Jana Duty’s Campaign Finance Conundrum

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Last week, embattled DA Jana Duty says her plan is to move to Central America and “when we are not laying on the beach fighting the monkeys away from our drinks, we plan to hike through the rainforest”.

It appears Duty will have to answer to yet another complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission before she joins the monkeys on the beach in December. The July 15th campaign finance report was filed today and Duty’s report appears to show several irregularities and omissions.

During her failed re-election bid, Duty purchased at least $6,400.00 in ads from The Advocate publication. Below is a breakdown of the purchases.

Dec 4, 2015 Full Page Ad – $1,400.00

Dec 16, 2015 Full Page Ad – $1,400.00

Dec 30, 2015 Full Page Ad – $1,400.00

Feb 1, 2016 Political Ad Package – $ 2,200.00

$4,200.00 should have been reported on Jan 15 report for the three December ad expenditures, however Duty only reported she only spent $2,600.00.

Duty spent another $2,200.00 in advertising in February with The Advocate that should have been reported on the 8 day report due February 22, 2016. This expense is also not reported on any reports.

Duty failed to report $3,800.00 in expenditures to the Advocate.

It is unclear if Duty failed to pay The Advocate for the expenditure or just intentionally omitted reporting the expense on her campaign finance report on three separate reports. Either way, she is once again in violation and will have to answer to the Texas Ethics Commission.

Duty’s court date is this Tuesday, July 19th at 9:30am at the Williamson County Courthouse regarding her removal suit. A separate criminal complaint against Duty is also in the hands of the Texas Rangers.

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Duty’s Delusion: More From The Wilco Sun

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Jana Duty went on record today with the Wilco Sun, not about the murder of five police officers in Dallas, but about her leaving the United States. Duty says she is moving to either Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama or Nicaragua.

Duty says her plan is “when we are not laying on the beach fighting the monkeys away from our drinks, we plan to hike through the rainforest”.

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One person in the Court House today said, “It’s really disturbing the District Attorney is talking about herself and not the murders of five Police Officers. Then again, it’s typical Jana Duty, everything is always about her. Everyone up here has their fingers crossed he (Judge Dietz) suspends her on July 19th because December 31st can’t get here fast enough for us”. 

Judge Dietz will decide on July 19th at 9:30am if he will issue citation on her pending removal case. If so, he is also authorized by law to suspend Duty without pay. It is unknown if he will make that ruling on the 19th or at another hearing. It is also unknown if there are ramifications to Duty’s passport in lieu of a pending criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers that involves felony allegations.

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Duty’s Delusion: Dia Dos

While 5 Dallas Police Officers were being assassinated last night, Jana Duty took to her campaign facebook page to post about her future move to  South America. Duty, the top Law Enforcement officer of the county has yet to comment about the shooting, only posting how grateful she is to be leaving the United States.

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Jana Duty’s Misandry: The Next Episode

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Embattled lame duck District Attorney Jana Duty embarked upon another late night facebook rant posting a misandrist attack against several Williamson County residents and business leaders once again hailing her “good ole boy” battle cry.

“I guarantee the good ole boys of Wilco like Schwetner [sic], Higginbotham, Davis, Robinson, Russell, Gattis, Maxwell and their buddies came up with this idea!!!!! Women need to “know their place”. Welcome to Wilco.”

It didn’t take long for several to comment on her page (see below) with dissenting views pointing out her own self inflicted problems. Duty has since deleted those comments.

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As stated in a previous post, Duty attempts to paint Mr. Schwertner as a “misogynist” and not only a “good ole boy”, but a “founding father” of the “good ole network”. Those who know Mr. Schwertner say just the opposite of him and the following article illustrates facts, not delusional, baseless rants and personal attacks from a disgruntled lame duck elected official who has been discredited while under oath.

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It seems Duty’s defense lawyers will once again have to tighten the leash and reapply the muzzle to keep Duty under control.

 

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Duty’s Date with Destiny Set For July 19th

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Sources have indicated a hearing has been set for July 19th at 9:30am at the Williamson County Courthouse for embattled DA Jana Duty regarding her removal suit.

Duty’s lawyers filed a motion on June 17th to have the suit dismissed after previously stating they wanted to go to trial. “We are so excited that we live in a country that has a right to trial by jury so we have a fair and equitable system to resolve disputes like this, and we look forward to it,” Dan Richards said.

The motion filed by Duty’s lawyers asks for the lawsuit to be abated until “the State is represented by a statutorily authorized representative” and for Duty to be given a hearing in court so she can show the reason why a citation should not be issued against her.

“D.A. Jana Duty respectfully requests the opportunity to be heard so that she can show the Court that this lawsuit is merely an attempt by political enemies to exact punishment, not an attempt to protect the constituents who elected her to office”.

It is unclear at this time what the hearing will entail. Duty is subject to being called to testify at the hearing. The question remains, if Duty is called, will she take the fifth due to a possible ongoing criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers.

 

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Duty’s Chauvinism Shines

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Embattled District Attorney Jana Duty has once again taken to her facebook page to launch personal attacks. Duty has a long history of writing profanity laced texts, emails and facebook posts. Duty starts her latest rant with a quote pulling the “gender card”.

The quote implies she must take “unusual efforts” to succeed because she is a woman. In 2011, Duty attacked her opponent for having a “win at all cost” mindset, the same mentality this quote espouses and school of thought Duty apparently subscribes to.

Duty has said she will do “whatever it takes” and has apparently held true to her word. Duty has been found intentionally and willfully withholding evidence in a capital murder trial, lying under oath, violating court orders, has plead guilty to Professional Misconduct twice and arrested. Regardless of her criminal conduct, Duty still maintains she has “changed this county  for the better”.

In her post, Duty attacks several members of the community, claiming they are the “founding fathers” of the “good ole network”. Oddly, one of those mentioned has only been an elected official in Williamson County for a little over two years and was a former supporter of Duty. Another on her “hit list” hasn’t asked for her resignation or stated anything publicly about Duty.

Duty came to town in 2003 on the theme of “fighting the good ole boys”. In 2003, Duty petitioned a Williamson County court to change her married name of Hunsicker to Duty. She then mounted a campaign for county attorney and began her patented “good ole boy” mantra against her opponent. She then painted every member of the 2004 Commissioners Court as “good ole boys”. No current Commissioner was on the Court at that time.

After every member of the 2004 court did not seek re-election, an entirely new court was elected in 2006. Duty picked up the “good ole boy” mantle, labeling the new court “good ole boys” when her self inflicted problems began in 2007.

In her post, Duty fails to mention that one elected official who has called for her resignation is a woman. She also fails to mention another “female” Gissela SantaCruz, editorial writer for the Statesman, has also called for her resignation.

Duty says she feels “honored” to have this group against her, reminiscent of her attack against the Wilco Sun in late February. When the Wilco Sun endorsed her opponent, Duty took to facebook saying “I am SO thankful that the Wilco Sun endorsed my opponent!! In six (6) contested campaigns, the Wilco Sun has endorsed me ZERO (0) times. It’s my good luck charm. Thank you again Wilco Sun!!”.

In a 2016 campaign mailer, Duty compared her political plights to Jesus Christ. Duty stated: “I have stepped on many toes and made many political enemies. I am reminded Jesus made a lot of enemies by turning over the tables in the temple courts”.

Duty did not seem to have an issue with Jim Schwertner in 2012 when she accepted a five thousand dollar campaign contribution from him but yet she now attempts to paint him as a “misogynist” and not only a “good ole boy”, but a “founding father” of the “good ole network”. Those who know Mr. Schwertner say just the opposite of him and the following article illustrates facts, not baseless attacks from a scorned, disgruntled former elected official.

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Duty seems to have a complete disconnect with reality claiming only a handful of “good ole boys” want her out of office. Oddly, the other 14 “woman” elected officials in Williamson County have never claimed they are “victims” of this “good ole boy” network. Duty also forgets a record number of Republican Primary voters cast their vote on March 1, leaving one to ask, are 30,846 residents of Williamson County who voted against her also “good ole boys” and “ganging up” on her?

As one person at the courthouse stated, “You do not have a problem with Jana, until you have a problem with Jana, and then you are automatically labeled a “good ole boy” regardless of your gender”.

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Letter To Editor In Support Of Duty

 

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Another Veteran Prosecutor Resigns From DA’s Office

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Duty and her team of Assistant District Attorney’s on January 1, 2013 . Only two pictured remain.

 

Long time prosecutor Lytza Rojas has resigned from the Williamson County DA’s office. Rojas was regarded as one of the best prosecutors in the office and well liked by her coworkers and defense attorney’s.

One attorney said “She will be missed. What a complete shame she is leaving, she was great.” Another said “The DA’s Office is in complete disarray and here we go again, another veteran prosecutor jumps ship. Then again, no one can blame her for leaving given the mockery Jana Duty is making of the office.”

Since January 1, 2014, NINE prosecutors have left the DA’s Office.

Sources say the office is in complete turmoil and morale is rock bottom. “One of the biggest problems is the lack of leadership in the office.” said one source.” Brent Webster (Duty’s First Assistant) held an “emergency staff meeting” on Thursday before “Sunset Friday” to discuss the removal petition against Duty being filed. Apparently Webster collected all cell phones from the staff prior to the meeting so no one could record him.

One source said “No one respects Webster. Things have seemingly only gotten worse since he became First Assistant. His lack of experience only exacerbates the problems that Duty has created.”

One person at the Courthouse said “There are good employees at the DA’s office who want to do their work but they suffer because of a few who are destroying the office.” The common theme is “January 1, 2017 can’t get here fast enough”.

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Dan vs. Dee: Round 1

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The Statesman is reporting Jana Duty’s attorney Dan Richards just released a statement regarding County Attorney Dee Hobbs earlier statement regarding joining the removal suit.

