Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More border sheriff criminality ... this time on the Red River

The latest elected border Sheriff to go down in flames over corruption charges comes from the Oklahoma border instead of South Texas ("Former Montague County sheriff pleads guilty to sexually assaulting drug suspect," Jan.27):

The former sheriff of Montague County has admitted sexually assaulting a woman after promising her he wouldn't arrest her when deputies found drug paraphernalia in her house.

Bill Keating, whose four-year term as sheriff ended Jan. 1, agreed Friday to plead guilty to a federal charge of deprivation of civil rights under color of law after he confessed to authorities that he had forced the woman to give him oral sex after a drug raid Nov. 14.

Cue Freddie Mercury singing "Another one bites the dust."

Last October we saw a South Texas sheriff who'd received millions in Governor's border security grants arrested for allegedly working in cahoots with the murderous Mexican Gulf Cartel.

Also in 2008, the Bastrop County sheriff was convicted of taking bribes to protect illegal gambling.

The Potter County and Bexar County Sheriffs both lost their jobs recently over corruption charges related to their commissaries, and the Potter County Sheriff was actually convicted of official corruption charges.

The Laredo Police Chief pled guilty in 2007 to bribery charges.

In 2005, Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu was convicted of escorting drug smugglers through his county.

And don't forget the elected DAs: Former "prosecutor of the year" Ray Sumrow, Richard Roach, Chuck Rosenthal admitting to addiction to prescription meds before resigning ... You know, the people who have left the public with this impression.

Truly, I could go on and on.

How is it that the situation in Montague County could have gone on until the Sheriff was entirely out of office? Literally the day he left, his successor shut down the jail and moved out all the prisoners. How long was this situation knowingly tolerated?

This absurdist example is another reason why I support state Sen. John Carona's law enforcement integrity unit proposal. In the real world, enforcement only happens where enforcement resources are expended, and Texas spends too few resources ferreting out public corruption and too much on law enforcement pork.


Anonymous said...

"How is it that the situation in Montague County could have gone on until the Sheriff was entirely out of office? Literally the day he left, his successor shut down the jail and moved out all the prisoners. How long was this situation knowingly tolerated?"

And you hit the nail on the head Scott.

From my earlier post. I believe the state jail commission needs some scrutinizing here. How is it the newly elected sheriff had the common sense to virtually close down the jail, but the jail commisssion didn't?

The jail was last inspected in October 2008. Surely no one believes that nearly a million dollars in damages to the jail happened between the last time TCJS was there and when sheriff Cunningham took office on
January 1, including the control board and fire alarm system not working.

If sheriff Cunnigham saw the urgency to take action, why didn't TCJS?

The county judge and commissioners court are not exempt here either. Montague County may as well get ready and part their wallet. The question is how many zeros will there be on each check.

Anonymous said...

Do the Feds not have a sexual assault or rape statute they can charge Keating with? A civil liberties charge seems pretty weak for repeated instances of blackmailing a person into having sex. That's rape, straight up, and should be prosecuted as such. If the Feds can't, the state should.

Anonymous said...

Aww quit whining. These folks don't need oversight or investigation, heck, they are sworn defenders of liberty and Law Enforcement Officers of the highest caliber!
Just fund them some more SWAT equipment and drug investigation monies, maybe add a helicopter and some traffic cams and everything will be OK. Maybe they just need a vigorous anti-prostitution, child porn grant, or perhaps a no-refusal DUI checkpoint program.
You must be some kind of a dope-loving, criminal-coddling communist to try and interfear with these good officers doing their job to protect freedom in Texas! Dang you!

Anonymous said...

Does the good old War on Drugs feed corruption?

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I live in Montague County. I found out in 2006 how bad our elected and hired officials were. My son went to jail after officer Ted Geardi tried to do a trip hold on him. When he fell the good officer fell with him. He then got up told the other officer to get his dog. The dog was allowed to chew him up till he had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. When I tried to get a police report I was told that I could not have it. Officer Jim Wright was very rude the first time I ask for it. The next time I took my daughter with me. He came out of his office angry and with a loud voice. When he saw that I was not alone he said I'll give you a report. He printed off a paper with my sons name and the date of arrest on it. That cost me 3 dollars. I tried to talk with the DA, judges etc. Nothing. Just got passed on. I called my sons attorney, He said he had never received anything from Montague county. I also wrote The FBI about excessive force, and deadly force as the dog could have killed him and I guess the good ole boy officers would have just watched. I received a letter from them that they don't get involved in such matters. Hello. I also wrote to the ACLU, nothing. So where was everybody, getting passed on, thats where. To this day we still cannot get a report on the arrest. Ted Geardi no longer works there, he sued the county for his canine fees. There is suppose to be a tape of the arrest. I know there is a witness but in Montague County you cannot get open records apparently.

Anonymous said...

To anon 3:25

You can make a written request under the Open Records Act and request copies of whatever it is you want, including the video tapes.

The agency has ten working days to provide the information to you.

If the agency thinks the information is not subject to Open Records, they must inform you they plan to seek an Attorney General's opinion to see if the information must be released. If they seek the opinion, the Texas AG's office will make a determination if the information must be released.

