Editors Choice

Texas Judge Driven by Cops to Birthday Bash in Official Fireman’s Uniform During Pandemic Lockdown Faces Justice by Hecht

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht received the complaint after multiple judges recused themselves from the Judge Bill Gravell investigation.

LIT COMMENTARY

With so much public visibility on this case, the Nathan Hecht decision will be dependent his stance in relation to his potential for re-election.  In LIT’s opinion, right now he’s out come the election as the women judge(s) are positioned as the preferred candidates (no matter their background or qualifications). Citizens are voting for female judges in Texas at this current time, you only need to look at the State courts after recent election(s).

The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court is up against it with the election predictions saying the State of Texas will go blue and the Democrats will prevail. Hecht (along with Phillips) actually received his position 33 years ago thanks to the Democrat justices being ousted after the tell all 60 minutes program highlighting the corruption in the highest state court of Texas. Now Hecht and his BFF, Gov Abbott, are eating from the same table.

You only need to review LIT’s Supreme Court case opinions to see these sitting justices are so corrupt that those up for re-election in 2020 need to be replaced, no matter what.

So that being said, Chief Justice Hecht will either (a) appoint a judge and that way he may not be around to pick up the pieces after he leaves the court, (b) dismiss the complaint as he’s nothing to lose or (c) he’ll have a ‘quiet word’ with Gravell, who will resign and get appointed immediately to another position where no-one will really notice (he’s most likely too young to formally retire).

Either way, there will be no criminal charges levied against Texas Judge Gravell. What is guaranteed is the Texas taxpayer is picking up the tab for all these coverups.

Criminal complaint against Williamson County judge now at TX Supreme Court

Originally Published; May 29, 2020

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A complaint against Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell has bounced around the county for nearly two months as elected officials have worked to decide what to do with the investigation. That complaint has now landed on the desk of the highest court in Texas.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht will make the decision that could lead to the complaint finally being investigated. Hecht got the Gravell complaint after multiple judges recused themselves from involvement in the Gravell investigation.

Georgetown attorney Robert McCabe filed the complaint against Judge Bill Gravell on April 13. The complaint accused Gravell of violating his own stay-at-home order—a misdemeanor—and of official oppression and abuse of official capacity.

The Buddy Falcon account posted the pictures of Judge Bill Gravell at 2:52 p.m. on April 7, 2020.

The complaint came after a Williamson County taxpayer spotted Gravell attending a family member’s birthday party on April 7. Photographs of Gravell and his wife appeared on a Twitter account belonging to “Buddy Falcon” within hours of the party. Gravell was wearing a fireman’s bunker gear and breathing equipment the judge borrowed from the county’s fire department in Jarrell.

The photographs show Gravell standing outside his pickup truck wearing the publicly-owned fire equipment. Chief Mark McAdams told KXAN Gravell wanted the fire equipment in order to protect his grandson from potential exposure to the coronavirus during the judge’s visit to the party.

Gravell’s wife, who is standing beside him in the photographs, is not wearing any protective equipment.

At the time, anyone who lived in—or visited—Williamson County was banned from visits such as this, according to the order Gravell extended the day he attended the birthday party. The Gravell order included a fine or up to 180 days in jail for violating the order.

The complaint accused Gravell of using the power of his office to borrow the fire gear to attend the party. The chief told KXAN he would not have allowed any member of the public to use the department’s fire equipment for personal use but admitted to allowing Gravell to do so. A move the chief told KXAN he later regretted.

The criminal complaint was filed with Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs’ office where it stayed for weeks. Hobbs was trying to decide whether to assign the complaint to another county district attorney’s office or to investigate the complaint himself, according to Jason Nassour, an Austin attorney who works as Hobbs’ general counsel.

Sometime after May 1, Hobbs sent the complaint to Williamson County District Judge Stacy Mathews to have Mathews assign a special prosecutor to the case, according to Nassour. Hobbs never recused himself, Nassour told KXAN, but since Hobbs’ office was involved in advising Gravell in crafting the stay-at-home order, Hobbs decided to not investigate the matter.

Williamson County District Court Judge Stacy Mathews recused herself from assigning the Judge Bill Gravell criminal complaint to a special prosecutor.

Judge Mathews later recused herself from any involvement in the case and forwarded the Gravell complaint to an administrative judge who oversees Mathews’ judicial district.

Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield, the presiding judge of Texas’ Third Judicial Region, later recused himself in the Gravell matter and sent the criminal complaint to the Texas Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court confirmed receiving the Gravell complaint and is awaiting Chief Justice Nathan Hecht’s decision on appointment of a district court judge who would assign a prosecutor pro tem to have the case investigated.

That prosecutor would determine whether charges would be brought against Gravell.

The complaint also alleges a Williamson County deputy drove Gravell to the fire station, then to the birthday party on April 7. Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody would not answer questions regarding whether the deputy was on duty at the time, whether that deputy was being investigated or what purpose a deputy would be assigned to escort Gravell.

“The sheriff’s department determines what Law Enforcement services are necessary and when they are necessary,” Sheriff Robert Chody wrote in an April 13 email to KXAN. “I will not respond on matters of security involving anybody as a matter of protocol.”

Chody, who is often criticized by the “Buddy Falcon” Twitter account, took issue with a the reporting related to an interview with the person running the Twitter account and the use of the pictures of Gravell posted by the account,

“Lastly Mr. Barr, let’s be fair. Please consider your sources more responsibly in the future as each have and have had an agenda for sometime [sic],” Chody wrote in an email.

When asked if Chody found any inaccuracies in the reporting or from the “Buddy Falcon” account, the sheriff could not provide an example of any inaccuracies.

“If you want to know what’s inaccurate in your story. Contact the County Attorney or District Attorney to determine and ask if an actual violation of the order occurred or if any law was broken as your story states.”

THE GRAVELL CALL

The pictures of Gravell at the birthday party were posted to Twitter at 2:52 p.m. on April 7. An hour and 10 minutes later, Gravell sent the Buddy Falcon account a message, asking the unnamed account owner to take the pictures down.

“That is a picture of my daughter’s home and my grandson. Please remove it from your page. You can come after me but this picture is out of line!” Gravell wrote in the message.

The message was provided to KXAN by the account’s owner who asked that we conceal their identity.

At 3:32 p.m., McCabe posted a reply to the Buddy Falcon tweet, accusing Gravell of abusing his power by using taxpayer-owned equipment to attend the birthday party.  Just 22 minutes later, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick called McCabe, telling him Gravell was on the line demanding to speak with him and that it was “an emergency.”

The emergency, according to McCabe, was Gravell’s demands to remove the tweets from the Buddy Falcon account.

“The emergency was that Bill Gravell needed to reach me about was these Twitter photos,” McCabe said.

The three spent a few minutes on the phone, according to McCabe, and in the call Gravell asked McCabe to have the photographs removed from the Buddy Falcon social media accounts.

“I think he believed that I had some influence over the Buddy Falcon account or whoever those people are that run those accounts and that I could have them taken down. And, I immediately made it clear that I have no control over those photographs, I did not take the photographs and that I would do nothing to help them,” McCabe said.

McCabe said someone told him that Gravell originally planned to have firefighters from the Jarrell fire station drive by his grandson’s house at 11 a.m. with Gravell on the back of one of the trucks dressed as a fireman.

McCabe said he planned to have someone go by to photograph Gravell because McCabe believed the county judge was about to commit a crime.

Plans to use the fire trucks did not go through, according to Chief McAdams. McCabe said McAdams did nothing wrong and was put into a “tough position” by his boss, Judge Gravell.

McCabe said Gravell admitted to “criminal conduct” in the call. That position was supported by Dick’s decision to immediately recuse himself from the case, telling KXAN he couldn’t discuss the details of the case because he’s now “A potential witness in this conduct” after the April 7 phone call.

Dick said he also filed a criminal referral with Williamson County Attorney Dee Hobbs detailing Gravell’s actions following the phone call.

Judge Gravell never responded to KXAN emails, messages and phone calls sent to his office and to his social media accounts.

County judge charged after telling Sheriff Chody to quit tweeting

Originally Posted; July 19, 2018

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — County Judge Dan Gattis has been charged with official oppression against Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody, the sheriff’s office said.

Court documents show Gattis, in his capacity as county judge, allegedly impeded the sheriff in his right to free speech on Tuesday, July 17. The charge is a misdemeanor.

As county judge, Gattis, 76, has been the chief executive officer of Williamson County since 2007. Judge Gattis told Chief Deputy Tim Ryle to tell the sheriff to quit tweeting or his budget would be “zeroed,” according to Chody.