One of Duty’s lawyers, Dan Richards, said in a statement Wednesday that he disagreed with the county attorney’s interpretation of the law that is contained in a local government code statute. The statute says “action may not be taken on the petition until the order is granted,” Richards said in the statement. It means the court can’t take any action on the lawsuit unless an order to issue a citation has been granted, Richards said.

“Nothing in that statute prohibits the county attorney from making a decision as to whether or not to prosecute the case before the court make a decision on citation,” said Richards. He said the county attorney joined the lawsuit to remove Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg following her DWI arrest before the court issued a citation.

 

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Duty Drama Drags On

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The Austin American Statesman and Wilco Sun are reporting:

The Williamson County Attorney cannot yet legally join a lawsuit to remove District Attorney Jana Duty from office, according to a statement released Wednesday by the county attorney’s office.

State law says County Attorney Dee Hobbs can’t take any action in the suit until a judge issues a citation for Duty to appear in court, said the statement.

Duty will not be officially served with the lawsuit until the citation is issued.

In response, Duty’s lawyers filed a motion last week asking that the lawsuit be abated because it couldn’t be prosecuted without the county attorney joining it.

Last week Duty’s defense lawyer said “We are so excited that we live in a country that has a right to trial by jury so we have a fair and equitable system to resolve disputes like this, and we look forward to it.” Now it seems her defense team is not so excited and are instead trying to have the suit thrown out before it even begins.

Duty went on a text rant last week stating:  “Mr. Schwertner thinks he owns the Texas Rangers just like he owns some of the politicians and journalists in Wilco. They can investigate me all they want. I expected they would keep piling on. Just more of the some [sic] nonsense. What else is new?”

Duty is well known for her out of control, profanity filled texts and emails. However, it appears her defense lawyers have tightened the leash and are now keeping her muzzled since last weeks episode.

Judge John Dietz was assigned to hear the case last week and has still yet to issue citation.

 

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Defense Files Motion To Throw Out Duty’s Removal Suit

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A legal motion was filed by Duty’s defense lawyers on Friday to dismiss the case on a “technicality”. The motion, in so many words, states the removal suit cannot move forward unless the County Attorney joins the suit. The motion also states Duty’s past conduct is not grounds for removal.

“Furthermore, the Petition does not allege facts sufficient to constitute grounds for removal. As an elected District Attorney, D.A. Jana Duty is charged with the exercise of discretion with regard to her prosecutorial duties, which necessarily includes decisions with which some individuals, such as Plaintiffs, will disagree. However the allegations of the Petition do not constitute grounds for removal for Official Misconduct under Chapter 87 because even if D.A. Jana Duty’s actions are ones with which some constituents might disagree, they are within the ambit of her discretionary duties as a District Attorney. The object of the statute is not to punish the officer past conduct, but to protect the public by removing from office those who have been faithless and corrupt. Meyer v. Tunks, 360 S.W.2d 518, 520 (Tex. 1962).”

A quick look at the case cited (Meyer v Tunks) deals more with discovery and double jeopardy. Although it does cite:

“It reasonably appears from the constitutional and statutory provisions authorizing this proceeding that the object is not to punish the officer for his derelictions or for the violation of a criminal statute but to protect the public in removing from office by speedy and adequate means those who have been faithless and corrupt and have violated their trust. Aside from any implications that might be drawn from this statement the court is saying only that to justify removal from office the allegations of the petition shall be specific and certain and the official misconduct must be willful or in other words with evil intent or without reasonable grounds to believe the act lawful.”

Withholding evidence is certainly not part of the DA’s “discretionary duties”. The ruling against Duty from last September states: “The Court finds that Ms. Duty’s conduct in this case; in which she withheld evidence, repeatedly violated court orders….has been intentional and willful”.

Lying under oath is also not a “discretionary duty”. While the object of the statute is not to punish Duty for her past conduct but protect the public by those who have been faithless and corrupt, we ask, is withholding evidence “corrupt” behavior? A judge thought so when he placed Ken Anderson in jail a few years back and the State Bar of Texas disbarred him.

Is lying under oath or in an investigation violating the public’s trust? Duty apparently thought so when she penned a memo impeaching a Georgetown Police Officer from testifying that led the officers termination.

“Either Hoskins-Brown was intentionally deceitful with the investigators, or she lacks the mental acumen to relate basic facts when questioned by fellow officers,” the attorneys’ letter said. Any future involvement she has in a criminal investigation would threaten to undermine the State’s ability to achieve a just resolution.”

No doubt Duty will start banging the drum that this is a waste taxpayer’s money. Did she care about that when she filed a removal suit against the county judge a few years back? A suit she knew (or should have known) was doomed for failure before it was even filed based on prior case law? And based on that case law, the suit was dismissed.

Did that stop Duty when she used her office resources (now First Assistant Brent Webster) to file failed mandamus after failed mandamus against the Third Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals related to her criminal behavior she was jailed for?

Did that stop Duty when countless tax dollars were spent in another personal battle with the Commissioners Court after the Court moved a lawyer from her office to represent the Commissioners? The Court stated they had lost faith and trust in Duty’s abilities for competent representation? Another suit Duty lost?

Every personal “legal war” Duty has waged, she has lost, costing the tax payers dearly.

Duty was found to have withheld evidence in a capital murder case. The case ended in a mistrial. Who suffers because of Duty’s actions; the public, the victim’s family and the justice system. Who else suffers? Every person related to every case filed that is still pending in her office and the tax payers of this county, the very people who need protection against an official whose actions have shown to be “corrupt”.

Duty has made a career of playing “victim” while painting anyone and everyone she has ever waged her personal battles with as a “good ole boy”. Now she paints a man, who was a victim of violent crime, as a “good ole boy” and her “political enemy”. Just a few months ago, the root of her angst was a man who ran against her for office. A man she painted as evil, during her campaign, because of his profession. Prior to that, it was the defense team who shed light on her criminal conduct. Before that, every elected official who she did not agree with.

The statute is but to protect the public by removing from office those who have been faithless, corrupt and has violated the public’s trust; that we agree, the very definition of why Duty should be immediately removed.

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Duty Attacks Crime Victim, Elected Officials And Taunts Texas Rangers

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Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty decided to comment late today regarding a complaint filed with the Texas Rangers. Duty, who has hidden behind a gag order for the past several months, falsely stating she is not allowed to speak publicly (the gag order only applies to the Harmel Murder case) broke her silence today, through text.

After the Austin American Statesman published a story late this afternoon about the criminal complaint filed with the Texas Rangers, Duty texted the following to reporter Clair Osborne with the Statesman:

“Mr. Schwertner thinks he owns the Texas Rangers just like he owns some of the politicians and journalists in Wilco,” Duty said Thursday in a text message. “They can investigate me all they want. I expected they would keep piling on. Just more of the some [sic] nonsense. What else is new?”

Duty has now possibly violated the terms of her probation with the State Bar of Texas by attacking Mr. Schwertner and others. The State Bar states it is a violation of 8.04 (5) to state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official. Rule 8.02. Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.

Mr. Schwertner is also a crime victim.

One local resident said “She just managed to attack a victim of crime, the Texas Rangers, elected officials and the media in one short text. She really needs an intervention.” 

Duty just plead guilty to violating 8.02 (a) of the State Bar of Texas rules of Professional Conduct, one of four rules she admitted to violating that landed her an 18 month license suspension (probated). Given Rule 8.03. Reporting Professional Misconduct applies to all attorneys, one could expect yet another complaint to the State Bar of Texas against Duty to be coming soon for the latest violation.

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BREAKING NEWS: Texas Rangers Investigating District Attorney Jana Duty?

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According to a report by AnnMarie Ludlow, a criminal complaint has been made with the Texas Rangers against Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty.

by Ann Marie Ludlow

A separate criminal complaint has been filed against embattled Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. According to businessman Jim Schwertner, the criminal complaint was made with the Texas Rangers on June 14.

“I have also referred the evidence to the Texas Rangers for review and possible criminal investigation,” Schwertner says.

The criminal complaint stems from facts evident in a civil suit filed June 13 and affirmed by Duty’s own admission of guilt to the State Bar of Texas, which recently probated an 18-month suspension of her law license. Texas Law requires Duty to personally pay all legal fees for her defense in both complaints.

Criminal Charges

In August 2015, she was found guilty on four charges of Criminal Contempt, waived her right to appeal and served a ten-day sentence in the Williamson County jail.

New criminal charges could stem from the September 2015 Findings of Fact (#95-98) in State of Texas v. Harmel, which explain how her actions were illegal and resulted in the mistrial:  Tex. Penal Code §39.02 Abuse of Capacity, Tex. Penal Code §39.03 Official Oppression, Tex. Penal Code §37.02 Aggravated Perjury, and Tex. Penal Code §37.09 Tampering with Physical Evidence. The first two are Class A misdemeanors carrying a $4000 fine and/or one year in jail. Tampering with Physical Evidence and Aggravated Perjury are third-degree felonies punishable by two to ten years in jail and may incur a maximum fine of $10,000.

Civil Petition

A civil suit was filed June 13 by attorney Brian Bishop to remove Duty legally from office before her term ends December 31. The Lawsuit is based on multiple judgments and orders from Williamson County District Courts and the State Bar of Texas, which found that Duty withheld evidence in a capital murder trial, has acted dishonestly, been untruthful to Williamson County judges and defense counsel and violated court orders. The civil findings include a criminal contempt conviction for violating a District Court order.

The civil case is assigned to the 425th District Court and will heard by retired Travis County Judge John Dietz.

Prior to both filings, Schwertner held a press conference and called for Duty to voluntarily step down “before sundown, Friday [June 10].”  His statements, as a taxpayer and a crime victim, referenced her previous censure by the State Bar of Texas, conviction for criminal contempt and subsequent jail sentence.

