Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Waller County Texas DA Elton Mathis Files Lawsuit against Second Amendment Activist for Filing Complaint

Waller County DA Elton Mathis

A month ago, on 6 July, 2016, Waller County Texas officials raised many eyebrows by using the power of the County to sue an individual citizen. The citizen, Terry Holcomb Sr., threatened to report  Waller County to the Texas Attorney General, as is required by the procedure set up by the Texas Legislature last session.  

It is easy to see why the Waller County DA went after the individual citizen.  He does not have deep pockets to defend with, and he does not have the institutional defenses of the Texas AG.  

The individual being sued is a Second Amendment activist that is working to have local Texas governments follow the law passed by the Texas legislature last year.  The law limits where local governments can ban the carry of firearms by people with carry licenses.  From
Eleven months ago, he and Texas Carry members sent letters to 76 county governments threatening to get the Texas attorney general on their case for banning open carry in offices allowed by law.

Some changed.

Waller County district attorney hit back.

He claims the law’s courthouse gun ban covers his entire building, which includes several other offices considered fair game by open-carry activists, and this December opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

So, Waller County sued.

Off camera, the district attorney says it’s not about money.

It’s a plea for a judge to decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

He calls Holcomb’s claims “a bunch of dribble.”
It probably is not about money.  The threatened judgement only uses money as a tool to suppress the activism that Elton Mathis and other Waller County officials dislike.  The Waller County DA says the monetary damages were included as "boilerplate language".  From
It's a controversial issue, with strong feelings on both sides. That's OK; in a democracy that will happen. What's not OK is Waller County officials suing Holcomb to reinforce their belief that they have the right to ban guns from the entire courthouse building. The lawsuit seeks $100,000 in damages from Holcomb, but the Waller County DA says that was merely included as boilerplate language.
Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Friday that Holcomb misunderstands the county's intentions. Mathis said he's simply seeking a ruling by a state judge that the county had the legal right to ban guns from the entire courthouse building.

The county's suit seeks up to $100,000 in damages from Holcomb but Mathis said that was included as boilerplate language and he promised that the county would not pursue any monetary damages.
Here are the parts of the lawsuit asking for damages:
Link to lawsuit(pdf):
2.01  Waller County seeks Declaratory Judgment and damages of less than $100,000.
At the end of the lawsuit, court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees are asked for at 11.01 D.

If it were simply an oversight, when there was no intention for monetary damages, then Elton Mathis did not do his job when he approved the lawsuit. Perhaps. But maybe Elton Mathis is only trying to do damage control now that his heavy handed tactics are being exposed. 

I am not at all certain that the extensive immunity granted to prosecutors by the courts extends to filing lawsuits against private citizens.

A counter lawsuit has been filed. Texas Law Shield does not cover this sort of unprecedented lawsuit. However a Texas Law Shield independent attorney, Edwin Walker, has taken up the defense against the suit.  Here is a quote from Walker posted at Texas Law Shield:
“This lawsuit is an unconscionable act that is nothing more than government officials using the judicial system to harass and silence the people. If the courts, the attorney general, and ultimately perhaps the Texas Legislature, does not stop Waller County, it will be open season for local governments to intimidate LTC holders.”

Walker is working to get the case dismissed, make Waller County take down its sign, and even sanction the assistant district attorneys involved for this tactic. Are you glad to have attorneys like Edwin on your side?
Using government resources to sue citizens that complain about government actions, who threaten to use legal mechanisms to report government officials for oversight by higher level authorities, is a novel development indeed.

Waller County is the County that was involved in the Sandra Bland case. A pastor involved in that case accused Elton Mathis of sending him threatening and belligerent text messages. 

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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Anonymous said...

This article points out the way the elite twist the law to gain the advantage to impose their will. they enforce the law the way they want it to read rather than the way the law is written. It is basically the same way any criminal applies the laws. how could any one pass a law that would control them and their actions so they simply ad the words the like better. the problem with that is only the words actually written are enforceable for every body. No one not even judges get to add words or define words or change words in a written law. If the words are not physically written in the law they do not exist and can not even be considered. This is the major problem in our legal system all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judges demand they have the power to interpret the law and in fact they have never had that authority. It would open some eyes if Arizonans actually would read the Arizona speed limit law. If you find one let me know because to my knowledge Arizona has never had a speed limit law. we do have a reckless endangerment law. In Arizona a driver is required to proceed in a forward motion that is safe for Road weather and traffic conditions. If there were a speed limit law it would have to spell out what every instance requires. If there is a minimum speed limit every one on the freeway at shift change caught in a traffic jam would get a ticket. If there were a maximum every patrol car operator would loose their license. the police are not permitted to ignore the road, weather and traffic conditions any more than we are. One exception is school zones are set at 15 miles per hour. I have been in a patrol car that went through a school zone at 70 miles per hour and 98 miles per hour on the freeway. I was not given the benefit of a seat belt. the driver was smoking a cigarette and driving with one hand and without his flashers on. arrest time was, in my home on a bogus warrant, was 10:44 PM. booking in the jail was at 11:30 PM. that is the official report times. a total of 46 minutes to drive 62 miles. The posted speeds were 15,35,45,55 and 70 MPH. Only 8 miles were on the freeway 35 was posted in the three towns we passed through, 50 miles were posted 55 mph. Now is that reckless driving or not? I was let out of jail the next day and allowed to walk home. but no before the investigating detective had threatened to arrest me on any made up charge if I came back to that town for any reason or tried to cause that department any trouble over the false arrest. He said "I'll keep you in jail on made up charges until you forget why you are there". I'm sure glad we have such up standing sheriffs deputies in this county. when I confronted the sheriff himself He admitted. "I know my deputies broke the law but nothing is going to be done about it. What do you think the penalty should be for facilitating a criminal kidnapping? I had completely legal 100% total custody of my daughter, with no contact to the mother for good cause. eight deputies after reading my custody order arrested me gave my daughter to her mother kept me in jail until the ex was out of state. Her new husband carried a badge.

Anonymous said...

A good case for impeachment, he would loose his license to practice law. Impeachment is what should happen to many of these trashy politicians. Our legal system is supposed to be based on Christian doctrine. Read Numbers and Judges for some insight In the KJV.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you buy into this notion that State Preemption is a good idea. In fact, state preemption itself is a pathetic disguise for gun control and a clear infringement disallowed by the Second - alongside a even clearer violation of the 14th as abridgment here is obvious. And that is applied to the First and Second Amendment rights in this example!

There is one place that that government can curtail the right to carry.....
PRISON...and even then only as a form of punishment assigned in response to a crime.

Had we adhered to that standard decided looooong ago, we would not be in this position now. Maybe we ought try doing the right thing for a change, eh?

Anonymous said...

People really need to read the tenth amendment until they completely understand what it says. It clearly means states have no right to infringe on the second amendment because the second amendment is in the federal constitution. the tenth amendment clearly reinforces the other nine amendments in the bill of rights. the tenth amendment defines the separation of powers. the states are clearly required to enforce the second amendment as written in the federal constitution. any law or act passed by the state or the federal government is not a ratified amendment and can not change what the second amendment requires. neither the state nor the federal government has any authority to pass laws or acts that infringe on a guaranteed right as long as the second and the tenth amendment exist in current form.