Monday, May 7, 2012

Incomplete jail records lead to mistaken releases

Offenders let go for others to arrest

We have a staff meeting first thing every morning to see who can be released on bail or on their own recognizance... - Sheriff Larry Lynch in an appearance before the McLennan County Commissioners Court

Six Shooter Junction – Riding herd on the spaghetti bowl just north of where I-35 crosses Loop 340 at 1 a.m. Sunday morning - prime time for drunks - the Robinson Police Officer manning a service road speed trap clocked two cars racing in the southbound lanes.

Weaving in and out of traffic, they were making quite a splash, and the radar unit told the tale. Both were traveling in excess of 120 miles per hour.

The other driver in the race got lost in traffic, but Jovan Salas, a 23-year-old with a prison record, lost big time when the policeman got him stopped at an off-ramp following a hazardous chase. He arrested him for racing on a public roadway.

Mr. Salas made a bond fee payment $10,000 surety in which he promised to appear in court as ordered; authorities released him on Sunday before they received word from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice that there would be a “blue warrant” issued on him for parole violation.

The blue warrant is one for which offenders may not be released on bail.

Though his previous conviction was for an identical offense of racing on a public roadway, that violation was even more heinous.

Authorities enhanced the charge in March, 2009, arrest because Mr. Salas' vehicle struck a motorcyclist at the congested corner of Bosque and Valley Mills, causing serious bodily injury to a young man who suffered a crushed vertebrae when he was knocked from his bike.

Orthopedists have conducted surgical procedures on his back to correct the problem.

A judge sentenced Mr. Salas to 5 years in the penitentiary in February of 2010; he was released in October of 2011 after serving 20 months behind bars.

The number one condition of his parole: Commit no further offenses.

Robinson police located him on Monday, re-arrested him, and took him before a magistrate, who then charged him with a parole violation.

In such a case, an offender is not eligible for release on bond.

The problem? In the case of Mr. Salas, neither jailers, nor the Jail Magistrate, a new hire named Virgil E. Bain who replaced Judge Raymond Britton on January 1, were aware that he is a parolee.


There are no orders of commitment on file in the booking department.

Old hands at the law enforcement game tell it like it is.

They say, when it comes to the paper trail left in the footprint of felony offenders, “It takes a judge to put you in the jail, and it takes a judge to get you out of the jail.” (click here for the story of an alleged carjacker-robber turned accused rapist who wound up in the hoosegow on an information the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Marshals plucked from the back pages of a police blotter sheet)

Due process demands that an offender be arraigned on charges within 48 hours, brought before a magistrate and informed of the charges lodged against him, asked if he is indigent and wishes to be represented by an attorney, quizzed as to whether he understands the charges, and does he speak English?

That's when the magistrate – a jurist who can be an appointed municipal judge, an elected justice of the peace, an appointed magistrate, a county court-at-law or district judge, a district court of appeals justice, or a member of the Court of Criminal Appeals, or a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas – signs an order of commitment to custody.

Where the alleged offender has previously been held in “custodial detention,” he is now committed to incarceration by court order, his bail set or denied, and any psychiatric evaluation or medical attention so ordered.

There is the record of his commitment to detention. Was he convicted for that offense? Is he on parole?

Who knows?

That's why the Texas Commission on Jail Standards cited the McLennan County Sheriff's Department for sloppy and incomplete record-keeping in a routine inspection way back in 2008.

In addition to neglecting to keep records of inmates having been advised of their options for medical attention, inspectors gigged the administration of Sheriff Larry Lynch for having no records of the legal instruments by which inmates are detained.

In fact, they have no such records on file today. In a Public Information Act request filed on April 24, a Legendary reporter learned that these orders of commitment are not on file in the Sheriff's Department, nor are they on file in the Jail Magistrate's office.

The Jail Magistrate has no office; he has no phone number that is available to the Sheriff's Department's Records Division; and he has no e-mail address to which members of the press or public may direct inquiries.

Captain Wash's primary interest was in whether Mr. Gates, the seasoned investigator, corrections officer, and crime scene investigation technician, intended to pay a $2 fee for photo copies of information he had requested through a Public Information Act request.

Within a month, members of the U.S. Marshal's Service Fugitive Warrants Division apprehended and arrested a domestic violence offender.

Where was he?

After being previously arrested, he was at the home of the complainant in the domestic violence case for which he had been arrested; she was located out of town, at Mexia.

A source in the Marshal's Service Fugitive Warrants Division, an organization which works closely with the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, made a conservative estimate that there are three to five such cases in which he has had personal involvement in making the subsequent arrest. In each case, the offender was previously released from the McLennan County Jail, either on a personal recognizance or surety bond, when records kept at other levels of the system clearly showed the alleged offender was not eligible for release.


  1. Same ole incompetence and negligence from the current Sheriffs office administration. Their ignorance and lack of concern is just plain scary. This has been a reoccuring theme in the SO for almost 12 years now.
    There needs to be a house cleaning ASAP!!! We need competent folks leading the SO. Vote McNamara. Not only is he qualified to do the job, he will have competent, qualified people working with him.
    Time for a change!

  2. Isn't keeping records like those required by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards part of being a good administrator? I thought Randy Plemons was this brilliant administrator. He can't seem to manage the $26 or is it $28 million budget that he says he is in charge of, except his boss the Sheriff states in print that he takes care of the budget. They tried to put the McLennan County Jail under CEC, the same company currently running the Harwell Center into the ground. Lynch and Plemons can't seem keep the basic records required by law, but continue to tell us how great of administrators they are. Notice how they careers enforcing the law or making arrests never come up? But all Lynch and his cohort Plemons seem to be able to do is contradict themselves and ignore administrative law.

    I guess hostige negotiation school did pay off for something. Hostige negotiation is all about telling people what they want to hear without giving those people what they want. Or in plain terms, lying to them. The trouble with lying to people over an extended time, is that those lies start to contradict one another. Kind of like the stories being told by Plemons and Lynch currently.

    The price we pay, is the contined mistaken release of criminals back on our streets. And these criminals continue to reoffend, usually violently. Thankfully, we have the US Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force to rely on to recapture these criminals since the current Sheriff administration immediately washes their hands of their mistakes and has even mistakenly blamed the mistake on the very people that put their lives on the line cleaning up the Sheriff's mess.

    It's time for a change and put Parnell McNamara in office. He's a true lawman with the record to match his tough nosed Sheriff look. He's proven administrator serving 15 years as Deputy in Charge of the Waco District. During that time he earned an award for Superior Sustained Service in the execution of his duty, probably since there were no administrative snafus that mistakenly released dangerous federal criminals in his custody. He did however continue to hunt down and capture many others.

  3. alot of voters are wanting to know when the tactics of repeatedly confronting Sheriffs office employees by ranking officers about "who they are supporting?" and "if they are not speaking out against Parnell McNamara then they are labeled as traitors" is going to come back to bite them? I believe it is a constitutional right to support who you want or keep it to yourself since it is private business other wise we could go in as groups in the polls. There have been more than enough people who are anxiety driven concerning this election and they have good reason. But lets not forget what these people are charged with doing for a living. It is very irresposible to have officers on the street with a gun and badge, possibly defending you or themselves,,,yet all they can think about is what their supervisor may do to them because they refuse to be led by the nose to the polls. Sounds like the house is quite divided and the kings are nervous. Maybe they should have acknowledged their people a little more for what they have done serving this county,,,rather than making them feel "beholding" to the throne for "letting them be employed". Then they may be a little more confident that THEIR OFFICERS WOULD BE BACKING THEM. You see people, their is power in the vote after all for some.

  4. Jack Harwell is rolling over in his grave right about now. Jack had enough confidence in himself and in his employees that he didn't pressure deputies to vote for him. In fact, he would keep deputies on whom he knew voted against him.
    Jack had qualified, competent people running the Sheriffs office, and that's all he was concerned about.
    Let's bring back the era of the REAL cops like Harwell, Captain Dan, and Captain Truman Simons. Vote McNamara!