Schwertner responded, to press inquiries, that her absence from work, while being paid an annual salary of $152,000 by taxpayer dollars, is also an illegal action. The civil complaint cites her “dereliction and abandonment of her responsibilities as District Attorney.” The suit states, “On information and belief, Duty rarely comes into her office, performs any work, or contributes any expertise, services, or time to the office.”

Justice of the Peace Pct 3, Bill Gravell, at the press conference with Jim Schwertner June 8 talked about the challenges posed to his own office; “In the past year, I have found it increasingly difficult to communicate with Ms. Duty or her staff regarding criminal cases because she has been largely absent from her post.” Duty’s sister, Joette Schoolcraft also substantiated the assertion in a television interview, saying that her sister has been working remotely.

According to an article in the Sun, Duty declined to resign in an email saying she has “no plans to buckle to the will of my political enemies and resign early. They are simply wasting everyone’s time.”

Duty has retained Dan Richards, the same attorney who defended Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg in her removal suit after she was arrested on April 15, 2015 for Driving While Intoxicated.

Richards released the following statement: “District Attorney Jana Duty is proud to live in a country where all people are entitled to a jury of their peers to resolve claims. The District Attorney looks forward to that opportunity and will try her case to a jury instead of holding a press conference and attempting to try the case in the media. We feel confident in the American jury system will afford the District Attorney a fair trial and find in her favor.”

The Advocate reached out to Ms. Duty for comment, but as of press time has not received a response.

On Monday, Duty’s attorney Dan Richards stated, “This is the third female district attorney that people have tried to remove in the state of Texas, and we are still trying to find a case where they are trying to remove a male DA.”

We cited one removal suit against Chuck Rosenthal from Harris County for Mr. Richards. Here is another one. In 1994, Jack Stern was removed from office as DA when he (1) he publicly released transcripts of grand jury testimony, and (2) he abused a grand jury witness.

 

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Duty’s Defense Plays “Gender Card”

Wilco DA Jana Duty Dallas Co DA Susan Hawk and Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg

Wilco DA Jana Duty         Dallas Co. DA Susan Hawk           Travis Co. DA Rosemary Lehmberg

Statements linking embattled District Attorneys Jana Duty, Rosemary Lehmberg and Susan Hawk have been made by Duty’s defense attorney Dan Richards. Richards stated “This is the third female district attorney that people have tried to remove in the state of Texas, and we are still trying to find a case where they are trying to remove a male DA,” Richards said.

We located “a case” for Mr. Richards where a “male” DA was petitioned for removal, Chuck Rosenthal, former DA of Harris County. Rosenthal eventually resigned prior to the removal hearing just 8 years ago.

So what do Jana Duty, Rosemary Lehmberg and Susan Hawk have in common? Everything and nothing. All three are women. All three are embattled District Attorney’s whose self inflicted actions have caused much embarrassment to their office. And all three had removal suits brought against them. That is where the comparison stops.

Lehmberg plead guilty to DWI, served time in jail, sought treatment for alcohol addiction and returned to work. Hawk did a two-month stint for treatment of depression at a Houston mental health facility, and returned to work. Duty, however, has violated laws in conjunction with her official duties, in her official capacity.

Lehmberg and Hawk were charged under the “drunkenness and mental impairment” section of the removal statue. The removal suit filed Monday indicates Duty’s cause of removal is for “official misconduct” (acts directly associated with her official capacity).

Lehmberg was arrested for DWI, had a .239 blood alcohol content, nearly three times the legal limit. Lehmberg spat upon officers, made threats to jail staff and made a complete embarrassment of herself. Did this rise to the level of removal? Not according to a judge. Did it rise to the level of dishonoring her position as District Attorney? Absolutely.

The same applies to Hawk. She was diagnosed with depression and sought treatment. Hawk was absent from her office for two months seeking treatment. Hawk’s defense argued that the DA’s depression diagnosis and treatment does not make her unable to do her job. Judge Peeples questioned whether the removal case was about punishing Hawk for her past misdeeds or about ensuring her mental fitness now. He ultimately ruled it was about the latter.

The same judge previously presided over the unsuccessful suit to remove Travis County’s DA, who was arrested for drunk driving in 2013.

Between the two cases, “you’re left to get a sense that this judge is, at the very least, skeptical that mental health or addiction issues alone are a ground that truly justifies removing an official from office, said Potter County attorney Scott Brumley, who has handled ouster suits.

Comparing the removal suits of Lehmberg and Hawk to Duty’s is “like comparing a Pinto to a Mercedes” said one long time civil attorney who wished to remain anonymous. The suit against Duty lists several documented violations Duty has already been found guilty of, been found to have committed by a court, and plead guilty to in her latest sanction by the State Bar of Texas. These issues are directly tied to criminal and other acts she committed in the discharge of her official capacity.

No doubt Richards will have his hands full spinning up a solid defense for Duty if Judge Dietz issues citation. Attempting to muddy the waters by playing the “gender card” is a start.

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Visiting Judge Assigned To Duty’s Removal Case

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Visiting District Judge John Dietz was assigned to the removal case of Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. Ditez is very well known to be a “no nonsense” Judge.

Judge Dietz will now review the petition and determine if a citation will be issued. If citation is issued the case moves forward and a hearing will be set 5 days from issuance for Duty to answer to the charges. A ruling on the issuance of citation could come as early as next week.

Dietz also has the authority to immediately suspend Duty without pay.

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DA Duty’s New Defense Team

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Williamson County DA Jana Duty has hired yet another defense attorney to defend her latest legal issue. This time she has hired Dan Richards, a defense attorney from Travis County. Richards represented Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg in her removal suit.

Richards released this statement Monday on behalf of Duty:

“District Attorney Jana Duty is proud to live in a country where all people are entitled to a jury of their peers to resolve claims. The District Attorney looks forward to that opportunity and will try her case to a jury instead of holding a press conference and attempting to try the case in the media. We feel confident in the American jury system will afford the District Attorney a fair trial and find in her favor.”

This statement is a stark change in tone from Duty’s demonization of defense attorney’s during her failed campaign for re-election.

Many folks have asked “what’s next”. Below is from a paper written by Scott Brumley, Potter County Attorney, and expert in this area explaining in detail the procedures.

1. Representation of State, Filing and Service

If grounds for removal exist, a chapter 87 proceeding is commenced by filing a written petition for removal in the district court of the county in which the officer resides, unless the officer is a district attorney. Where the defendant is a district attorney, the suit may be filed in the county in which the district attorney resides or the county where the alleged ground for removal occurred if that county is within the prosecutor’s district. The petition may be filed by any person who has resided in the county for at least six months and who is not presently under indictment. At least one of the persons filing the petition must swear to it.

The petition must set forth the grounds for removal in plain and intelligible language, including specification of the time and place of each act alleged as a ground for removal with as much certainty as the nature of the case permits. Based on a requirement of the Government Code, the petition probably will include a request that the judge of the court in which the suit is filed seek assignment of an out-of-county judge to dispose of the case.

While a removal suit may initially be filed by a private party, maintaining the suit requires the participation of either the district or county attorney for the county in which the action is pending. As a general matter, the county attorney is the first-line representative of the state.

After the petition is filed, an application must be filed seeking an order requiring issuance and service of citation. The trial court judge has discretion to refuse to order citation, in which case the suit is dismissed with costs charged to the party who filed the suit. No appeal may be taken from that decision. On the other hand, if the judge grants the order, the clerk must issue citation along with a certified copy of the petition. In that instance, the judge must require the person filing the petition to post security for costs as in other civil cases. Note, however, that if the person filing the petition is the county or district attorney, security for costs should not be required since the attorney brings the action in his or her capacity as the attorney for the state, which is exempt from any requirement of a cost bond. The order must include a deadline for the defendant to file an answer, which date must be at least five days after citation is served.

2. Suspension

The real hardship of a removal suit for the defendant can begin almost as soon as the order for issuance and service of citation is entered. Any time after the order for citation is issued, the judge may suspend the officer and appoint another person to perform the duties of office. Suspension cannot take effect until the person appointed to serve during the suspension executes a bond with at least two sureties. Conditions and the amount of the bond are determined by the judge. If the suspended officer wins at trial, the county must pay the officer from its general fund an amount equal to the compensation received by the temporary appointee. While this may seem benevolent to the defendant officer, it actually suggests fairly convincingly that a chapter 87 suspension is without pay. In something of a double whammy, a chapter 87 suspension remains in effect during appeal of a removal judgment, regardless of whether the officer files a bond to delay execution of the judgment .

3. Trial and Judgment

Removal suits are to be conducted, to the extent possible, in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure and practice applicable to civil cases in general. Thus, a removal defendant can anticipate being served with discovery which has potential to reveal unflattering information to the State’s lawyers and, potentially, to the whole world if the information is placed into the public domain of the court’s records or introduced at trial. Although the potential embarrassment associated with disclosure of unflattering facts may be outweighed by the traumatic prospect of losing one’s job, it is important to remember that the officer’s reputation hangs in the balance in a removal scenario. Consequently, whether to compound that damage through release of unpleasant information in the course of the proceedings is a significant factor to consider in deciding whether and how to defend the lawsuit.

If removal is to be the final result of the action, it must be reached through a jury trial. Often, the State will demand a jury in its petition as provided by the constitution and chapter 87. Nonetheless, if the officer wants to avail himself or herself of that right, caution dictates consideration of the general rule that failure to make a timely jury demand results in waiver of the right to a jury. Moreover, since the right to trial by jury in a removal suit is not a jurisdictional issue, the failure to object in the trial court to entry of judgment without a jury (for example, by summary judgment) waives the ability to appeal on that basis.

