The Wilco Sun published an indepth, two page story today regarding District Attorney Jana Duty. Duty gave quotes (by email, refusing to return calls) to the Sun regarding the current controversy engulfing the DA’s office.
The Sun begins with the press conference held on Wednesday by Business Leader Jim Schwertner demanding Duty’s immediate resignation by “sunset” today. The Sun then covered Duty being once again sanctioned by the State Bar of Texas, having her license suspended (probated) for 18 months for a multitude of violations including ‘fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and dishonesty’. Duty was also found to have violated court orders and to have withheld evidence in a Capital Murder trial.
Duty then played the “victim card” stating Mr. Schwertner’s “threat” to file a lawsuit was “one more form of harassment“. Duty said “First the contempt charge and trial and then the thousands and thousands of pages filed with the Bar….and now this”. Duty went on to say “They have tried to break me financially, spiratually and emotionally. All of this harassment has cost my family over $150,000.00”.
The described “harassment” was illegal, criminal actions, self inflicted by Duty. Duty plead guilty to violating a court order she describes as “harassment”. Duty also plead guilty to and admitted to committing multiple violations, including fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and dishonesty, by the State Bar she also calls “harassment”. Duty also calls being found to have withheld evidence in a Capital Murder trial “harassment. Now Duty calls the action by Mr. Schwertner “harassment”.
Duty then takes her patented “good ole boys” attack against Mr. Schwertner saying “I’ve spent 12 years trying to break up the power of the good ol’ boy network and now they are just very anxious to get back the power they once had. They can wait another six months, unless a judge says otherwise.” Apparently, Duty thinks a Mayor, a Judge, a State Senator, a County Judge and several highly respected community leaders and business owners are “good ol’ boys”. Many who stood behind Mr. Schwertner were in fact women. Some of those in attendance supported Duty in her bid against Bradley in 2012.
The Sun then goes on to say Duty did not attend the press conference but quoted her sister Joette Schoolscraft who didn’t help Duty’s case regarding the reports of Duty not showing up to the office. “She said Ms. Duty goes into the Justice Center weekly rather than every day but is nevertheless doing her job”. The Wilco Report has reported since last November, according to sources, Duty has showed up to her office very few times.
Duty’s sister then picks up the mantle attacking the “good ole boys” stating, “She will continue doing that until January, regardless of what the good ol’ boys want”. She went on to say “She (Duty) has battled against them since she took office as County Attorney. She got brusied, some bloodied but these last four years with these guys have been crazy.” She then attacks Mr. Schwertner, stating, “This guy (Mr. Schwertner) thinks he can tell the citizens what the want and what is good for them. They need to speak, not him”.
The citizens spoke loudly on March 1 when Duty was defeated resoundingly by Shawn Dick.
Schoolcraft went on to say the “anti-Duty group supported John Bradley who lost in 2012”. Ms. Schoolcraft may also be unaware that Mr. Schwertner contributed $5,000.00 to Duty’s campaign.
The story goes on to talk about Judge Bill Gravell speaking about how difficult it has been for him to conduct his job because of Duty’s absence and lack of structure in the DA’s Office.
Brent Webster, Duty’s new First Assistant then commented by denying Judge Gravell’s characterizations. “Any criticism of this office should differentiate between the elected position and the people who are doing this job to fight for victims. The people who work here are not running for office, they are here to fight for victims.” Webster failed to mention he too ran for office in the March 2016 primary, many days absent from his post travelling around the State campaigning.
Mr. Webster also fails to understand a prosecutor has the responsibility to see that justice is done, and not simply to be an advocate. The Code of Criminal Procedure states: “It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done. They shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused.”
Former embattled Leander Mayor John Cowman chimed in defending Duty stating “This is a great way to disenfranchise voters. They have already spoken. Basically my position, speaking for voters, is we are not amused.” Mr. Cowman is correct, the voters spoke on March 1. It is also unclear what “voters” Mr. Cowman is “speaking for”. There were only three at the press conference in support of Duty, one of which is not a resident of Williamson County.
In closing, Schoolcraft again comments regarding Duty’s “rumored” plans to move out of the country when she leaves office. Duty herself posted on social media she was leaving the country, moving to Central America.
Schoolcraft closes by saying “Her integrity has been questioned and she has not been ale to speak for herself because of the gag order”. Duty herself admitted to and plead guilty to “Dishonesty, Deceit, Misrepresentation” and other criminal issues. Duty was found guilty , at trial, by a visiting judge from Houston in one instance of her criminal activity and regarding the other issues, she wasn’t forced to plead guilty and could have taken the matter to a hearing. As for the “gag order” excuse, that didn’t stop Duty today (by email) from once again attacking a victim of crime.
In a separate editorial article, the Sun called on Duty to resign.
Grab a copy of the Wilco Sun for details.