on the crap tables and roulette wheels of the casinos across the Red River, when the real gamble is, will you make it to the land of the Red Man with your money in that pocket or that purse?

In the Institute for Justice study, ranking of Texas law enforcement’s dependence on forfeiture funds found that of the top 10, intake of civil forfeiture money is, on average, about 37 percent.

To calculate that percentage, we removed one agency, the 76th District Attorney in Camp County (Pittsburgh, county seat) from the top 10 because its forfeiture proceeds represented an astonishing 1,344 percent of its budget, and that skewed the average.”

You’ve got to ask youself, why don’t they tell you what they really mean?

Similarly, the smaller agencies (those serving less than 1 million people) among the top ten forfeiture earners report forfeiture proceeds in excess of 65 percent of annual budgets.”

The Texas State Auditor’s Office revealed a whopper in a report published in October, 2015. The Dallas County Criminal District Attorney’s Office paid a $47,500 legal settlement in fiscal year 2014 related to a claim against the former elected DA. Their holding is the payment was illegal under the law because it relieved the official for any liability in a judgment rendered in a traffic accident in which the elected official was driving a county vehicle. Therefore, since a benefit was obtained, the payment was illegal.

In the payment of $16,525 related to a contempt matter naming the former District Attorney as a defendant, the auditors declared it illegal to use state asset forfeiture funds to pay those fees.

So mote it be.

 

‘Ranger Hatfield photographed the writing on the wall’

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“April 5-2-13” A large flower type pattern, to the right and below, three shapes on the wall, a spade, a star, and what appeared to be a nine.

Meridian, Bosque County, Tx – Ranger Jim Hatfield arrived at the County Jail about 1:30 p.m. on May 4, 2013, the day April Troyn, 36, died a questionable death by asphyxiation while in custody in a substandard jail. The confusion he found allowed officials to get by with the skin of their teeth instead of answering in court or facing sanctions in a state administrative hearing.

They will answer to the voters.

After he noticed her body prone on the floor, one arm thrust beneath the bars of a four by four foot entry “cage” inside the solid steel door, he saw two narrow strips of blanket she allegedly used to hang herself in a sitting position by tying a noose around her neck and leaning forward. On the table where they lay, he beheld a curious display written green ink. He later reported that he found no pen or pencil in the cell.

The symbols inscribed on a smooth portion of the concrete block wall are masonic in nature, from the ninth class of symbols, and have been often used by fighter pilots to mark the fuselages of their ships in World War One, Two, and subsequent conflicts.

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The name April, followed by the date 5-2-13, the date she was booked into the jail on an arrest warrant for an alleged offense of abandonment and/or endangerment of her son five months previously, and a diagram of a “flower, a spade, a star, and what appeared to be a 9.”

According to Hatfield’s narrative, “The star resembled the star Troyn has tattooed on the inside of her wrist.” There was the phrase written next to that, “BC will fuck you.”

Said her ex-mother-in-law Carolyn Jackson, a corrections officer retired from Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division at Gatesville, “That’s some kind of clique she was in out in Fresno, California, called the Bulldogs.” There is some evidence she is right. The Marine Corps’ VF-281, a squadron of 18 Corsair F4U aircraft, was formed in the Imperial Valley at the El Centro Marine Corps Air Station in 1943. Their mascot, a bulldog, is emblazoned on their shoulder patch.

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Other outlaw groups, including the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, have borrowed certain elements of their colors from the nose and fuselage art of aviation units.

Female inmates are not to be kept in this tiny lockup past the 48th hour, the standard time for their “magistration” by a Justice of the Peace or Municipal Judge, because according to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, they cannot be segregated by sight and sound from male inmates. This stricture has been in place for at least five years.

The Commissioners’ Court and voters have rejected at least two schemes to finance the construction of a new jail. They vociferously reject the notion of going into debt for the purpose. The Court voted three to one against a revenue bond issue as an economic development project in 2010; the voters overwhelmingly rejected a bond issue in a general election later the same year.