As noted above, the case is required to be conducted as much like other civil cases as is possible. For that reason, the defendant officer may be called to testify even if it is anticipated that he or she will invoke the right against self-incrimination and refuse to answer questions. In a removal suit, the right against self-incrimination may not be asserted as a blanket immunity from testifying; instead it is properly asserted on a question-by-question basis in response to each specific question asked. There is another, related dilemma presented to an officer defending against a removal suit where the conduct in question may also give rise to criminal charges. No question of double jeopardy is involved in a chapter 87 civil proceeding, so the officer may be prosecuted criminally on the same charges either before or after the removal suit. Nor is the State required to shoulder the heavy burden of proof applicable in criminal cases. Because the suit is civil, the standard of proof to sustain a removal judgment is preponderance of the evidence rather than “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

It is not yet known if a criminal complaint has been filed against Duty in conjunction with the civil suit. The petition details several criminal violations from Felony Aggravated Perjury, Felony Tampering with evidence, Official Oppression and Official Misconduct based on Duty’s own admissions and findings by the Court.

If the case moves forward, the next month will bring many legal motions and trial preparation. As Brumley described above, the deposition phase, where nothing is off limits, should in itself be entertaining given the information that would certainly come to light.

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Removal Suit Filed Against DA Jana Duty

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Well known and respected attorney Brian Bishop filed a removal petition on behalf of two Williamson County residents against DA Jana Duty.

The petition includes several charges ranging from Official Oppression, Official Misconduct and Aggravated Perjury.

Below is the Press Release and the Petition of Removal.

What comes next?

A Visiting Judge will be appointed to the case. The Visiting Judge will then either issue citation or it is dismissed. If a citation is issued, Duty must answer to the charges and the case moves forward.

The filing and appointment of a judge and issuance of citation should take no longer than a week or two. Duty could be suspended as early as the end of the month if the case moves forward. The suspension is without pay.

The legal fees incurred by Duty’s defense must be paid by Duty, not the taxpayers of Williamson County. Also by law, Duty can not hire a defense lawyer “pro bono” or at a reduced rate. That in itself is a criminal violation.


Media Advisory                                                                     Contact: James Bernsen

June 13, 2016                                                                                                (512) 497-6725

PETITION AND SUIT FILED TO REMOVE JANA DUTY FROM OFFICE

GEORGETOWN, TX – Two long-time Williamson County residents, supported by Williamson County business man and property owner Jim Schwertner, filed suit in the Williamson County District Court this morning to remove Jana Duty as Williamson County District Attorney.

The residents and Schwertner filed the suit after Schwertner, along with other county officials, business and community leaders, and concerned citizens asked Duty to step down last week, and to allow the newly elected District Attorney to take office immediately.

The lawsuit is based upon multiple judgments and orders from Williamson County District Courts and the State Bar of Texas which found that Duty concealed evidence in a capital murder trial, and has acted dishonestly, been untruthful to Williamson County judges and defense counsel, and violated court orders. The findings include a criminal contempt conviction for violating a District Court order.

On June 8th, business leader Jim Schwertner, along with several elected officials, business and community leaders and concerned citizens held a press conference demanding the immediate resignation of Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. “Our current District Attorney has a history and pattern of disrespect and contempt for our judges, the law, and most importantly, the truth,” Schwertner said. “She has intentionally and willfully withheld evidence and misrepresented facts in a capital murder trial. Jana Duty has repeatedly violated court orders which lead to her arrest and incarceration. She has embarrassed Williamson County and disgraced the office of District Attorney.”

Schwertner actually supported and contributed to Duty’s campaign when she ran for District Attorney three years ago. “I supported her when she ran originally because she promised to clean up the Williamson County District Attorney’s office. But, she’s broken that promise to me and to Williamson County,” said Schwertner.

The State Bar of Texas sanctioned Duty for Professional misconduct in 2011 and again on June 6, 2016. Duty has plead guilty to violating court orders, dishonesty, deceit, misrepresentation and several other violations. Duty has also been found to have withheld evidence in a capital murder trial and jailed for contempt of court in 2015.

Schwertner concluded, “Jana Duty was given an opportunity to do the right thing for Williamson County but instead chose to place her own self-serving interests above the citizens of this county. She continues to launch personal attacks against others and me for standing up to her incompetency and her corrupt practices. She doesn’t deserve to stay in office, and Williamson County deserves to have a District Attorney who its citizens, judges, and law enforcement can trust and rely upon to do the right thing every day.”

###

CLICK HERE TO READ REMOVAL PETITION 

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The Sun Sets on Duty

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“Sunset” came and went with Jana Duty digging her heels in, refusing calls from elected officials, business leaders, community leaders and media to resign as District Attorney. What faces her now is no doubt a daunting future.

According to business leader Jim Schwertner, Monday, a petition of removal will be filed. Duty calls his “threat” to file a petition “harassment”. No doubt whatsoever this can be said about Jim Schwertner; he is a very honorable and successful businessman who doesn’t threaten folks, his word is his bond.

The petition of removal will more than likely highlight criminal and civil violations Duty has been found guilty of or has plead guilty to, not “harassment”.

Those violations include her latest guilty plea to the following:

  • Disciplinary Rule 4.01 (a) Truthfulness in Statements to Others
  • Disciplinary Rule 3.04 (d) Violating Court Order
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.04 (a)(3) Dishonesty, Deceit, Misrepresentation
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.02 (a). Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.

Duty has also been found guilty of violating a court order and was jailed for 10 days last year as a result.

Duty was also found to have lied under oath and withholding evidence in a Capital Murder trial.

These charges are grounds for removal and immediate suspension from office.

The removal process is quite simple, yet complicated.

The statue states:

(a) An officer may be removed for:

(1) incompetency; (2) official misconduct

By Statute, “Incompetency” means:

(A) gross ignorance of official duties;

(B) gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties; or

(C) unfitness or inability to promptly and properly discharge official duties because of a serious physical or mental defect that did not exist at the time of the officer’s election.

(3) “Official misconduct” means intentional, unlawful behavior relating to official duties by an officer entrusted with the administration of justice or the execution of the law. The term includes an intentional or corrupt failure, refusal, or neglect of an officer to perform a duty imposed on the officer by law.

After the petition for removal is filed, more than likely a visiting judge will be assigned to the case and they will make determination if a citation is issued and the case moves forward. After the issuance of the order requiring citation of the officer, the district judge may temporarily suspend the Duty and may appoint another person to perform the duties of the office.

A visiting judge being appointed takes away any appearance of “politics” being played by the infamous “good ole boys” Duty conjures up, playing victim to, every time she picks a fight with someone. Duty should have no problem with a visiting judge assigned to the case since a visiting judge was assigned to the failed removal suit she filed 5 years ago against the County Judge.

The filing and appointment of a judge and issuance of citation should take no longer than a week or two. Duty could be suspended as early as the end of the month if the case moves forward. The suspension is without pay. The legal fees incurred by Duty must be paid by Duty, not the taxpayers of Williamson County.

Also by law, Duty can not hire a defense lawyer “pro bono” or at a reduced rate. That in itself is a criminal violation.

According to sources, Duty has possibly already violated terms of her probation by attacking Schwertner, himself a victim of crime regarding the Schwertner bank robbery. Duty’s former First Assistant lied to a judge regarding a plea agreement in this case that led to his license being suspended for 12 months by the State Bar of Texas.

If the case moves forward and Duty is suspended, the next few months will bring legal motions, depositions where nothing is off limits and trial preparation. Contrary to Duty’s assertions, the case very well could be heard sooner than she suspects, long before her term officially ends on December 31.

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Wilco Sun Highlights Duty Dilemma: Duty Plays Victim

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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.

 

 

 

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Austin American Statesman Calling For Duty To Resign

Below is a story just published by the Austin American Statesman Opinion Staff Calling for Duty to resign.

SantaCruz: Williamson Co. District Attorney Jana Duty should resign

Posted: 2:07 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2016


Jana Duty has a choice to make: Stay as Williamson County District Attorney through the end of her term or step down from the post as soon as possible.

At least that is the ultimatum that business leaders in Williamson County have given her, citing her most recent sanction by the state bar as reason enough for her to step down.

If Duty leaves, it will be under heightened criticism that has put into question her abilities as an officer of the court. If she stays, she faces strong odds against her in front of a judge who could possibly force her exit and compromise Duty’s credibility as counsel.

For Duty, neither option may seem ideal. But as the tensions between Duty and her critics have reached a new level of unpleasantness, it is time to bow out in a way that best suits her reputation and the community’s welfare. By stepping down, Duty puts Williamson County taxpayers first — and also allows the public to turn the page on her tumultuous tenure.

On Wednesday, a group of local business leaders – led by cattle trader Jim Schwertner – held a news conference demanding that Duty resign by sunset Friday.

“If she does not, we will petition the court to have her removed as district attorney of Williamson County,” Schwertner said. Duty has made it clear to the American-Statesman that she has no plans to step down.

The call for Duty’s resignation comes as no surprise given the multiple grievances filed against her since taking the job as district attorney in 2012. Most of those complaints stem from the capital murder case of Crispin Harmel.

Last week, Duty was placed on probation for 18 months by the state bar for improprieties related to the case. Duty may continue to practice law as long as she doesn’t run afoul of the terms of her probation.

It was because of the Harmel case that Central Texans got a close look at the strained relationship between Duty and other parties of the court. The issues raised in that case and other disputes are among the key reasons she lost her March primary election — 44 percent to Shawn Dick’s 56 percent. After endorsing her in 2012 in large part to restore public trust eroded by former Williamson County district attorney John Bradley, the American-Statesman’s Editorial Board was unable to endorse her in March because of Duty’s unexplained conduct in several areas. The board, in reflecting the sentiments of Williamson County residents, believed voters deserved answers for her actions while in office. However, she refused to meet with us to speak about her record and whether key reforms she promised had come to fruition.

