City of Hearne supervisor paid to sit in jail

If you think Hearne’s streets have too many potholes, add this to the list of reasons: the supervisor of the city’s street department was arrested on felony charges in January, and the city is still paying his annual salary of more than $37,000 per year while he sits behind bars.

Natividad RodriguezNatividad Alex Rodriguez, Jr. was indicted on a felony charge of driving while intoxicated in 2012 and he was later placed on probation, but he was arrested again in January after his probation was revoked. According to the 2012 indictment, Rodriguez was convicted of misdemeanor DWIs in 1993 and 1996, then convicted of a felony DWI in 1999.

According to other Brazos County records, Rodriguez was also sentenced in 1999 to seven years in prison for second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance. His criminal record in Brazos County dates back to 1988, when he was arrested for assault and reckless conduct (he was later convicted on both charges).

My sources tell me that prior to Rodriguez’s latest arrest, other city employees were upset that Rodriguez was allowed to drive city vehicles on the job while his license was suspended. So how does Rodriguez get away with things that would get anyone else fired? He’s a FORG, i.e., a “friend of Ruben Gomez,” the mayor.

I have not yet obtained payroll records for Rodriguez, but my sources have confirmed that he is still drawing his full salary. Expect that subject to be discussed at the city council meeting on Tuesday. [UPDATE 8/30/15: The Bryan-College Station Eagle reports that the meeting has been cancelled.] … Read more

Tip of the day: Before being interviewed on TV as a legal expert, make sure you know what you’re talking about

Last night on WFAA, a former Dallas County prosecutor said my communications with Collin County grand jurors about Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton were “an ethical gray area” and that I may have committed “some type of crime.” Here’s some advice to the former prosecutor, Josh Healy: before offering legal opinions on television, make sure you know what the law actually says. Otherwise, you might look incompetent or get sued for “some type of defamation.”

Josh HealyUnder the heading “Duties of Grand Jury,” article 20.09 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states, “[t]he grand jury shall inquire into all offenses liable to indictment of which any member may have knowledge, or of which they shall be informed by the attorney representing the State, or any other credible person.” (Emphasis added). See also Roberson v. Texas, 2004 WL 2817123 (Tex.App. – Houston [1st Dist.] 2004, pet. dism’d). My critics can argue about whether I am credible, but they cannot plausibly suggest that I did anything illegal or improper by reporting the evidence of Mr. Paxton’s crimes to the grand jury.

Mr. Paxton’s spokesman, Anthony Holm, first began peddling the idea that my communications with grand jurors were illegal or unethical, but I ignored him. Mr. Holm is a political consultant, not a lawyer (although he is certainly a professional prevaricator, and he does seem to have a lot of expertise in public deception). Mr. Healy, on the other hand, has no such excuse, because he is a lawyer who claims to know something about grand juries and criminal law.

Likewise, Judge Chris Oldner and Judge John Roach, Jr. have no excuse for their ignorance of criminal law. Both of them signed orders targeted at me – albeit without mentioning my name – suggesting that they were sealing the names of grand jurors because “information was received outside the grand jury process and in violation of the laws of the [S]tate of Texas.” Emails that I obtained last week indicate that the sloppy orders were drafted by Collin County Assistant DAs Gayle Falco Leyko and John Rolater.  You will recall that DA Greg Willis has been a personal friend of Mr. Paxton since college, they are business partners even now, and Mr. Willis had successfully blocked the investigation of Mr. Paxton until a rogue grand jury finally forced his recusal. … Read more