Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

December 13, 2013

Inmate dispute

Attorneys collaborate on a letter to county officials

Athens — A number of local attorneys have collaborated on a letter to County Judge Richard Sanders and the Henderson County Commissioners concerning a decision to retain counsel in a dispute between a district court judge and the Sheriff’s Office.

Commissioners Court voted in November to retain the firm of Flowers and Davis to represent the sheriff’s office in regards to an order issued by the 392nd judge Carter Tarrance. Following the meeting, County Attorney Clint Davis issued a statement that said:

“We believe that Judge Tarrance has issued orders pertaining to additional accommodations for a particular inmate in the Henderson County Jail, and that those orders are outside the scope of the proceedings before his court, and outside his authority as a district judge. Jail accommodations are overseen by the sheriff of the county, and should remain under the exclusive control of the sheriff. We have retained legal counsel to look into, and take any actions necessary to preserve the autonomy and interests of the sheriff’s office, as well as the county’s interests.” 

The response letter, signed by 20 attorneys stated the “accommodations” referred to by the Commissioner’s statement pertained to a diabetic inmate who was experiencing severe fluctuations in his blood sugar levels, and Tarrance’s order was to ensure that the inmate receive proper care. 

The letter states that the United States Supreme Court determined in 1976 that “deliberate and wanton infliction of pain” constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

According to the letter, the Supreme Court allows individuals who can prove such medical indifference have a cause of action against the county that fails to provide adequate medical care. If those allegations of neglect are proven true, the taxpayers of the county would bear the burden of a funding judgment against the county.

In the letter, the attorneys encourage the Commissioners Court to discuss the matter with the judges of the county and the sheriff’s office to see that basic health care is being provided to the inmates.

“We do not see how hiring a law firm to attempt to thwart a judge who is trying to ensure that an inmate is receiving basic, life-saving, medical care is in the best interest of anyone. We hope all parties can work together to resolve this matter in an amicable fashion.”

Davis said Thursday, that because his office is called upon to present cases in Tarrance’s 392nd District Court, as well as advise the county in legal matters, he would step back from the dispute. Davis said Sheriff Ray Nutt has seen the letter, and forwarded it to Tyler Attorney Robert Davis for representation.

Robert Davis was unavailable for comment on Thursday afternoon.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Knife-wielding man arrested

    The Athens Police Department arrested a 34-year-old man who allegedly entered an apartment early Saturday and injured another man using a pocket knife.

    July 22, 2014

  • fair Henderson County Rural Resource Fair

    When you find yourself in need of help, it's important to know where to go. The need to know is what drew a crowd to the Trinidad ISD cafeteria Monday morning.
    Approximately 30 non-profit vendors were on hand for the first Rural Resource Fair. The vendors were there to provide information to the public about available resources in Henderson County.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mission Minded

    Eight ladies are in Garland to teach the word of Christ to the area’s Arabic-speaking population.
    Makaye Key of Eustace is part of a group of ladies known as the G.M.A.’s or Girls Missionary Auxilary.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former Pct. 5 JP dies

    Judy Newman, who served as Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace for parts of three decades, died Thursday at age 75.

    July 21, 2014

  • ADR logo.tif City of Tool re-zones property for new Dollar General Store

    After an hour-long  public hearing, the Tool City Council voted to re-zone property located at 1301 S. Tool Dr. (Highway 274) from residential to commercial.  This re-zoning was a required condition for a proposed Dollar General Store.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0122.JPG Broken water main

    City of Athens crewmembers worked in falling rain to fix a broken 8-inch cast-iron water main near the intersection of Barker Street and Faulk Street in Athens Thursday.  Workers believed the reason for the break was the age of the water main. Shown are workers Jonathan Davila, Eric Davis and Marion Klutts.  Also present was Dean Burkhalter.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Mover convicted for stealing goods

    A family’s nightmare finally came to an end on June 25 when John Junior Smith, formerly of Tyler, was sentenced to eight years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for his role in defrauding a family who had hired him to move them. 
    Assistant District Attorney Justin Weiner prosecuted the case.  Smith was sentenced in the 173rd Judicial District Court with Judge Dan Moore presiding.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 back to school bash.jpeg Back to School Bash needs donations to help children

    For the second year Leslie Ward has been organizing the Back to School Bash at Cedar Creek Lake. Her goal this year is to provide free hair cuts, immunizations, bibles, backpacks, school supplies and  bags of food to 700 local children.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 CCL ribbon cutting.jpg CCLACC new member

    The Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Friday for new member LaQuinta Inns & Suites in Gun Barrel City. Friends, family and chamber members help Nadina and Reema Patel cut the ribbon. The hotel is owned by Jay Patel and Vimal Patel. Sarah Turner is the general manager of the hotel.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-19 CCL rotary.jpg Speaker at Rotary Club of CCL

    Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake President Erin Osborn (right) welcomed Pastor Nancy Schoenle as speaker to the Friday Rotary Club meeting. Pastor Nancy is the Director at The Genesis Center. The center is a faith based shelter for women. Genesis provides safety and shelter for victims of domestic violence.  The Center serves Kaufman and Henderson County.  Amanda Michael (center) has lived at the shelter for 10 months. For information The Genesis Center call Pastor Nancy at 972-932-4351.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo