On August 12, 2014, I signed an agreed judgment settling my case with the state bar. I have mixed feelings about accepting a reprimand, but overall I am satisfied with the result. The original petition filed by the bar mirrored the allegations made against me by Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. of Waco, Texas and Judge Ellen S. Huvelle of Washington, D.C. After I produced evidence that the allegations were false, and that both judges had conflicts of interest, the bar dropped all of the charges related to Huvelle's accusations and all but one of the charges related to Smith's accusations.
The one remaining count alleged that I had “multiplied proceedings” in violation of Rule 3.02 by re-filing the racketeering case in Houston after first filing it in Waco. You will recall that I re-filed in Houston after learning from Judge Stem's brother that Judge Stem was a personal friend of the judge in Waco, i.e., Judge Smith. I stand by that decision, and I did not admit any wrongdoing in my settlement agreement with the state bar. I wish I had done one thing differently: formally dismiss the Waco case before re-filing in Houston. I never served the Waco version of the lawsuit on the defendants, only the Houston version. And in the Houston version, I specifically wrote that my clients were abandoning the Waco case and pursuing their claims in Houston. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Waco lawsuit would have automatically expired for lack of service.
Rather than answer in Houston, however, the shysters at “TheTexasFirm.com” answered and filed a counter-claim in Waco in order to keep the case in front of Judge Smith. I argued to the state bar that the Waco shysters were responsible for “multiplying proceedings” – not me – because the Waco shysters deliberately answered in Waco after being served with the Houston lawsuit, which means they already knew that my clients were abandoning the Waco case to pursue their claims in Houston.
Judge Kent Sims, a retired state district judge, presided over a mediation between the state bar and me on March 25, 2014, and he told me afterwards that he tried to convince the bar to dismiss the entire case. According to Judge Sims, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline (the entity that oversees the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel) did not give Mr. Jones that latitude. Mr. Jones told me directly that he had traveled to Austin prior to the mediation in order to meet with the commission, and that he had never done that before. I don't think he asked them to dismiss the case outright, because he told me in advance he was not going to ask for that. But he said he did tell the commission that if they had listed to me back in 2009 – when I first filed the grievance against Rusty and Jimmie – the case against me probably would have never arisen.
Living to fight another day
I don't think the commission would have dismissed the case under any circumstances, because I had previously sent some blistering letters to the state bar about its tendency to protect politically-connected lawyers. Consider, for example, the letter that I sent to the commission about my own case. If necessary, I was fully prepared to put the state bar on trial for selective prosecution. That's why I put so much time into the 2013 grievance against Rusty Russ: I was making the case that politically-connected lawyers like Rusty were protected by the bar, whereas uppity little peons like me were prosecuted for technicalities. I had plenty of examples beyond the ones mentioned in my letter to the commission, and because of a quirk in Texas law, I could make my selective prosecution argument to the jury rather than the judge.
Then again, I was flat broke and I had other fires to fight. If I had to get reprimanded in order to bring the Booger County Mafia to justice, that was a price worth paying. Incidentally, the state bar's investigators are now gathering records about Rusty and Jimmie. Maybe the tide has turned after all.
P.S. A special message for Rusty and Jimmie: It's time to man up. When the state bar files charges against you, you will have the option of demanding a public jury trial, like I did, or a private hearing in front of a grievance committee, like Paschall did. It's time to quit scurrying around in the shadows like a couple of rats. You should make your case in public before twelve of your fellow citizens.