Stepping down would allow the governor to appoint Duty’s replacement — likely Dick or a placeholder for Dick, the victor in the primary. Given Williamson County Republican leanings, Dick is her likely successor. The move would allow the county to move on with the business of dispensing justice fairly and quickly.

Public service requires making tough choices – among them is placing personal ego on the back burner for the public good.

It’s time for Duty to do what’s best for the county.

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Jana Duty’s Sister Validates Claims Duty Is Not Showing Up To Office

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At yesterdays press conference, Joette Schoolcraft, sister of Jana Duty validated claims that Jana Duty is not showing up to work at the DA’s office.

The Wilco Report and several media outlets have reported for several months Duty has been absent at the DA’s Office.

One of Duty’s friends, Kim Polk, who accompanied Schoolcraft at the press conference said there was no proof Duty was not showing up to work. According to the Statesman:

“Polk said no one there had any proof that Duty wasn’t showing up to work. Polk said Duty didn’t have to be sitting at her desk to be doing her job.”

“Not only are they not believable, but I have yet to hear one single thing that proves some of these allegations,” said Polk.

Then, Schoolcraft, in an attempt to defend her sister, provided that “one single thing” when she interviewed with KVUE. The following is from KVUW News:

Duty’s sister, Joette Schoolcraft, spoke to KVUE, saying Duty has been working remotely.

“For some of these older generation that do not get that you don’t have to go into an office, and they’re going to call her out for not doing her job based on no facts, zero facts, shame on them,” said Schoolcraft.

One comment from a reader posted yesterday regarding Polk’s statement refuted Polk’s assessment that “she does not have to be sitting at her desk to do her job”and Schoolcraft’s defense of Duty working from home.

Ms. Polk, The Office of the District Attorney is a public sector job in which the person who holds it must answer to the public who elected her and pays her salary. She must be _accessible_ to the public and to her colleagues in the system of law and order. If Jana duty wants to work from home she can get a job in the private sector. Why not take that law license she somehow received, go into private practice, and work from home or by her pool all she wants. If she can find clients who think a lawyer who lies under oath and intentionally withholds evidence is worth $300 an hour, good for her. So yes, she does need to “be at her desk”.

According to Jim Schwertner, a removal suit will be filed on Monday if Duty does not resign on Friday. We will have updates as they become available.

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DA Jana Duty’s Resignation Demanded At Press Conference

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Before a large group of TV cameras, reporters and citizens, Business Leader Jim Schwertner held a press conference today asking for the resignation of Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty “by sunset Friday”. Schwertner laid out a litany of wrongdoing, including perjury, fraud and a criminal conviction, by Duty while in office and her absence from work.

Mr. Schwertner was surrounded by local and State elected officials along with community leaders including County Judge Dan Gattis, State Senator Charles Schwertner, Judge Bill Gravell, County Treasurer Jerri Jones, Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, Nyle Maxwell, attorneys and many others.

Duty apparently had a relative in the crowd (her sister Joette Schoolcraft who is not a resident of Williamson County) defending her absence from work, and according to some in attendance, a friend of Duty (Kim Polk) who accompanied Schoolcraft was “very vocal” during the Q&A session of the press conference. According to the Statesman, “Kim Polk said no one there had any proof that Duty wasn’t showing up to work. Polk said Duty didn’t have to be sitting at her desk to be doing her job.” Sources (who are actual employees in the courthouse) have stated Duty is largely absent from work. Duty refuses to answer media calls to answer the question of her absence and instead sends a relative to speak on her behalf.

One person in attendance stated “An elected official paid by tax dollars not answering simple questions, being held accountable, instead sends their sister to defend her? Unbelievable. But even at this point if Duty does refute her attendance at work, who would believe it? She just plead guilty to ‘fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and dishonesty’”.

Regardless of the defense and attempted deflection of Duty’s criminal behavior by her relatives, the facts remain Duty lied under oath, withheld evidence in a capital murder trial, violated court orders and was thrown in jail. Now, she and her relatives attack a victim of crime who is asking for her resignation calling him a “political enemy”. Her relatives have no response to Duty’s criminal behavior and try to paint today’s event as “political”.

Judge Bill Gravell also spoke at the press conference adding, “In the past year, I have found it increasingly difficult to communicate with Ms. Duty or her staff regarding criminal cases because she has been largely absent from her post. This makes doing my own job more challenging and very difficult to serve the people of Williamson County in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Specifically, 9 Prosecutors have resigned from the District Attorney’s Office since Ms. Duty took office, 7 of those she personally hired. There is no structure or leadership in the office that is, ironically, supposed to be the source of structure and leadership in this county’s justice system.”

Duty, released her own response yesterday (by email) saying “I plan to finish out my term. I have absolutely no plans to buckle to the will of my political enemies and resign early. They are simply wasting everyone’s time.”

         More as this story develops.

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Duty Remains Defiant: Says She Is Not Going Anywhere

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UPDATED 7:02pm

Jana Duty made the following quote to the Austin American Statesman.“I have no plans to resign my position and I will be staying on until the end of my term,” she said. “No amount of political pressure from my political enemies will change this. They are simply wasting everybody’s time.”

The Williamson County Sun is reporting that Jana Duty responded (by email) regarding calls for her to resign stating: “I do not plan to step down. I plan to finish out my term”.

Duty draws a salary of over 150,000.00 a year and according to sources at the courthouse only shows up to the office “maybe once a week” since November of last year.

Duty has maintained a media blackout, refusing to answer or return calls from any outlet and apparently refused to comment further to The Sun about her latest sanction by the State Bar for Professional Misconduct regarding conduct involving “fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and dishonesty”.

The Sun goes on to talk about the possibility of a removal suit being filed against Duty. The same action taken against former Sheriff John Maspero in 2003.

According to sources in the Courthouse, the DA’s Office is in shambles. Of the 7 Prosecutors Duty hired in 2013 when she took office, all have since left. Only three of those retained by Duty remain, one being Brent Webster who now serves as her First Assistant and has never sat First Chair in a single felony trial. Duty’s former First Assistant who departed last month was also sanctioned by the State Bar last week for lying to a Judge regarding a plea deal.

We will have a full report after tomorrow’s press conference.

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06/08/2016 Press Conference Location Update

There has been a correction in the Press Release for tomorrow’s Press Conference calling for District Attorney Jana Duty’s immediate resignation. It will be held at 710 S. Main Street in Georgetown. (Courthouse on the square)

 

Media Advisory
Event: Business leaders call for DA’s resignation
Location: Williamson County Courthouse
710 S. Main St. Georgetown, Tx.
Time: 10 a.m.

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Business Leader To Hold Press Conference Demanding DA Jana Duty Resign

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Business leader Jim Schwertner just put out a press release regarding a Press Conference that is being held at 10am tomorrow morning on the Courthouse steps in Georgetown. According to the press release, Mr. Schwertner, several elected officials, business leaders and concerned citizens will attend.  They are demanding the immediate resignation of Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty.

Duty was sanctioned by the State Bar of Texas for the second time yesterday. Her law license was suspended for 18 months. The suspension was fully probated and the State Bar has placed Duty on 18 months probation. Over the past year, Duty has been found to have intentionally withheld evidence in a capital murder case, admitted to lying under oath, found guilty of violating a court order, arrested and jailed for contempt of court and rarely shows up to work. Several media outlets have attempted to contact Duty but she refuses to take their calls.

Duty is not only dodging media calls, according to sources at the courthouse, is only showing up to work “maybe once a week” since last November.

Duty agreed to a plea deal with the State Bar of Texas who concluded that the following Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct have been violated by Duty. Duty acknowledged and agreed she violated these rules and was sanctioned for Professional Misconduct: 4.01 (a), 3.04(d), 8.02(a), 8.04(a)(3).

  • Disciplinary Rule 4.01 (a) Truthfulness in Statements to Others
  • Disciplinary Rule 3.04 (d) Violating Court Order
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.04 (a)(3) Dishonesty, Deceit, Misrepresentation
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.02 (a). Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.

Below is a press release from Jim Schwertner.

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KXAN REPORTING: DA Jana Duty Takes Plea Deal To Avoid Hearing

DA Jana Duty

DA Jana Duty

KXAN is now reporting DA Jana Duty negotiated and accepted a plea deal acknowledging she lied in a Capital Murder trial and violated a court order. The Evidentiary Panel and Duty agreed and concluded that the following Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct have been violated: 4.01 (a), 3.04(d), 8.02(a), 8.04(a)(3).

  • Disciplinary Rule 4.01 (a) Truthfulness in Statements to Others
  • Disciplinary Rule 3.04 (d) Violating Court Order
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.04 (a)(3) Dishonesty, Deceit, Misrepresentation
  • Disciplinary Rule 8.02 (a). Judicial and Legal Officials (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.

Click here to read the Plea Agreement between Duty and the State Bar of Texas.

Keep in mind, Duty penned a memo regarding a Georgetown Officer a few years earlier stating the officers credibility was in question and that officer could not be a credible witness in trial and therefore was barred from being used as a witness. That officer was later fired based in part on Duty’s memo.

Duty herself has now plead guilty to lying under oath, is on probation, was found to have intentionally withheld evidence, found to have violated a court order, has been sanctioned prior by the State Bar of Texas, spent 10 days in jail; but still serves as District Attorney.

Below is the story from KXAN. 

Published: Updated:

GEORGETOWN, TX (KXAN) – The State Bar of Texas has publicly sanctioned Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty for professional misconduct for intentionally withholding evidence from defense attorneys and violating a gag order in the same case.

