Saturday, July 05, 2008

What's the matter with Plano?

Has anybody else noticed the steady stream of ugly law enforcement scandals and allegations of corruption coming out in Plano recently, some of them dating back two decades? Taken together, they paint quite a portrait of the Collin County justice system. Here's my own hastily compiled short list, and I'll bet Bill Baumbach could add to it:

Judge and DA Slept Together? According to an affidavit filed by a former Assistant DA in the Charles Hood capital murder case, from 1987 - 1993 then-Judge Verla Sue Holland carried on an affair with then-District Attorney Tim O'Connell, including in cases where the DA personally acted as an attorney before the judge. (She later went on to serve on the Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' highest criminal court.) Both Holland and O'Connell have refused to confirm or deny the explosive allegations.

Setting Up Innocent People? Last fall a federal civil rights lawsuit alleged that four Plano officers conspired with a man's ex-wife in a bizarre scheme to set him up on on a DWI charge.

Steroid Use by Police? Steroid dealer David Jacobs alleged steroid use by five Metroplex police departments including Plano PD. Dallas police implemented steroid testing in response but the others did not.

Highest Probation Revocation Rate: Though the numbers appear somewhat overstated, Collin County's probation department reported the highest rates of revoked probationers of any large county in Texas.

Sweetheart Pharma Contract? A district judge lost his bid for re-election in March after requiring probationers to use an unproven anti-addiction medication but keeping no records about the program.

Pandering to NIMBYism: State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg from Collin County led the charge last year to chase one of the area's few halfway houses out of existence.

Hounding Gay Employee? After Collin County ousted its well-regarded teen court coordinator allegedly because he's a homosexual, the Dallas News asked, "What can be said about an employer who runs off a solid worker because he is gay? Nothing good."

False Conviction Overturned by DNA: The man convicted for a high-profile child rape and murder in Plano from the '90s that spawned Texas' sex offender registration laws turned out to be innocent, and the Collin DA acquiesced in his release from death row after DNA proved someone else committed the crime.

These stories don't tell the whole tale - e.g., I know there are good programs going on at the Collin County probation department and their DWI court - but doesn't that seem like quite a bit of dysfunctionality arising from a single locale?


Anonymous said...

After reading Grits for Breakfast, daily, for the past year, I am today officially placing myself on suicide watch!


dfhardwick said...

I am sadly not surprised. Seems common place for every county everywhere right now. I have become, sadly, not shocked or scandalized, by any amount of corruption or drama.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker here:

My real name by the way.

Plato, no one requires you to read Grits.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Charles, you and Plato probably have a lot more in common than I do with either of you, both of you being persnickety old codgers from the South Plains. ;) Next time I'm up that way perhaps I'll introduce y'all.

And cheer up, Plato: At least I didn't ask what's the matter with Lubbock!

Anonymous said...

Grits - while we didn't spend all that much time together when you were here, I'd hope that occasionally you recognize my attempts at being humorous. If not, my post above was an attempt. Everything here is just so damned serious so I take it upon myself to drop a turd in the punch bowl occasionally.

And..............Kiker ain't from the South Plains, he's from up there in the rarified air,the panhandle.


Anonymous said...

Why does anyone....Charles...feel compelled to address Plato. By his own writings Plato is a "Fool"...a person lacking in judgment or prudence. Therefore, the Grits readers really interested in following and offering legitmate conversation...stay tuned and turn away from foolish channels. On another note, yes, I follow the Collin County incident closely since the TYC scandal and the debate so long ago when the staff attempted to defame the mother who strongly advocated for her son...the young black boy who was sentenced and filed the federal suit and then while he was at the Mart Unit...after all the anguish and threats, false paperwork and attempts to send him to TDCJ we put her and that boy thru...I thank God for the Civil Rights, I think his name was Harrington...who defended that boy because his case too was reversed. I know he sits in the system still currently because of Collin County and waits and that county from the general counsels view "refuses to let the boy out." So, some of us staff...follow him because we were given orders by the PS to "treat him like shit"...and I followed in to. Then I started to see exactly what was going on and I promised I would watch and speak when the time came. I can feel it in my bones the time is coming to talk about all I know and saw regarding Collin County, TYC and that boy and the treatment and Simmons and alls they said to do and are trying to do. I talked to the transport people of Collin County, one of them is my home boy, and there is only one juvenile judge in Collin County who was appointed by the Governor Rick Perry. The same governor who did nothing until he really had to regarding TYC and Grits if you follow those programs you claim are "good coming out of Collin County"...are for whites. The number of miniorities that go to TYC versus the whites verus legitimate cases - adult and juveniles...needs to be in the Innocense Project or investigation part. He said that alot of the whites actual admit to raping their brothers and sisters...and get no registration, no determinate sentencing and nothing close to the black and mexican kids that come thru. And I have never seen a county go after a boy and his family or spend so much money on one kid like I have here. And that kid ain't been in no trouble and I remember the other conversations regarding this and alot of them said "investigate that county" I am glad you finally go to it. There is a reason for all that corruption in that County and someone needs to investigate it. So, then I did some research and found out that the only and only juvenile judge released a kid on bail...kid pays the bail...that judge then brought the kid back and asked for a higher bail because his charge looked like the Virigina Tech shootings...the boy was chinese. Charges are based on the charge not the same race and the fact he used a gun as well. Police reports and testimony altered, wrongfilled trials, wrongful convictions, a DA who only stood one term on the court of appeals - his resume reads shoty and DA's who worked in Dallas County under Henry Wade - a majority of the exonerations came from there after he as the DA said prosecute, prosecute, prosecute...minorities that is, current DA's not being truthful-missing documents, delayed or refused releases because of the judges there, a judge who lost an election and was primary and part of the ownership or founder of the pharmeceutical company and all he could say was "my case load is clearer then any other judge here" , steroids from cops, revocated probations - but get grant funding for their sex offender program and its full of whites and this is supposedly an "affluent county" and yet it is the most corrupt, the most unapologetic, and remains the fakest, prejudical, law breaking, law corrupted counties with a discriminatory flavor and a DA who "doesn't talk to the media because they are about prosecuting not show business." Maybe its because they are corrupt and if someone showered some lights on the fools gold...maybe then they would see the zirconia - maybe then justice can take place. So, yes Grits...some of us do pay attention maybe some Texas Ranger will too or State Bar Investigator or even a non corrupt OIG person who is willing to do some research into their conviction rate and the racial slant they have and the horrible issues coming from that county?