Women are kept in a “female holding cell” located about 15 feet from a “booking cage” and the communications center for the Sheriff’s Office. If they don’t make bail, they are transferred to the McLennan County Jail at Waco, or the Hill County lockup in Hillsboro for a per diem figure.

Since her alleged suicide, one other female prisoner has taken her life by self strangulation.

Exactly when April Troyn lost her life and how that has been determined is a very complicated affair.

No one seems to be completely sure, and the record reflects the uncertainty.

But the story of her arrest on a warrant obtained five months following an incident involving one of her children is a complication in itself. 

The subseqent investigation is a collection of misadventures, miscommunication and the kind of evidentiary nightmare than can result when the scene of an investigation has been repeatedly violated by persons unauthorized to be there.

For instance, because a corrections officer named Richard Flood cut her body down, then the Meridian Chief of Police untied the noose around her neck, it caused a great deal of confusion for the Texas Ranger conducting the investigation. He spent at least three intense sessions with Jesse Johns, the lead jailer, trying to learn exactly how the narrow strip of blanket was affixed to the cross bars of the cage, then to the noose around Troyn’s neck.

According to his report, Jail Administrator Beth Braswell said the blanket “was looped through the metal cage and tied on the inside of the cell on one end. The other end of the blanket was tied around Troyn’s neck.” Meridian Police Chief Albert Biggs said he untied the blanket strips. When Hatfield found them, he “saw only creases in the blanket, no knots.”

Then there is the uncertainty over who exactly was the last to see her alive, and when.

Deputy Flood saw her on the floor covered with a blanket at 7 am; he assumed she was sleeping. Sally Hayworth, who shared the cell, saw the judge at 8:30 a.m., and jail staff released her at 8:45.

When she arrived at 6:45 am, she told Hatfield on the afternoon of May 4, Troyn said, “I am glad you are here. I was about to hang myself.” Did she report that to jail staff? No. Hayworth told him she had known Troyn for “three or four years, that she would “talk shit,” looking for attention. When Hatfield visited her at her home, he found Hayworth in a drunken condition, evidenced by the odor of alcohol on her breath, an “unsteady balance,” and he noted “her speech was slurred.” She was unaware that Troyn was dead.

During medical screening on her book-in the previous day, May 3, Troyn told Jailer Johns that in the past she had attempted suicide over a stillborn child. Johns said he did not place her in the “detox” cell in front of the booking desk for observation as frequently as every 15 minutes because a lot of people say they have in the past attempted suicide who have no such intentions at the time of their examination. He noted no “indications of intentions to harm herself.”

Hatfield found her body cold to the touch, with a dark purple bruise on the right side of the neck “extending from front to right side to back of neck.” He photographed the tiny hemorrhages in her eyes known as petechiae that occur when a person is strangled.

Johns’ working partner, Richard Flood, said he opened the outer door to the holding cell at 11:15 and saw her sitting with her back to the cage’s bars, and he realized she had hanged herself. And yet Jailer Johns checked the security of the jail at 11:15 a.m. and noted “everything was as it should be.”

When he opened the door at 11:40 to serve her lunch, he found her unresponsive, according to his statements and the record.

Opening the door is important because the small window in its solid structure is masked by a piece of paper to keep male inmates from peeping in at the females.

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Somehow, between 8:30 a.m. and 11:40 a.m., April Troyn managed to strangle herself with a narrow strip of blanket, her body cooled to the point it was cold to the touch, and was noticeably stiffened due to the early stages of the decomposition of muscle and joint tissue. Bodies cool at the rate of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit per hour; stiffening of muscle and joint tissue does not occur for a minimum of two hours.

In the laconic tradition of Texas Rangers’ reports, Hatfield makes no mention of these seeming conundrums. He merely states the sequence of events as clearly as possible. 

The Bosque County Grand Jury later decided there had been no probable cause of a criminal violation. They chose not to return an indictment or conduct further investigation.

