Friday, July 12, 2013

Vague request leads to semantic difficulty – legal SNAFU

BULLETIN: In an e-mail to County Attorney Natalie Koehler, R.S. Gates presses his demand, accused Bosque County Sheriff of official misconduct:

Texas Open Records Act
R.S. Gates

Section 552.201(b)  Each elected county officer is the officer for public information and the custodian, as defined by Section 201.003, Local Government Code, of the information created or received by that county officer's office.

'I believe this section protects people from government officials who desire to “throw it over the transom” for someone else to deal with. Because Sheriff Malott is the elected official I filed the request with, he has the liability for failing to comply with the request.  While there is a provision in the Act for the Sheriff to delegate the responsibilities of complying with the ACT, I believe a close examination of the statute provides no delegation of liability for failure to comply with the Act.

'I hope the Sheriff will give that some consideration. Is there some impairment the Sheriff is suffering that renders him incapable of fulfilling the statutory requirements of his office?'
R.S. Gates

A dispatch from the trenches of the info wars

Meridian – The recent death of a Bosque County inmate who was in custody at the time of her demise – reportedly a case of suicide by hanging – is an excellent example of the present controversy regarding the creation of a two-tiered system of classification of journalists.

As of Thursday, July 11, Bosque County is seeking the subject matter expertise of a hired gun in the protracted hassle over release of public information in the jail house death of April Troyn.

After consultation with the Texas Association of Counties, County Attorney Natalie Koehler retained David Iglesias, an associate of a Tyler law firm, to obtain an Attorney General's opinion.

The Legendary obtained all that information – in writing – during the course of a 3-month wait-and-see process that began easily enough by a simple request to Justice Court No. 2, the Hon. James Zander. Judge Zander released the affidavit of probable cause, the arrest warrant and return of service of the warrant, as a matter of routine – in a timely fashion.

Inquiries to the Clifton Police Department Chief Steve Adcock and the Sheriff, Anthony Mallot, met with stonewall resistance.

Chief Adcock said, “We haven't done that yet.” He said he had earlier released “something the attorney says I wasn't supposed to release,” and would henceforth refer all such requests to the City's attorney for a 10-day review process.

“I think those people at the Sheriff's Department may have screwed up,” he added.

The matter is under investigation.

Bosque County requested the assistance of Texas Ranger Jim Hatfield. So none of what the laws governing public information call “work product” are available. Such items include autopsy reports, ballistics and chemical analyses, witness statements and an officer's supplemental reports and impressions of evidence thus gleaned.

The law says that the bare bones information contained in first page offense and arrest reports, police blotter information, and records of inmates booked into county jails, criminal charges, bond information, and release, are public information. Not much else is available.

According to a an Attorney General's Opinion, No. 664 issued by then-AG John Cornyn, all such records are not only public, they should be released promptly, without the need for a 10-day review by the AG's office.

The Legendary obtained those records once that had been established, but only many days after other media received it in a timely manner.

Booking information requested from the Sheriff's Department was similarly obtained, once the type of information requested had been defined.

In the written request, The Legendary asked for police blotter information, records of booking, charging, bond, and release.

Once the County Attorney understood, she ordered the custodian of records at the Sheriff's Department to release the information.

A vague request from R.S. Gates specifies no particular type of public information, but merely asks for “public information relating to the May 2 detention of April Troyn.

Though the attorney agreed to make the information available, Gates did not pick it up. He asked for it to be sent to him by e-mail. He has received no information.

On Monday, July 8, he alleged that Bosque County Sheriff Anthony Mallot and Clifton Police Department Chief Steve Adcock have withheld public information, a Class B misdemeanor for which he intends to level criminal charges. Contacted today for comment, he said he has not yet done so.

The Legendary obtained the information on Monday, July 8, after paying a dollar a page for the two-page report with a money order that cost an additional $0.65.

Other, more established representatives of media outlets received the same information on May 4 through telephone calls.

Similarly, when the 220th Judicial District Attorney B.J. Shepherd released the finding of a medical examiner to Waco news outlets, his staff refused to release the same information to The Legendary. According to the judge the autopsy, Precinct 1 Justice Court, The Hon. Ray Ballman, that matter is under investigation by Ranger Hatfield. He has made no such release. The finding of the autopsy surgeon is that Ms. Troyn's death is consistent with that on a suicide by hanging.

C'est la guerre.

- The Legendary


  1. This comment came on 6/6/13 in response to the first story I did about this. It had been mislaid automatically in a spam file. I reprint it here because one of Ms. Troyn's sisters told me her family noticed extensive bruising and marking of her body when they prepared her for burial. - The Legendary

    "Her forehead had bruises all over that she did not have in her mug shot. Both arms had bruises in the shape of hand print. Her neck had no bruises.except two hickies. That you can see in her mug shot. I'm sorry but if someone hangs there would be some kind of marks. Did anyone see the rest of her body? Looks like she had been restrained and beaten to death. Also why didn't they take her to the hospital to at least try to save the baby? Looks like who ever wanted her dead also wanted that baby dead too. DNA test that baby and everyone that works in that city PD and sheriff office and jail. on Mystery of child endangerment case, mother's death"

  2. It really makes the Chef and sheriff really look like the are hiding something. The big question is WHY? ans WHY? If April Troyn died a death like the jail is stating why try to seal everything? The Texas Ranger was not the one who sealed the records of the arrest, warrant, autopsy, or anything else. It was the police department and JP 1 Ray Bailman. who is also dening the Family to even view the autopsy. Is also refusing to give to family an order to exhume the body. WHAT is it they are trying to keep the family from knowing? the body starts to decompose no sooner then 90 days. is that why he wont give an order? stalling to hopes the family wont find out what happened. news flash that family is not giving up!

  3. The Family of April TroynJuly 14, 2013 at 6:40 AM

    Id like thank the Legendary for there concerns regarding April Troyn. you will forever be in hearts.

  4. Bell county just needs someone Gates and company are buddies with to become sheriff and they'll back off... look what it did for mclennan

  5. Oh, well, all righty, then. Let's talk about you, sweetheart. What do you need? Huh? - The Legendary