Texas Commission on Law Enforcement investigating TABC chief and husband

Kim Vickers Web PhotoThe Texas Commission on Law Enforcement opened a formal investigation yesterday of Sherry Cook, executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and her husband Maurice Cook, former chief of the Texas Rangers and Republican nominee for Bastrop County Sheriff, to determine whether Mrs. Cook’s training at a VIP police academy run by Mr. Cook was faked.

In a phone conversation this afternoon, TCOLE executive director Kim Vickers told me he was making the investigation a priority and assigning two of his agents as well as an investigator from an outside agency.  TCOLE oversees training and licensing of all Texas peace officers, and it can file criminal charges or administratively suspend or revoke peace officer licenses. … Read more

Did Texas’s top liquor cop get unearned credit at VIP police academy run by her husband?

Public records — or the absence of public records — seem to suggest that Sherry Cook, the executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, received unearned credit from a special VIP police academy run by her husband.  I suspect that’s only the tip of the iceberg, and this afternoon I sent a letter to the Travis County DA, Brazoria County DA, and Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requesting an investigation of Mrs. Sherry CookCook and her husband, Maurice Cook, the former chief of the Texas Ranger Division and the current Republican nominee for Bastrop County Sheriff.

According to Mr. Cook’s resume, he was the director of law enforcement training at Alvin Community College from August of 2000 until August of 2013. Mrs. Cook’s official training records at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement show that she received 40 hours for “Crime Scene Investigation (Intermediate)” at ACC during the week of August 26, 2013 through August 30, 2013.  According to an April 30, 2015 email from ACC President Christal Albrecht, the class was offered in Room N-111 at the ACC campus, and I’ve found nothing to indicate that it was available online or by teleconference. Yet TABC has no records indicating that Mrs. Cook actually attended the class in Alvin.

You would expect to find mileage reports, gas receipts, meal receipts, or hotel bills — something reflecting a five-day round trip from Austin to Alvin — but TABC claims there are no such records.  In fact, TABC claims it has no record of any emails that Mrs. Cook sent or received during the week of August 26, 2013. I requested all of her emails from that week, thinking one of them might give a clue about her location. In an August 19, 2015 telephone conversation, TABC public information coordinator Matthew Cherry told me there were no emails whatsoever for that week.  On September 21, 2015, he wrote as follows: “Please be informed that the TABC does not have any responsive records pertaining to emails, travel, and expense records for Executive Director Sherry Cook from August 26, 2013 through August 30, 2013.” … Read more

California Bar blocks investigation of internal misconduct

Gregory DresserDespite evidence that state bar prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence in a disciplinary case, the State Bar of California refused to appoint an outside investigator and refused to investigate the case itself. Instead, a senior state bar attorney allowed his employees to exonerate themselves. Meanwhile, in a related lawsuit, the state bar refused a settlement offer that would only have required the bar to refer criminal misconduct to the state attorney general’s office.  The state bar instead chose to face trial rather than report the alleged crime (more on that below).

According to a letter that I received yesterday from Acting Assistant Chief Trial Counsel Donald R. Steedman, his employees had no legal duty to disclose evidence that contradicted their arguments before the state bar court.  That’s not only wrong, it’s preposterous. Under California law, it is a crime for a prosecutor to hide evidence that tends to prove the innocence of the defendant.

As I reported two weeks ago, prosecutors Cydney Batchelor and Robert Henderson argued that my former client, Wade Robertson, had taken $3.5 million from his business partner, William C. Cartinhour, Jr., without using any of the money for its intended purpose of supporting litigation in New York. When an attorney in Alabama, Jason Yearout, told Ms. Batchelor that Mr. Robertson used at least some of the money to pay his firm for litigation expenses, she tried to cover up that discovery, telling Mr. Yearout that he “should forget the phone call ever happened.” … Read more

California bar prosecutor implicates herself in crime

California Bar logoThis afternoon I sent a letter to the San Francisco County Grand Jury requesting a criminal investigation of Cydney Batchelor, a senior prosecutor for the State Bar of California. In my May 9, 2016 post, I explained that Ms. Batchelor had withheld exculpatory evidence in a disbarment proceeding against my former client, Wade Robertson.

In her response to the state bar court, Ms. Batchelor only made herself look worse. A lot worse. In a sworn declaration, she admitted that she obtained exculpatory evidence from attorney Jason Yearout, and she admitted that she may have told him that he “should forget the phone call ever happened.” Her defense? She claims that Mr. Yearout just misunderstood what she really meant.

Yeah, sure he did. The fact remains that Ms. Batchelor never disclosed the exculpatory evidence to Mr. Robertson or the state bar court, as she was legally obligated to do. In California, a prosecutor’s willful failure to disclose exculpatory evidence is a crime, and Ms. Batchelor is not just any ordinary prosecutor. She chaired the state bar’s task force on prosecutorial misconduct, and she has personally sought and obtained the suspensions or disbarments of other prosecutors who withheld exculpatory evidence. … Read more