This is the time line as reported by Ranger Hatfield:

Time Line: Booked in 5/2/13 at 11:29 a.m. outstanding warrant from P.D. Abandoning/endangering a child warrant F02130045, Magistrates warning 5/3/13 at 9:05 a.m. Removed from cell at 10:25 for phone call, record someone reached at 10:30 a.m. Sally Hayworth placed in cell at 6:45 a.m. Johns and Flood arrive and everything secure at that time.

Timeline continued: 05-04-13 at 8:30 am, Hayworth was removed from the female holding cell and given her Magistrates Warning by Municipal Judge Paul Phillips. 05-04-2013 at 8:45 am, Hayworth is released from the Bosque County Jail. 05-04-2013 at 11:15 am, Jailer Johns checks the security of the jail and everthing is as it should be. 05-04-2013 a 11:40 am Jailer Johns begins to serve lunch. Jailer Johns opened the door to the female holding cell and found Troyn unresponsive and lying on the floor. Jailer Johns called for assistance and Jailer Flood responded. EMS was called to the jail and the jailer attempted CPR on Troyn. End of Timeline.” A copy of video surveillance dated 5/4/13 covers “from the jail booking desk down the hall which has the female cell. The female cell is located on the right side of the video, but the doorway is covered by the metal mesh cage where the jailer sits at the booking desk…The recording was recorded upside down, and backward making it difficult to watch. Because the camera is motion activated, “This setting on the camera is what made the video appear jumpy.” Video recording from the hard drive is not upside down and backwards, so it’s not hard to watch.

On the video recording, Ranger Hatfield reviewed nobody was seen entering the female cell prior to Jailer Johns serving lunch.

Troyn’s family members added to the confusion when they sought the advice of counsel. Her husband, Jonathan Richardson, and her mother-in-law Carolyn Jackson, made an appointment with a Waco attorney, but when they arrived, they learned her two sisters and her mother had made a previous visit. During that time, the legal staff gave them advice and conducted an extensive interview under the impression they were plaintiffs.

When the mistake was discovered, the law firm was forced to tell the husband and the mother-in-law they could be of no help because of ethics considerations of having consulted with one party, the preclusion of representing the other.

They arranged for representation by another law firm, but learned after the Rangers’ investigation was completed on June 27, 2014 more than a year after the death, that the attorney had not filed any instrument of suit and had elected to bow out of the litigation due to the impending expiration of the two-year statute of limitations.

During this time, a sister of April Troyn’s named Christina Morgan and her husband Russell gained custody of her two sons following an arrest and conviction for possession of methamphetamine for distribution.

They are now facing indictment, the husband for two charges involving violations of the state Water Code involving an illegal discharge.

Indictments against Christina Morgan are sealed, according to staff at the 220th District Clerk’s Office. They are prohibited by court order to reveal the specific charges.

In the middle of all this, Bosque County Commissioners are struggling to reach a solution for compliance with Jail Standards.

Said County Judge Dewey Ratliff, following a workshop session with a jail architect, construction manager, and finance managers, an estimate for a 64-bed “bare bones” jail that would comply calls for an estimated $10 million in debt.

That disappoints me.”

He and his colleagues are shooting for an $8 million project. Any design, whether it be for less or more, must be expandable to the next increment of approved bed space. For instance, the 64-bed design must be expandable to 96 bunks; a 48-bed design must be expandable to 54 beds.

All infrastructure as to plumbing, electronic alarms, electrical service and security must be in place.

Even then, the full capacity must not be used. Regulation calls for a 10 percent reserve in population. On top of that regulation, inmates must be classified into three categories – non-violent, somewhat violent, and outrightly violent offenders. They may not be mingled, one category with the other.

The reason for his concern is plain enough. “For a 64-bed capacity, we can only house 48.

I like that kind of just-in-case planning,” he sighs. “We’re building a 64-bed jail, but can only house 48.”

The same goes for option two. A 45-bed jail could only house 40 prisoners.

His conclusion: “I’m not going to allow any state agency to dictate to the voters what they will or will not spend.”