According to the agreed judgment of probated suspension released by the State Bar’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Duty intentionally withheld evidence from defense attorneys in the murder case against Crispin Harmel, accused of killing Jessical Kalaher. The Evidentiary Panel, which Duty selected instead of a public court proceeding to hear the grievances filed against her, also found she intentionally violated a gag order imposed by the court in the Harmel case.

District Judge Rick Kennon had previously determined Duty withheld evidence in the Harmel case, which is still pending in his court, after the first trial was declared a mistrial over the withheld evidence. Harmel now awaits a second trial. Judge Kennon also found duty violated his gag order and talked to media about the Harmel case. Duty was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Duty agreed to an 18-month fully probated suspension of her law license, meaning she can still practice law as long as she doesn’t violate the law or any rules of professional misconduct during the probationary period. She must also comply with the minimum continuing legal education requirements of the State Bar of Texas and pay $3,250.00 in attorney fees to the State Bar.

It’s not the first time Duty has been disciplined by the State Bar. In 2011, while serving as the Williamson County Attorney Duty released confidential information from an executive session of a Williamson County Commissioners Court meeting.

Duty recently lost her bid for re-election to attorney Shawn Dick. Since losing the election, Duty has largely been absent from work according to sources at the courthouse.

She has not responded to multiple attempts to contact her for comment.

 

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DA Jana Duty Sanctioned By State Bar of Texas….. Again

The State Bar of Texas is reporting that Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty received a “Fully Probated” 18 month suspension of her license. This mean Duty can still practice law but is on “probation” for the next 18 months. We are in the process of obtaining conditions of her “probation” and ruling.

Regardless of the ruling, Duty is still not showing up to work.

From the State Bar of Texas website:

PUBLIC DISCIPLINARY HISTORY
State of Texas*
Sanction Entry date (Start-End)Sanction (Start-End)Probation
Fully Probated Suspension 06/01/2016 06/01/2016 – 11/30/2017
Public Reprimand 11/22/2011
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Hutto City Manager Karen Daly Resigns

According to sources who attended tonights meeting, Hutto City Manager Karen Daly resigned. Sources say the Council went in to Executive Session to discuss the City Manager and returned a very short time later with a motion to “accept the resignation” of Daly.

We will have more as the story develops.

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KXAN Now Reporting On Former DA First Assistant State Bar Sanction

Below is the full text of the story from KXAN.

Published:

GEORGETOWN, TX (KXAN) – The State Bar of Texas has publicly sanctioned attorney Mark Brunner, the former 1st assistant district attorney for outgoing Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. Brunner resigned his post at the district attorney’s office in April, stating he wanted to focus on his private law practice.

The sanction against Brunner stems from an armed robbery case he prosecuted against Jesse Gamboa, who pleaded guilty to robbing the Schwertner State Bank through a plea agreement with Brunner. According to the agreed judgment released by the State Bar’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, Brunner lied to District Judge Donna King about having sought approval of the plea agreement from the victims in the case.

The judgment states:

“Respondent represented the State of Texas in Cause No. 14-0228-1<26, The State of Texas v. Jesse Celedon Gamboa. Mr.Gamboa was charged with four counts of Aggravated Robbery for robbing a bank. On or about January 24, 2015, Respondent and Mr. Gamboa’s counsel informed the Court that a plea agreement was possible. The Court instructed Respondent to talk to the victims. On January 25, 2015, at the plea hearing, the Court asked Respondent, “Has the State had contact with the victims in this case?” Respondent replied, “Your Honor, yes. I’ve spoken with the – – Mr. Schwertner, who owns the bank. He’s satisfied with the plea bargain agreement, and I made contact as well with the listed victims in the case.” This statement was false as the four listed victims were unaware of the plea agreement. Before accepting the plea, the Court stated, ” … but for the acquiescence of this agreement by the victims in this case, I would not be going along with this agreement.” Respondent did nothing to correct the false statement he made to the Court.”

Brunner agreed to the sanction of a probated suspension of his law license for one year beginning June 1, 2016 and ending on May 31, 2016. While on probation Brunner cannot engage in any profession misconduct or violate any state or federal laws. He must comply with minimum continuing legal education requirements and pay $1,169.05 in attorney fees to the State Bar of Texas. He must also “promptly respond to any request for information from the Chief Disciplinary Counsel in connection with any investigation of any allegations of professional misconduct.”

Several complaints of misconduct are still pending against Brunner’s former boss, Jana Duty who a district judge found “intentionally” withheld evidence from defense lawyers in a case she and Brunner were prosecuting together.  That murder case against Crispin Harmel is still pending as he awaits a second trial for the 2009 death of Jessika Kalaher. The first was declared a mistrial over the video evidence defense lawyers were not able to access.

Duty recently lost her bid for re-election to attorney Shawn Dick. Since losing the election Duty has largely been absent from work according to sources at the courthouse. With Brunner’s departure she appointed Brent Webster as her 1stassistant.

During Brunner’s probationary period he can still practice law but if he violates the terms of the agreed judgment, his probation could be revoked and he could be actively suspended for the remainder of the term. KXAN tried to reach Brunner for comment but he has not yet returned communication.

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Former DA First Assistant Sanctioned By The State Bar of Texas

As we reported months ago, DA First Assistant Mark Brunner was under investigation by the State Bar of Texas.

Brunner abruptly resigned his position as First Assistant effective April 30, 2016. The State Bar of Texas is now reporting Brunner’s license was suspended for one year on May 23, 2016. The suspension was fully probated from June 1, 2016 until May 31, 2017.

 

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Jana Duty is still not showing up to work and is making it known she is moving to Central America leaving many to believe the State Bar is about to lower the boom on her as well.

More details as they become available.

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Hutto City Manager Back On The Chopping Block

The Hutto City Council Agenda for June 2 once again has an item regrading the City Manager. Karen Daly has been engulfed in controversy for the past year. That controversy landed her a  4-3 Vote of No confidence on January 7th.

In order to terminate Daly, the council would need 5 votes.

In January, the standing room only crowd voiced their concerns regarding the City Manager and many felt it was time for her to go. Four council members agreed. City Council members Ann Cano, Lucio Valdez, Michael Smith and Tom Hines supported a vote of no confidence.

The no votes came from Mayor Debbie Holland, Max Yeste and Ronnie Quintanilla-Perez.

Many voiced their disgust at Holland, Yeste and Quintallla-Perez.  All three decided not to run for re-election and were replaced on May 7th.

Daly and Police Chief Earl Morrision have been hammered with accusations of “back room deals”, “gross mismanagement” and “unethical behavior”. Morrison, who is known as “Daly’s boy”, has had much upheaval in his own agency for some time now.

Thursday evening will be an interesting event. The council meeting is held at City Hall and begins at 7pm.

 

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Run-Off Election: Warren Wins / Webster Walloped and Duty’s Desertion

Landy Warren takes the Republican nomination for Pct 1 Commissioner with a 56-44 win.

Scott Walker wins big over Brent Webster 58-42. Webster barely won in his home county by a little over 100 votes but lost big statewide. Click here to read more about Webster.

Both Warren and Walker face Democrat opponents in November.

Laura Barker won her race against Warren Waterman 62-38. Barker faces no opponent in November and will probably be appointed to the bench after the vote is certified.

In other news, Jana Duty is still not showing up to work and is now saying she is moving out of the country. Duty draws a 150k a year taxpayer funded salary and has been to the office (according to sources) only 6 times since mid February. Duty’s term ends Dec 31st but could be much sooner if the State Bar of Texas disbars her which is big possibility. Deadlines are fast approaching for Duty and her pending State Bar disciplinary proceeding.

Duty’s admin. assistant resigned and just sold her house. She is moving out of the area in June. Duty has told several people she is moving to central America.

Duty commented on her former admin. assistant’s facebook page a few days ago with the following.

Jana Moving Crap

 

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Webster’s Whoppers

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Williamson County DA First Assistant Brent Webster has been on the “campaign trail” for many months now, on the taxpayers dime. Now Webster defends his absence from the office in a recent article in the Wilco Sun as “leaving at 2p or 3p” daily to “hit the campaign trail”. Webster justifies his absence by saying he “draws from his vacation time” to be out of the office campaigning.

A public information request was filed with the DA’s Office in April for Webster’s time sheets. Webster however is the gatekeeper to those requests and the source of the request has stated they received no response from Webster and they have filed a complaint against Webster with the Texas Attorney Generals Office.

Looking at Websters campaign facebook page, he is out of the office many times before “2p or 3p” at campaign events around the state. Just last week, Webster was out of the office all day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the “campaign trail”. He was again out of the office sitting at a poll in Bell County most of the day Friday.

Webster is also greatly embellishing his record of “experience”. Webster began his career at the Williamson County Attorney’s Office where he tried only six low level Misdemeanor criminal cases. He spent the majority of his time as a CPS attorney.

When Webster moved to the DA’s Office under John Bradley where he spent his time as an intake attorney, never prosecuting cases in the courtroom. When Jana Duty took over in January 2013, Webster spent the next three years handling PIA requests, Asset Forfeitures and other non-trial related matters.

Webster is most famous for his three failed mandamus petitions filed with the Court of Appeals and Criminal Court of Appeals defending Jana Duty against her contempt proceedings she was later jailed for and is still under investigation by the State Bar of Texas.

Webster says he has “handled” more than 1,000 cases since being hired in the DA’s office. We searched the court records of Williamson County and found he is the record of attorney on zero cases. According to the Texas State Office of Court Administration, Webster is on record of having “handled” only six cases.

Webster stated in the Sun article, “I have handled everything from Misdemeanors to Murder”. Webster has never tried a murder case in his career. Matter of fact, Webster has never sat first chair in any felony trial in his entire career.