  5. I've been hearing stories of Sheriff officers pressuring deputies for months to support Plemons. In addition, I've heard from business owners that have stated that uniformed deputies have come in an put pressure on them to support Plemons. I think these officers are a disgrace, and that Plemons and Lynch are disgraces to their uniforms, they wear for appearances, and their badges for using their authority like this.

    I bet Sheriff Harwell is rolling over in his grave that he did keep Lynch and Plemons all those years ago. I know the last real Sheriff Officers from the department, Capatin Dan and Simmons spoke out against Lynch and Plemons. We should have listened to them. Vote McNamara!!

  6. I heard that not only have the current Sheriff administration been pressing people about publicly not supporting McNamara, but that they are being pressed into service by the Plemons campaign, often doing his campaign work during the work hours. I made a call up to the department when I found one of Plemons signs illegally put on my property to Plemons' office. My call was answered by their receptionist. As soon as I mentioned signs, she was more the helpful to take down my information to have a Plemons sign placed. Not only that, she made an effort to check with the Sheriff to see if they had signs available. It seemed that the whole administration office of the Sheriff's Office was busy running Plemons campaign on county time. I checked the election code, and this is highly illegal, with the offense even havign felony levels depending on the amount of official misuse of resources, just like that crook Buddy Skeen.

    Our Sheriff Office right now, sounds more like the KGB or the Nazi SS with how they are running the lives of their employees. It's like Lynch and Plemons have their own personal army paid by the county.

    I've also heard that Plemons and Lynch have been promising jobs left and right for votes. I've heard that have gain support by promising jobs to should be unemployable people, like the one that Mr. Gates posted on the Race for McLennan County Sheriff FB page that retired deputy Joe Lindsey approved regardless of his 3 previous arrests.

  7. Larry Lynch bashing Parnell on the radio this morning. Larry's such a class act after having been fined by the Ethics Committee 3 times, and demanding his employees vote and openly support his crony Plemons. Smells like desperation to me.

    I've heard that too about Plemons promising jobs for support. I hope they remember their history, only a very select few got what Lynch promised when he did the same thing 12 years ago. I know that a good part of the "disgruntled" workers that are supporting McNamara. I know I was promised a leg up that turned out to be a leg up and out the door. I can't help but ponder on all the backroom deals they've made this time.

    Of course most of the actual Law Enforcement community is squarely behind McNamara so I doubt Plemons will even have a chance to go back on his promises. I understand that Waco PD is firmly behind McNamara along with state wide CLEAT. I even saw that one of the two Sheriff Deputy organizations is backing Parnell, and that the one supposedly that is backing Plemons has been losing members left and right. Only Hewitt PD's Association with it's 5 members voting backed Plemons. Of course, those 5 members are all getting a paycheck from Plemons, or is it Wash, or Lynch, or whoever is taking credit for the budget this week. Way to sellout Hewitt PD.

  8. Lynch and Plemons have always given promotions and jobs to the weasels who do their dirty work for them. Anyone that is a sergeant or higher, you can rest assured that they kissed a lot of butt to get their rank. That is why there aren't any qualified people in leadership at the Sheriff's office. Harwell's administration had promotional exams and interview boards set up for promotions. Lynch and Plemons dissolved all of that.
    Most of the "deputies" in high ranking positions couldn't get on at any other law enforcement agency, that's why they are Plemons puppets.
    When Lynch retires, and Plemons is out of a job; I imagine somebody is going to go after them, and whip their butts. That is if they can catch them. Lynch and Plemons have been running and hiding for years. They're good at it.

  9. Plemons has been breaking the law by running his campaign on county time, and with county money. Lynch did the exact same thing. Both of them are poster boys for unethical, corrupt politics.
    That is exactly what they are; Politicians. They have never been law enforcement officers.

