A Henderson County grand jury has returned three criminal indictments against Henderson County Pct. 1 County Commissioner Joe Hall, the District Attorney’s office confirmed Monday.

The 54-year-old commissioner is charged with two cases of perjury and one case of “Abuse of Official Capacity.”

Henderson County Sheriff’s Assistant Chief Deputy Tony Allison said Hall turned himself in about 1 p.m. when he came to his office voluntarily upon learning of the indictments.

The “Abuse of Official Capacity” is a state jail felony, punishable from six months to two years upon conviction.

State jail sentences are served in Texas Department of Corrections facilities. The time served could range from 180 days to two years.

The two perjury charges, both Class A misdemeanors, are punishable by up to one year in county jail and a $4,000 fine.

Hall was taken through the normal process for public officials accused of a crime, Allison said.

“He called and made arrangements to come by my office, and we processed him the way we do anyone else,” Allison said. “He was finger-printed and photographed, given a numbered sign and the usual paper work to fill out.”

The Abuse of Official Capacity indictment means Hall is accused “with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally and knowingly misuse government personnel, to-wit: county employees, which had come into the defendant’s custody or possession by virtue of the defendant’s office as a public servant, namely County Commissioner, Precinct 1, by using said employees to prepare the parking lot of Antioch Baptist Church ... .”

The charges are made for Oct. 6-8, 2005.

On Nov. 15, 2005, Hall is accused of “intentional trying to defraud another by intentionally and knowingly misusing government personnel, to wit: County employees, which had come into the defendants custody or possession by virtue of the defendant’s office as a public servant ....”

The aggregate amount of pecuniary loss was $1,500 or more, but less than $20,000, the indictment said.

Hall is accused of making a false statement under oath, namely, “indicating he worked Antioch Baptist Church, such sworn statement being then and there authorized by law to be made under oath, while the said defendant was then and there under oath, such statement being false in that the actual time spent on the said parking lot was three days.”

The other perjury charge, which also comes from Feb. 8 testimony of this year, accuses Hall of making a false statement under oath, again indicating he worked on Antioch Baptist Church.

While under oath he is said to have made a statement indicating he worked Antioch Baptist Church, “in that the actual time spent on the parking lot was two days.”

The Athens Review was unable to reach Hall for comment Monday afternoon or evening.

Fellow commissioners, Wade McKinney in Pct. 2, Ronny Lawrence in Pct. 3 and Jerry West in Pct. 4, all said they did not want to make any comment at this time concerning the indictments.

“The judicial code of ethics requires that I say nothing about this matter because I’m a judge,” said County Judge David Holstein.

County Attorney James Owen did not return calls prior to press time Monday.

District Attorney Donna Bennett, who sent Texas Ranger Trace McDonald’s investigation to the grand jury, could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

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