This has left many to ask; how can someone who has never tried a murder case or acted as an appellate attorney possibly hear cases on the State’s highest criminal appellate court. The voters will decide on Tuesday.

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Pct 1 Republican Commissioner Candidate Voting Records Under Fire

Precinct One Commissioner Republican Candidate Donna Parker’s voting record has recently come to light and under fire. According to official records, Parker did not vote in the Williamson County Republican Primary in 2006 and, in 2008, voted in the Democrat Primary. Sources say Parker indicated “privately” she voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democrat Primary.

As well, prior to moving to Williamson County, Parker resided in California and has personally stated she was heavily active in the Libertarian Party there. These questions are now spilling over on her facebook page by concerned Republican voters.

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Apparently Parker did not like her voting record from Texas or California challenged publicly by a concerned Williamson County resident. She has since deleted the post comments from Wirth, refusing to answer. We located Wirth on facebook and asked him if he ever received a response from Parker. He said not only did he not receive a response, but Parker deleted, banned and blocked him from commenting on her campaign facebook page.

We have an official request in for Parker’s voting record while residing in California. This race is headed to the run-off election on May 24th.

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Alleged Complaint Filed With Attorney General’s Office Against DA Employee Brent Webster

According to sources, an Open Records Request was sent to the District Attorney’s Office on April 11th requesting DA employee Brent Webster’s time sheets. Webster has been out of the office “many days” campaigning and Duty has not been showing up to work leaving many questioning who is running the office. A quick look at Websters campaign facebook page shows several pictures of him at locations around the State during the week on work days.

By law, the DA’s Office had 10 business days to respond to the request or file an objection with the Attorney General’s Office if they had any exceptions with documents they feel they shouldn’t have to provide. They are also required to provide a copy of this to the requester.

The DA’s website under the Staff page show Brent Webster’s duties and part of those is that he handles all Open Records Requests. According to the requester, the Open Records request has gone completely ignored.

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Apparently, last week the requester filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office regarding the violation. The person who filed the complaint stated they feel Webster “is deliberately delaying this until after the run-off election or completely disregarding it entirely”.

Criminal penalties for noncompliance with the Public Information Act apply according to state law. Failure to Give Access to Public Information states “A person responsible for releasing public information commits a crime if he or she fails to give access to or fails to permit copying of public information as required by the Public Information Act. This violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, a six-month jail term, or both. Also, the Public Information Act states that this violation constitutes official misconduct.214 Thus, a public official may be subject to removal from office for such an offense.”

 

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Neophyte Takes Helm At District Attorney’s Office

As we reported would occur three weeks ago, Brent Webster took over the helm at the District Attorney’s Office yesterday.

Duty, who has only appeared at work a hand full of times since March 1 tapped Webster to be her new First Assistant. Webster has never sat First Chair in a felony trial in his career and is now in charge of supervising and prosecuting Williamson County’s most serious crimes.

Webster was also the lead in filing several failed mandamuses against the the Third Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals in effort to protect his boss Jana Duty when she was tossed in jail last year.

Webster is currently campaigning in a run-off election against Scott Walker for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – Place 5. With Webster out of the office many days campaigning and Duty not showing up to work, many are questioning who is even running the office.

One source inside of the DA’s Office said “January 1, 2017 can’t get here fast enough”.

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Reports Surface of More “Questionable” Job Interview Questions By Commissioner

Williamson Pct. 1 County Commissioner Lisa Birkman has possibly exposed taxpayers to further liability in an ongoing law suit over questions asked in the appointment of a Constable in 2013 that has already cost taxpayers over a half a million dollars (and still climbing).

According to KXAN News, Birkman stated the following last August in deposition: “That’s what I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I asked a question on their view on gay marriage and their view on abortion ….” Precinct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman said during a deposition hearing in August.

Yesterday, according to Time Warner Cable News, another incident recently occurred: “A question allegedly asked by a Williamson County Commissioner at a recent candidates’ forum has some worried about the county’s hiring practices. Sources say Lisa Birkman asked candidates in the run-off election for County Court at Law 2 about same sex marriage. The question was asked at a public forum and not behind closed doors.

Similar questions were asked in 2013, during job interviews with candidates for the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office.The applicants were asked about religion, abortion, and gay marriage.

While the county settled with two of the plaintiffs, the case involving the original plaintiff is going to trial.

“If we’re talking about the same commissioners who are asking questions in private employment interviews of people out in public, I think this goes a long way to demonstrate that this is now the standard operating procedure,” said Wayne Krause Yang with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Yang claims Williamson County has spent nearly $500,000 fighting the case. That’s on top of the $100,000 settlement.”

Federal law prohibits employers – public or private – from using religious views in the hiring process. It’s treated the same as race, gender or age. The Texas Bill of Rights is also clear saying “no religious test should be required as a qualification to any office.”

Birkman’s term ends December 31, 2016.

Below is a PODCAST from the KLBJ Jeff Ward show yesterday regarding the recent exchange from Birkman.

 

 

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Wilco DA’s Office Imploding

Last week Mark Brunner resigned his position as First Assistant at the DA’s office. He was replaced with what most describe as the least qualified person in the office – Brent Webster.

Webster has never sat First Chair in a criminal case in his entire career as a prosecutor. According to sources, he has sat second chair in only two Felony criminal trials.

Now you have a lame duck District Attorney who has shown up to work only a few days since losing the election and her new First Assistant who has never sat First Chair in a felony trial running the DA’s office.

Webster has been endorsed by Duty in his run-off election for Court of Criminal Appeals against long time prosecutor Scott Walker. Sources have said Webster has been out of the office many days campaigning around the state.

 

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Wilco Report: A New Beginning

Our former commentator decided to move on and has turned the reigns over to our new publisher who is committed to delivering facts surrounding Williamson County. She looks forward in continuing to report information backed with fact, not rumor or speculation. We appreciate the many emails we have received over the past month in support of our reporting and strive to keep you informed.

Many issues have occurred over the past month. We will catch you up on over the next week.

First topic. Ousted DA Jana Duty, as expected, is not showing up to work. Her First Assistant Mark Brunner also announced his resignation earlier this week.

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Ousted DA Jana Duty Endorses Employee Brent Webster For Court Of Criminal Appeals

UntitledJana Duty, who was soundly defeated in her re-elect bid for DA has taken to her facebook page to endorse Brent Webster in his run off bid for Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5.

Webster, an employee of Duty has apparently taken an extended leave of absence from the DA’s office to campaign. Sources inside of the DA’s office tell us that Webster is rarely in the office over the past several months.

Webster came in a far distant second place behind Scott Walker statewide on March 1. Walker amassed 41% of the vote in the 4 man race with 832,560 votes to Webster’s distant second place finish at 20% or 410,457 votes.

In Williamson County (Websters home county) Webster was soundly defeated by Scott Walker.

Now Webster is publicly endorsed by his boss, disgraced DA Jana Duty. It is unclear why Webster would even consider this endorsement given Duty’s resounding defeat at the ballot box, criminal conviction, incarceration, withholding evidence and perjury issues. If that’s not enough, Webster should consider the pending disciplinary proceeding with the State Bar of Texas against Duty that may very soon lead to her disbarment.

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Day 89: The Search For Jana Duty Continues

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Last night, KXAN News highlighted Jana Duty’s continued absence from work and what the future holds over the next 10 months for the DA’s office. KXAN attempted to contact Duty (as every other media outlet over the past 3 months) with no success.

Now, her continued absence has shifted from a once jokingly mindset of “Where’s Jana” to a more critical tone highlighting her dereliction of duty which is now directly impacting the safety of Williamson County residents.

Click here to watch the story from KXAN titled Jana Duty’s Remaining Months As DA Questioned.

Jana Duty is again not in the office today. That makes 73 actual work days since early November Duty has not shown up to work. Now many are asking why Duty should continue receiving a taxpayer paid salary if she refuses to show up to work and conduct the peoples business as she was elected to do. She may have lost the election but her term does not expire until December 31, 2016.

In an expanded look into the DA’s race, we broke the numbers down which shows just how devastating the loss for Duty in fact really was. Dick, who never ran one negative mail piece or ad, dominated Duty throughout the entire county even though Duty launched a 100% negative attack style of campaign.

Dick won all four precincts and 83% of the total boxes. (88 out of 106 boxes) Dick did not lose one box in Pct 3. Out of the 18 boxes Duty did manage to win, she did so with a very slim margin, on average only 16 votes per box. Below is a box breakdown of each precinct.

Pct 1: Shawn Dick 22 boxes to Jana Duty 6 boxes

Pct 2: Shawn Dick 19 boxes to Jana Duty 4 boxes

Pct 3: Shawn Dick 26 boxes to Jana Duty 0 boxes

Pct 4: Shawn Dick 21 boxes to Jana Duty 8 boxes

One thing for certain, Duty’s political career is over and given the looming disciplinary proceeding from the State Bar of Texas, her career as an attorney may be as well.

We are currently gathering information regarding several ethics violations, possibly fraudulent, within Duty’s campaign report. We will have that report once we have all supporting documents.

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What A Night In Wilco: Election Recap

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The voters in Williamson County spoke last night. Several races went as expected and some did not.

  1. Pct 1 Commissioner is headed to a run off between Landy Warren and Donna Parker
  2. County Court at Law 2 is also slated for a run off between Laura Barker and Warren Waterman
  3. Pct 3 Commissioner Val Covey decimated Matt Heaton 65-35
  4. Pct 1 Constable race Vinnie Cherrone wins big over Leo Enriquez 66-33
  5. Pct 2 Constable Rick Coffman wins over Mike Pendley 57-42
  6. Ryan Larsen over Terrance Davis

Robert Chody obliterated his opponents without a run off with 58% of the vote in a 5 way race.