    There is a reason the major law enforcement agencies, such as Waco PD and CLEAT are backing McNamara. He is obviously the only real choice for the Republican nomination for Sheriff of this county. They know that they will be able to work with him in a professional manner, and that he will get things done.

  10. @ Anonymous May 8, 2012 10:14 AM
    The hiring screw up referenced in your comment was not that the person had an arrest record. No inquiry was made about the criminal history of the employee. The issue was that Sgt. Lindsey was responsible for a background investigation and RANDY PLEMONS hired a woman who had three outstanding arrest warrants prior to being employed and while employed by the Sheriffs' Office. I have seen no records to support there was any consequence for the incompetence of Sgt. Lindsey. Remember that more recently, another supervisor promoted by Randy Plemons was arrested for DWI. I believe staffing would fall under an administrative responsibility.

  11. @ R.S. Gates May 8, 2012 4:39 PM
    Sgt. Lindsey was rewarded if I'm not mistaken. His commmissioner is one of the few reserve deputy commissions Lynch still carries. He was also rewarded with traveling and vacationing with Lynch, although some might consider that a punishment in its own right.

    It does make a person wonder about what deputies and jailers they are hiring without a proper background check. I heard a rumor that there is person that currently is in the process of being hired who has a drug history, but he is being hired for an endorsement for Plemons. It seems that Plemons is good at spending county resources to get endorsements. Hewitt PD is on the payroll. Kultgen he buys vehicles from. Lindsey, Kolenik, Wash all promoted for their service to Plemons and/or Lynch not the department. I see why real associations like Waco PD and CLEAT not on Plemons' payroll overwhelming support McNamara. Plemons only has 1 out of 2 Sheriff Associations, and they had to rig the vote on the one they got.

    I also keep hearing about county employees running Plemons campaign during county hours from the Sheriff's Office. I looked that up, and that is the same criminal offense that Buddy Skeen is now facing, Misuse of Official Resources. A crime that can reach 1st degree felony charges. Get the criminals out of law enforcement!!

  12. I saw the Plemons TV ad last night. How does he get away with outright lying. I've known Parnell McNamara all my life. I've also checked court records. Parnell McNamara has never had to go to court over his taxes. There has never been any judgement against him. Plemons has had a judgement and should have had his house foreclosed on for violating that judgement. And Ethics violations??? Plemons runs his campaign from his county office using county employees. That's not a violation, that's a criminal offense and a felony.

  13. Once the election is over. I imagine Ramdy will have charges filed against him. It's just a matter of time.

  14. Charges of what nature? - The Legendary

  15. If Plemons is really using that much manpower in government resources to conduct his personal political campaign, he needs to busted for it. That is the only way to stop this nonsense in McLennan County.

    Another area that needs to be scrutinized is the use of the proceeds from the inmate commissary accounts and phone accounts and especially how the contracts were negotiated for these services from private vendors. Someone should ask for all of the communications between the vendors and the Sheriff's Department.

    But the really big fish would be to get the communications between CEC, the Sheriff's Department and members of the Commissioner's Court prior to the contract on the new jail in 2008. They were all being golfed and barbequed during that time and these dummies don't even know there is anything amiss in things like that!???

    That CLEAT official got it right when he called it "go along to get along" in the Trib today.

  16. Slander, Misuse of public resources, Misuse of a public office, misrepresentation, falsification of official reports. I even hear that the FBI, you know the same FBI who's academy Plemons is claiming to have graduated from in his campaign ads, is investigating him. I'm told by some of his own people that he's got enough to make Buddy Skeen look like a boyscout.

  17. Hey, Anonymous, get a load of this. The truth is, after several decades of doing this kind of work, I have learned I get about the same deal out of all the badge-toting lawmen, administrators, investigators, turnkeys and other assorted officers. "With policemen, I'm suspicious. You see, I'm the way I look; I'm just another character to fingerprint and book..." - Leon Russell, "Magic Mirror"

    Sheriff's races? That's for the people who matter. Scribblers like me? Nah, it doesn't make much difference to folks like me. I'm gonna get about the same deal out of all of them. No help for the widow's son, and words to that effect. I am an outlaw, one without the protection of the law, you see. I was long ago placed "out-law," as it were.