Anonymous said...

I would add that the suicide rate at the Collin county Jail has increased alarmingly.

Anonymous said...

7/06/2008 09:57:00 PM Wow, I didn't even know that. That is very interesting and disturbing. Has anyone published any comments or investigated the deaths? I linked to Dallas County and other county jails and those suicides are being investigated. That is incredibly disturbing since Collin County boasts and brags about so many things...and their law enforcement investigations are suspect. That is horrible. Even the SPCA are humane in putting down dogs. They are very different beast in itself. I hope someone is following up on the deaths. Inmates or not...the families deserve answers.

Anonymous said...

Plano and McKinney schools also have alot of drugs, cheese and heroin on their campuses. It even extends to the elementary schools in McKinney. The same county where, if I remember correctly, the High School principal and assistant were fired and they are making a movie out of it. I wonder how many kids those two ruined or how many young deaths have occured or been hidden because of the drugs.

Anonymous said...

The fascists who control the People's Republic of Plano don't need, nor do they solicit, advice from outsiders on how to run their government. They're doing just fine making up their own rules as they go along and running out of town anyone who disagrees with their methods.

Anonymous said...

Persnickety old curmudgeon from the Panhandle chiming in:

Well, Plato, I can take your humor. The trouble with e-communication is that if the reader does not know the writer, he/she can't get visual and intonation cues to know what is sarcasm, irony, or just plain ole serious prose.

As for Panhandle-South Plains, geographically and culturally, Tulia is on the line. Happy is definitely Panhandle. Kress is definitely South Plains. The geographic line for the Panhandle cuts right through the middle of Swisher County, and Tulia is supposed to be smack dab in the middle of Swisher County. I grew up NE of Tulia, so I guess that makes me more Panhandle than South Plains. As for rarified air, when I was growing up if we had a wind from the North we could smell the refineries from the Borger area. Still can sometimes. But mostly we get the aromatic breezes off the feedlots. Quite rarified.

I would welcome Scott's offer to introduce us.

Mostly I can identify with Will Rogers who said he never met a man he didn't like. But I've known a few people old Will never met.

Anonymous said...

7/07/2008 08:45:00 AM I hope you are joking. Alot of us are following Collin County but all I ever hear is "they run it their way." That doesn't mean its right and it doesn't mean it should go left unaddressed. It is a "good old boy" corrunpt dodge city but attempting to jump in the game with the force of money, crooked politics and undercover lynchings. They are ridiculous. I have asked alot of quality of professionals and they don't have much respect for the attorneys their either. I did read the article where that principal was fired, and the steroids stuff but I didn't know about the suicides in the jail. I do know they claim that youth in the detention facility try to commit suicide all the time but it ain't true. Those folks be falsifing their paperwork to get more money from the grants and yet nothing will actually reflect what the money was used for. I do know about the dope there...alot of the soccer moms are on ice and ecstasy. I know, I used to be one. The JJAEP is a complete joke and collin county literally tries to rustle up the youth to go because they want to be able to say they saved the youth. But look at whose their, blacks and mexicans...from the tracks. The education sucks and it is fake. That is why I moved out. Well, that and because my daughter and her teacher were having an affair. We are breed to not speak up...just move out.

Anonymous said...

Collin County takes its lead from George Bush. It's a hard core Republican county that pays little to no attention to civil rights or the rule of law. The law is don't get in the way of the cops or those who run the government. If you do, there will be hell to pay.

Anonymous said...

7/08/2008 11:50:00 AM Even the devil has his place and Collin County is not above the law. They may think they get away with it...but its only for the moment...thats why there are better people like Bill and Grits who expose these things so people can be educated. Don't be bullied...stand, fight and whatever hell they think they can bring....more can brought against liars, cheaters, false witnesses, lying attorneys, prejudice, and judges and cops who use the color of the law for their favor and not the people. Remember, they are human...

Anonymous said...

The point about the Plano police officers working with the guys ex-wife to set him up... this isn't news, this happens everywhere, especially when a police decides he really likes sleeping with some guy's hot wife.

Anonymous said...

Collin County covered up allegations of a sexual predator -- administratively closing an investigation (leaving 2 years before he was caught and imprisoned for 60 years several aggravated sex and child rape charges). They also assisted this predator/abuser abduct his ex-wife's child
The child was placed into foster care, abused and that was covered up with a gag order and stripping the mom of all her rights and ability to see or child -
Its Almost Tuesday

When they figured out what they were doing, they just backdate, they don't remedy their actions. they even changed the child's name without serving subpoenas to the parents. Look at the video here - hear the child say it for yourself:

they lie to the child (after he'd just been abused in foster care) telling him his mom didn't show up to visit him BUT SHE DID - they make her go away to hide the child's injuries.
Collin County makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Man says Plano police stole steroids from him during a raid

Mystery surrounds death of Plano steroids dealer