Then you have the race of the night: Shawn Dick v. Jana Duty. Dick, who ran the cleanest campaign of any race won handily over entrenched 12 year incumbent Jana Duty 56-44. Duty not only ran a horribly negative campaign, but also ran from the media. Yesterday, after we posted Duty was at the Liberty Hill High School polling location, the media showed up there and when Duty saw them pull in, she fled the area.

Duty then roped her house off with caution tape and posted a “no trespassing” sign. (see above)

See Live Story From Fox News Here

Duty has missed work for 80 plus days since early November and has not been at her office in the past week. She is now hunkered down in hiding refusing to take calls from media. Many are now left to ask “what now” given her lack of attendance at work and pending disciplinary proceedings with the State Bar of Texas. Shawn Dick does not officially take office until January 1, 2017.

Many are calling for Duty to quietly step down in order to save Williamson County from further negative headlines which are imminent. Given Duty’s defiant history of conducting business, that is doubtful.

We will report more on the other races as they shake out.

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Jana Duty: Out Of Hiding

Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty was hammered on Fox News again last night for dodging another interview. However, she has apparently come out of hiding.

Duty was spotted at the Liberty Hill High School voting location at noon today peddling votes.

We will know in less than 6 hours how this election will shake out. The question still remains, if Duty is in fact defeated, will she show up to work until her term expires on Dec 31st (or sooner if the State Bar of Texas disbars her)? Only time will tell.

 

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The MIA DA: The Final Days

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Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty has once again gone into hiding. She has not been showing up at work (again) and is no where to be found (except for playing victim on facebook). KVUE reported two days ago they have been trying “for months” to email, call and have even showed up to Duty’s office with no response.

If Duty is not showing up to work now, many are now asking what will happen after Tuesday.

Stay tuned for more breaking news we will report this afternoon.

 

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False Attacks Mount In Closing Days

As we reported last week, three local candidates have decided to ramp-up their negative campaign attacks. Today, one candidate for Sheriff has now resorted to spreading false information about another candidate.

Bill Kelberlau launched an attack against Robert Chody by forwarding an email which contained blatantly false information. To make matters worse, he also included an aerial map which shows the location of Chody’s home, placing the safety of Chody and his family at risk.

Kelberlau’s email states:

“A check of the voter rolls show that, as of Nov 2014, Robert Chody was not even registered to vote. In attached aerial view, Chody’s house is the big one on the end with tan roof.”

Sec. 552.117 of the Texas Government Code directly addresses information that relates to the home address, home telephone number, or social security number of peace officers or that reveals whether the individual has family members is confidential and may not be disclosed to the public. You also have Sec. 552.117 of the Government Code or quite possibly, this simple form seen here. The form from Williamson County elections states in part:

Pursuant to Section 552.1175 of the Government Code, if you are a peace officer, county jailer, current or former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, or a commissioned security officer, you may request that information in the voter registration records identifying your home address, home telephone number, social security number, or whether you have relatives be restricted from public access.

Sources tell the Wilco Report “Chody has voted in every Republican primary since 2006 and possibly earlier“. Chody was elected to office in 2008.

The Jana Duty camp mounted this same “whisper campaign” in early September when they could not locate voting records for Shawn Dick. Dick’s records were also placed as confidential based on the law, stemming from a case where he prosecuted several Aryan Brotherhood gang members in 2003/2004. According to records, Dick has voted in every election (General, Primary and Special Election) since 2002. 

Every law enforcement officer is aware of these provisions so Mr. Kelberlau is either intentionally disingenuous, knowing Chody’s voting record does in fact exist, or is clueless regarding Texas law. Either way, Mr. Kelberlau has a big problem on his hands with this false attack.

We will see if Mr. Kelberlau publicly apologizes for his “error” and clarifies to those he emailed that his information was in fact false.

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Dick vs. Duty: Challenger Devastates Incumbent In Fundraising

Campaign finance reports filed today paint a clear picture of support, or lack thereof, for Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. The latest report shows a paltry contribution total of only $5,450.00 for Duty from just 6 contributors. Dick’s report shows he brought in six times more than Duty – $32,196.00 from 51 contributors.

Duty’s contributions dried up in early 2016 after her late 2015 attack ad blitz fell flat, backfiring on her campaign. Duty only raised $2,100.00 for the entire month of January from just 4 donors.

Duty’s opponent, Shawn Dick, continued to pick up steam over the past two reporting periods taking most of Duty’s long time supporters. Overall, he has almost doubled Duty’s total campaign contributions and more than tripled her total number of donors.

Below is a comprehensive breakdown:

Shawn Dick:

Total Contributors – 184

Total Political Contributions$89,338.83

Total Expenditures$67,378.59

Jana Duty:

Total Contributors – 53

Total Political Contributions$50,475.00

Total Expenditures$80,884.67

Duty faces yet another ethics violation from the Texas Ethics Commission regarding her January 21 report. Duty reported dates incorrectly and also improperly listed contributions outside of the designated reporting period.

 

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KXAN Highlights DA Race: Duty Still In Hiding

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KXAN highlighted the Williamson County race for District Attorney this evening at 6pm. Shawn Dick was interviewed but Jana Duty refused to respond to requests from KXAN.

“Jana Duty did not respond to our request for an interview.”

KXAN pointed out multiple times that Duty landed in jail for criminal contempt and highlighted her limited accomplishments while in office.

Duty, who has been in hiding for the past several months had one of her surrogates speak on her behalf.

“Shaughnessy points to four cold cases in which Duty secured indictments. He also points to Duty’s 98 percent conviction rate since she took office in 2013.”

Shawn Dick, who did respond to requests to be interviewed said:

“I want to restore professionalism and integrity,” says Dick.

Dick says the DA’s office lost it after District Attorney Jana Duty was sentenced to jailin August. She was held in contempt of court for violating a gag order in a murder case.

“Everything starts at the top and you are the chief law enforcement officer in the county and your example means a lot,” says Dick.

With 19 years of practice, currently as a private attorney and previously as a prosecutor in Williamson County, Dick says he has the experience to lead.

“The safety that we feel, the freedom to allow our children to play in the front yard, that starts in the district attorney’s office,” says Dick.

Jana Duty has refused every media request for interview over the past several months. She has also snubbed the public by refusing to debate her opponent. Duty may think she isn’t accountable to the media, but she is to the voters and in just 12 days, the voters will speak.

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Duty’s Final Diss To The Republican Party Before Election Day

Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty was again a “no show” at today’s Georgetown Area Republican Women’s meeting.

This makes 6 straight months she has not attended the meeting. Duty has abandoned the Republican Party; not attending any events since August 2015 and most recently, the Reagan Dinner last week.

 

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Early Voting Begins Today And The Attacks Begin

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After a week of going to the mail box finding attack ads from three local candidates, many are feeling the “burnout” of election season. But early voting is finally here and this election will be decided in 14 short days!

While most are sticking with the issues, resisting the urge to get into the mud pit, three local candidates have gone full attack. These three, instead of living up to the Reagan 11th commandment, have decided to launch attacks on their opponents instead of talking about their own qualifications.

The “mailer wars” have gone to a new level over the past week with these three candidates. From “self grading” their opponents to waging personal attacks, many voters are saying these “attack” ads are backfiring and have “turned them off”. Strangely enough, the ads all sound the same.

Voters are smart and can see through the mud. Unfortunately, for these three, it seems they are more consumed with their opponents rather than what they have to offer the office they seek (or currently hold).

We applaud the candidates who have resisted the urge to attack their opponent and stick with the issues. The institution, on both the national and local level deserves a candidate who displays leadership and integrity, not those who degrade the office they seek with abhorring campaigns.

If a candidate can’t win on their record and must resort to these attacks, that says a lot about that candidate. Either they must rely on degrading their opponent to distract the public away from their own failed record, they aren’t qualified to fill the position they seek (or currently hold) or they are just plain insecure. For some, it seems to be a combination of these.

If you want to know how a candidate will act if elected to office, watch them campaign. With that in mind, VOTE! This election, on a national and local level, holds many issues in the balance unlike any we have ever faced in recent history.

 *UPDATED AT 3:03PM*

Thank you to one of our comment posters for bringing this to our attention.

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“JanaLand”: In A World Of Her Own

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Yesterday was not a good day for Williamson County District Attorney Jana Duty. Duty lost two more major endorsements to her opponent. Duty, who was once endorsed by many is now endorsed by none.

Yesterday evening, Duty posted on her campaign facebook page:

I am SO thankful that the Wilco Sun endorsed my opponent!! In six (6) contested campaigns, the Wilco Sun has endorsed me ZERO (0) times. It’s my good luck charm. Thank you again Wilco Sun!!!

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It appears Duty is trying to mitigate the damage to what support she has left by downplaying the Sun’s endorsement of her opponent and diminishing the publication itself. (although she forgot to mention the Statesman).

In September, Duty made this statement to the Williamson County Sun.

I have spoken to almost every law enforcement agency that endorses the candidate of their choice and I am very confident that I will be receiving those endorsements again.

Duty also told the Sun in other interviews she has a “list of endorsements she will release at the right time”. We are still waiting for that list.

Every law enforcement agency who endorsed Duty in 2004, 2008 and 2012 has now voted not to endorse her. Every community leader who endorsed Duty in the past is now endorsing her opponent. Every former elected official who endorsed Duty in 2012 has now endorsed her opponent. And finally, The Statesman who endorsed her in 2004, 2008 and 2012 has now endorsed her opponent.

We emailed Duty yesterday evening asking if she feels Law Enforcement, The Statesman, community leaders and former elected officials not endorsing her is also her “good luck charm”. We have yet to receive a response.

Duty fails to grasp why she has lost the support and endorsement of these groups and instead of accepting reality, she takes another trip into “DutyLand”.

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