If the agency does not respond to your request or refuses to release the information and does not intend to seek the opinion of the attorney general, you can call the Open Records division hotline @ at (512) 478-6736 or toll-free (877) 673-6839. The AG's office will begin to intervene on your behalf.

I'm providing a link so you can review other facts about open records in Texas.


x4livin said...

I know her..she did, they told her they don't have the records at the DAs office, that it is in county, she went to county, they told her that they can't release anything to her because they might still have a case(for resisting arrest or something like that..I'd have to ask her)The copy of the report they gave her, she swowed me..it was blacked out from top to bottum, leaving only the name and arrest number. It's crazy, the bunch that was there is out, and the courthouse is still playing crap ball. My case was similar, I can't seem to get a copy of a 10 year old mugshot to even begin a process to request a commutation(mugshot will show that inmates neck had been cut with a knife..blood)...no element of self defense was ever entered even though the other guy cut his throat before he ever reached for a gun..he was 21..scared..threatened with life over murder..advised by a crap appointed attorney to sign and accept the plea..waived all his rights and signed for a plea of 15 years for manslaughter..10 years still being denied parole with near perfect behavior, all education taken that he can access, works every day..etc. Montague county has GOT to be one of the most corrupt in the state. I thuroughly wish there was something we could do. I still think all this is going to get swept under the rug. Looks like Keeting is going to take the fall for them all. The deputee sheriff Jim Wright(I think was his name) is definately as horrendous as the sheriff was, but 10 times as rude and hateful.

Anonymous said...

To x4livin,

The agency is required, in certain instances, to provide information they have, but they do not have to create what they don't have.

If you and Anon 3:25 feel that the agency has not complied with your request, call the Texas AG's Open Records divison hotline and talk to them about your situation. And anon 3:25, tell the AG's office about the blackouts. They may be able to help you with that too!

I did open records requests for our agency and have been helping people like you and anon 3:25 since my retirement.

An agency who was requested for information told one of my recent clients they didn't have to give her anything. Things changed when the agency got a call from the Attorney Generals office. My client got what she wanted and now I think this agency has been educated about what can happen if they don't comply.

Don't give up. Call the AG's hotline tomorrow after 8am.

Anonymous said...

"Truly, I could go on and on."

Don't forget judges too!

From Texas Lawyer
January 26, 2009

Three Jurists Disciplined, Fourth Wins on Appeal


How does a judge keep his seat after being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor?

Anonymous said...

This happened in 2006

Montague County D.A. Arrested

Story Created: Jul 5, 2006 at 9:55 PM CST

The Montague, Archer and Clay County District Attorney was arrested Wednesday morning for Aggravated DWI. The Sheriff's Department pulled Tim Cole over near Lake Texoma in Oklahoma.

Deputies found him with a gun and an open container of alcohol. Investigators say Cole was tested at nearly double the legal limit. Now Cole says he's resigning.

In his resignation letter, Cole says "the last year has been of great personal high stress for me, but this is no excuse for this behavior. It is in violation of the public trust in my office."

Cole has been the 97th District DA since 1992. He says his resignation will go into effect as soon as he's able to establish his own law practice

x4livin said...

Cole IS the DA who prosecuted the inmate who was convinced to waive his rights against self defense. He told the inmate "There IS no self defense when Tim Cole is up for re-election." The occurance and sentencing was in October of 1999. Yup, he was re-elected on the stance that he was "tough on crime". I do know for a fact that they have the mugshot, it was in a newspaper but the picture in a paper is not of a quality that it can be placed on a kiosk at wallyworld and enlarged while maintaining the integrity of the original.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott....

Here is some jail news fron the other side of the Red River border, Texarkana, AR

Contraband sought in Miller County Jail raid

TEXARKANA, Ark. — Dozens of law officers conducted a contraband sweep in the Miller County Jail, searching for weapons, drugs, mobile phones and other items that have contributed to long-standing problems at the lockup.
Officials told the Texarkana Gazette that the raid began at 1 p.m. Tuesday and lasted into the evening.
The raid included officers from the state police, Texarkana police, the Arkansas Department of Community Correction and the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a serious issue. SWAT teams are being used for extensive and intensive searches. We’ve got a serious situation and we’re battling this every day,” said Sheriff Ron Stovall, who took office at the start of the year. “We first thought about doing this Jan. 1, but the contraband was hidden so well and in the attic. We wanted to get ourselves established before we did this.”
As the search continued, officers had located a metal shield that might be used for protection. Several pieces of orange uniforms have been tied together to form a rope. Also, the internal portion of a speaker was found along with wiring and a narrow foot-long piece of metal that could be considered a weapon.
About 30 SWAT team members conducted the search.
About 250 inmates were in the jail Tuesday afternoon. They sat in jail hallways while officers searched the pods and cells.
About a dozen escapes occurred at the jail last year, and several jail workers have been dismissed, and in some cases arrested, for offenses ranging from sex with inmates to smuggling contraband.
This article was published Wednesday, January 28, 2009