    - The Legendary

  18. I understand what you're saying, Legendary. After all, This is "good ole boy" "it's who you know" not WHAT you know McLennan County. I've been in Waco my entire life.

    However, some are worse than others. Plemons and Lynch are definitely the scum at the bottom of the barrel. It doesn't get any worse than that!
    McNamara is definitely the much better choice. He has experience and knowledge that goes beyond the small-mindedness of local folks. Parnell has been exposed to crime throughout the United States. He sees the BIG picture.

  19. You are a great source and have found your reads both informative and inspirational @ times. I get ya and feel we probably think the same thing about the world of "politics" in general. Wont waste your time anymore concerning this matter,,,just wanted you to know that the public appreciates you and we are not all sheep,,,,we can see through the smoke and analytically disect things. ive found that not only aking myself "what" someone is saying but also asking "why" helps me understand the true message. Keep going buddy, its about time citizens in the county were stirred from their mental slumber.

  20. I've known Plemons for decades. He is no friend of the widow's son, he's a cowan and a libertine.

  21. Let's take a look at the facts in the Salas case. The man was released on parole for an identical offense - racing on a public roadway in excess of 100 mph. Another motorist was severely injured - both of which circumstances constitute an enhancement to what would ordinarily be a misdemeanor offense. He served 20 months in the pen and was released on conditions. The first of these conditions was that he commit no further offense.

    When the Robinson officer stopped him, he was racing on a public roadway in excess of 120 mph!

    You might say the old boy has a short attention span, but that would be a matter of conjecture, thus inappropriate in these evenly balanced columns of "The Legendary."

    Shall we say he misapprehended the true nature of his condition of freedom? Onwards.

    Judge Kristi DeCluitt now says she set his bond at $10,000 for the offense because she was congnizant of his prior conviction.


    Because, she told The Legendary R.S. Gates, she had the opinion that no one would go a bail bond that high.


    He was released later than day. When the Texas Department of Corrections issued a "Blue Warrant" for his return to their custody in the penal colony, he was remanded by elements of the Robinson P.D.

    Why, then, was his bail set in the first place? If one is cognizant of a previous conviction for a felony offense for which one has been released on parole, it would stand to any reason imaginable that the offender should be held for the authorities. In fact, The People have the option of custodial detention for a maximum of 48 hours, in any case.

    But the truth is, there is no need for charges because the The People will seek to proceed to original sentencing on the previous conviction.

    Is this discrepancy, this SNAFU due to a deficiency in the availability of information?

    Could be.

    No one here is saying that is the reason, but it could be. Just saying, that's all.

    - The Legendary

  22. What Plemons stated in his tv commercial is a bold faced LIE. That tacky, and mudslinging commercial yet again shows Plemons true character. Obviously, he is very desperate. I'm actually embarrased for him. I can't help but think about his kids, and of what kind of an example he is setting for them.
    I can't believe he is actually stupid enough to make fun of someone, and slander someone with complete lies for everyone to see.
    He obviously didn't consult with the county attorney, David Dixon, before he paid to put such trash on TV.
    Randy has already had a judgment against him for not paying his bills. Lynch has been fined three times on ethics violations. I imagine there will be a libel suit against Plemons. Wonder how he's going to try to slither his way out of that one?

  23. I don't usually comment on these things, but due to the negative campaign by Randy and Larry, I feel I must. First I am appalled at the level of childlike pettiness and outright lies exhibited and propagated by the Plemons campaign. I've known both candidates for a number of decades. In that time I've gotten to know both men quite well. I will impart this advise to Parnell McNamara, although knowing his character I doubt it warranted.

    Parnell, do not lower yourself to Plemons level, he will beat you with his experience there. And knowing both men as I do, I can promise everyone that when it comes to being pity and childish, it is the only area where Plemons' experience surpasses McNamara, and being childish and pity should have nothing to do with law enforcement or administration.