In an interview with KXAN, Chody said the comments were not only an infringement of his right to free speech but “more importantly, he’s talking about the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.”

He said, “We’re at a dire need to properly fund and properly staff [our department].”

The sheriff said the department had some hope this budget cycle of some relief, but what happened Tuesday now throws that into question. “It concerns me because now I wonder, ‘Is this something he’s going to try to sabotage behind the scenes?”

A tweet of Chody’s the county judge may have been referencing was sent out on Friday, July 13:

Demands of the WilCo Sheriff’s Office are not only growing due to population growth but were poorly maintained by past admin and other factors.This budget year staffing is our #1 priority. We are short personal and cant maintain this pace without relief for long.

While the sheriff says friction is not uncommon when it comes to the budget, he believes Gattis is not used to pushback.

“For the past year and a half, I’ve been more transparent than Williamson County has ever been as far as the sheriff’s office,” Chody said, highlighting the way his tweets have opened up the department to the community and the media.

“They know about my family life, they know about our K-9s, they know about the lives that officers are saving inside the jail when inmates are trying to harm themselves… We’re humanizing the badge.”

The sheriff said he was shocked by the threat. “For the CEO of this county to tell me to stop tweeting because he doesn’t like a negative comment — or what he perceives as a negative comment — is out of line, and against the law, as he said it.”

When reached, the judge’s office said he had no comment on the charge.

Oppression charge against former Williamson County judge dismissed

Originally Published; 15 Jan. 2019

An official oppression charge against former Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis was dismissed the day after Sheriff Robert Chody sent an email to an assistant county attorney stating that he longer wanted to pursue it.

“It is not my desire to see any conviction on the Judges (sic) record for an anger outburst,” read the email Chody sent to Assistant County Attorney Jason Nassour on Jan. 8. “I also do not want to utilize county resources any longer for someone who is not employed with the county.”

Williamson County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tim Ryle told the American-Statesman in July that Gattis threatened to “zero out” the budget of the sheriff’s office if Chody did not stop commenting about internal county issues on Twitter. Ryle said that Gattis made the threat to him at a Commissioners Court meeting July 17.

Chody had posted tweets questioning the county’s response to what he called a sewage leak in a hall between the jail and the justice center. The official oppression charge, filed in July, was a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and up to one year behind bars.

In August, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Gattis from carrying out judicial duties. He was allowed to continue to perform administrative duties until his retirement Dec. 31.

In the email Chody sent to Nassour on Jan. 8, he described his concerns at the time of the incident.

“Though I believe the threat was real, I also know it was made out of frustration,” Chody’s email stated. “My only concern at the time of this disturbing threat was that Mr. Gattis who holds a very powerful and influential seat would possibly diminish or sabotage all things related to the Sheriff’s Office. At the time, I felt that as the Sheriff, that I had a duty to stand up for what I believed to be a bullying tactic and violation of my freedom of speech.

“Now that Mr. Gattis is no longer in this influential position, those concerns are no longer valid for me as the Sheriff.”

Gattis’ lawyer, his son Dan Gattis Jr., wrote in an email Wednesday that “while Judge Gattis is satisfied the case has been dismissed in his favor, as he always stated it would, and is happy for the taxpayers of Williamson County that the County Attorney and Sheriff are no longer running up legal bills, he is deeply concerned that the Courts are continuously being used by the County Attorney, and now the Sheriff, to settle political disputes.”

“Sheriff Chody as much as admitted so when he essentially stated in his email to the County Attorney’s Office that now that Judge Gattis is retired and not serving on the Commissioner’s Court he is no longer worried that Judge Gattis can affect the Sheriff’s Office,” the email said.

Nassour disagreed with Gattis Jr. “Sheriff Chody’s position that Gattis no longer poses a threat was not a statement of politics but rather in an understanding that Gattis was no longer in a position to commit that crime again,” said Nassour in an email.

“Sheriff Chody’s election to not move forward with the prosecution of Dan Gattis Sr. does not obviate or any way change the fact that a crime was committed by Gattis,” the email read.

Visiting Judge Sid Harle dismissed the official oppression charge Jan. 9, according to a court document.

Texas Judge Driven by Cops to Birthday Bash in Official Fireman’s Uniform During Pandemic Lockdown Faces Justice by Hecht
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