by Gregory Montelaro on 24/03/12 at 9:26 am
Our upcoming three part investigative series exposes the secret justice that the Harris County District Attorney’s office makes available to those in the know – for a price. We’ll be exploring a machine of corruption driven by a staff that is all but untouchable.
Part one of the series, “Secret Justice”, picks up with the fabricated records that populate the Harris County public records. Over the last three years, Empac Texas met with two separate staff members from document imaging; those Harris County employees with the responsibility of imaging the criminal and civil court records which in effect comprise the public record. In candid conversations, Empac Texas was educated in how court records are changed and altered on a routine basis by clerks and court staff.
The ease with which staff members related these actions was disturbing, seemingly unaware of the seriousness of the felonies committed. However, they did not act alone. In fact, these staff members don’t even have a dog in this fight – they act under instructions by others who do. Letters and documents obtained from the DA’s office leave little question that Harris County ADA’s and defense counsel are criminally tampering with court documents; officers of the court committing fraud on the court.
In the following example, you can clearly see where a probable cause affidavit has been scotch-taped to a complaint and the signatures then scotch-taped to the bottom before being imaged. This is a well practiced and disturbing behavior.
This tampering extends to criminal history data stored in the State’s Criminal Justice Information System (“CJIS”) and the FBI’s NCIC systems, affecting the administration of the federal system of justice. Empac Texas obtained a statement from the General Counsel’s Office for the District Attorney who, while acknowledging the tampering, did not feel that “there was anything criminal to investigate in regards to any additions/changes to the state of the record[s].”
Part two of “Secret Justice” will make you think twice about court-appointed attorneys. Empac Texas has uncovered three local attorneys who have collected over $5 million in fees from court appointments over the last ten years, most of them from the same four courts. That’s over 10,000 court-appointed cases. Sounds impossible, and it is. We did the math. When you add up all the cases and all the other court appointments, there just are not that many cases to go around. There are literally more court appointed cases then there were cases to appoint. To pull that off, you need cooperative Assistant District Attorneys (“ADA’s”) and court staff.
Empac Texas uncovered an industry of fraud costing the tax payers millions at the expense of those the attorneys were appointed to represent. Additionally, our research demonstrates an avalanche of fraudulent court records, altered court documents, forged judicial signatures, fabricated charges, defendants who were either deceased or outright fictions and fraudulent grand jury indictments, none of which would be possible without the assistance and participation of the DA’s office, court clerks and/or Harris County Clerk staff members.
Part three of “Secret Justice” uncovers the DA’s practice of stacking charges onto convictions without the knowledge of the Defendant or the court. We’ll also expose how convictions are altered after final judgment, often eliminating jail time from the sentence ordered by the Court. In effect, defense counsel and an ADA conspire together to broker a deal that is implemented without regard for the findings of the court. Empac Texas has uncovered how a number of local defense firms are working with the DA’s office expunging records outside of any court proceeding and forever erasing not only their client’s convictions but the efforts of the DA and the firm at the same time. Empac Texas has been documenting and tracking these expungments and the attorneys who filed them for the last two years.
Watch for Part one of “Secret Justice” by Empac Texas to be released in the next few weeks.