Thursday, December 30, 2010

New DA in Waco off to rocky start: Announces new hire who's then indicted

Getting the most possible use of the day pass I bought yesterday to the subscription-only Waco Tribune Herald, I should mention recent news from their District Attorneys office, where 38-year old GOP challenger Abel Reyna defeated longtime Dem DA John Segrest, and wants to model himself on Williamson County DA John Bradley. Reported the Trib:
Reyna said he helped define goals for his office by visiting district attorneys’ offices in Williamson and Collin counties. He said those counties’ prosecutors have tough, take-no-prisoners reputations around the state. He wanted to know why.

“When I got elected, I started digging around to find out what made a great district attorney’s office. Williamson County came up throughout the state as one of the top counties for being tough on crime. I want to surpass that. That became my goal,” Reyna said.
The part that strikes me most about that quote is the sentence, "When I got elected, I started digging around to find out what made a great district attorney’s office." Really? You mean you ran for, and were elected, DA without a clue what it would take to do the job? That's something you started thinking about AFTER election? Yikes!

Reyna wasn't the only one doing some hard thinking after his election. A third of felony prosecutors in the office (8 of 24) resigned immediately, making Murray Newman's complaints of the talent drain at the Harris DA's office seem meager.  Then Reyna announced his first new hires, including a first assistant from Williamson County and senior prosecutor Greg Davis from Collin County, only to have Davis indicted by a Collin County grand jury almost immediately thereafter for tampering with government records, a state jail felony. The Dallas News reported that Davis admitted in court documents to [the DA's Office] altering employee time records to make it appear employees were working when they were not - a charge the DA's office itself had made in gaining indictments against Collin County District Clerk employees. Reyna backed off the decision to hire Davis in light of the criminal proceedings. (Ed. note: The original version made it sound as though Davis himself changed the time records when in fact the News only reported that he filed a motion to recuse the DA's office. I apologize for the misstatement.)

The whole Collin County brouhaha is a complete zoo, with the outgoing DA, the District Clerk, and a district judge in a pissing match that at times has threatened to engulf their whole legal system. Bill Baumbach's Collin County Observer blog is a good place to go to analyze the debacle, since it's one of those instances where you can't tell the players without a program (see here, here, here, here, and here). Given the politicized nature of all of these criminal proceedings - both the ones initiated by Davis and the ones against him - I suspect the charges could be overblown. The incident strikes me as the kind of inevitable, petty infighting that occurs in an environment where Republicans have vanquished all Democrats and begin to turn on one another (witness the Speakers race in the Texas House). Still, Texas' latest John-Bradley wannabe is getting off to a rocky start in Waco.

MORE: See additional coverage of the Collin County indictments from the Dallas News.


Anonymous said...

Abel's been a mediocre criminal defense lawyer since he graduated. His clients have been getting locked up for years already, so I'm sure the transition will be easier for him than you think.

Anonymous said...

How are the Collin County tampering cases different than the Waco PD officers double dipping cases?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@6:01, in Waco it was officers allegedly fudging their own time sheets. In Collin County it was supervisors allegedly falsifying time records.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, the new DA in McLennan County wants to model his office after one of the most corrupt counties in Texas -- WilCo? We have innocent kids Bradley has sent to prison yet Bradley turns his head to corruption within the courthouse. Bradley is tougher on teens who have sex than he is on cops who rape.

The Bradley's tough on crime facade is just that, a facade.

The Center for Cognitive Education will love the new McLennan DA. The Center operates in Williamson, Bell & McLennan providing a variety of treatment services for probationers and parolees. It is a cash only no receipt outfit and is real tight with CSCD in WilCo. The Center also provides expert testimony for WilCo & Bell. The center is ran by Fred Willoughby. You can read more about Willoughby here:

It is about money and power, not tough on crime.

Anonymous said...

Grits says: "The Dallas News reported that Davis admitted in court documents to altering employee time records to make it appear employees were working when they were not..."

You need to re-read the article, Grits. No where in the article does it say that Davis himself altered employee time records. He filed a motion for the office's recusal because of the office's practices.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:27, you're 100% right, I just worded it clumsily. Will correct in the post.

Unknown said...

We've got the links to the Writ up, please download and share the links, we want people to know what Frisco, Texas Police Department does when they realize they made multiple mistakes! They tamper with Evidence. Did the Collin County DA know? Once you read the counts, you'll wonder why not. Even an untrained ear can hear the blanked out spot. Multiple experts have now confirmed one another's work.

visit for more :

Anonymous said...

Greg Davis' indictment was found to be without merit and quashed.
He is an excellent and honorable prosecutor, who has served in this capacity for a number of years, save a few when he needed more flexibility in his schedule and worked as a defense advocate.

Unknown said...

Greg Davis' indictment was NOT found to be without merit. The indictment was quashed because he was a prosecutor and given absolute immunity. The judge made no comment as to whether Davis is innocent.