MONTGOMERY COUNTY ATTORNEY STALLS ON OPEN RECORDS
An OAG opinion sought by the Montgomery County Attorney, J.D. Lambright asst Sarah Stallberg was returned to her in late March. In it, she was instructed to forward most of the records I requested. We waited two weeks and then called early this week. Sarah Stallberg did aknowledge receipt of the OAG instructions and told The Sentinel, "I will get those out to you this week." We did verify to her that we wanted them email and made sure she had the correct address. The courthouse has closed and no records received this week. Apparently Montgomery County doesn't think it is any of the public's business if Rowdy Hayden hires a deputy constable that has a theft conviction or that the OAG instructions and her verbal committment matter. Here is your come uppins young lady. We understand a heavy work load but disdain falsehoods from public servants.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY ATTORNEY FORWARDS RECORDS
Once again the pattern holds that when The Sentinel asks for open records and the agency stalls with a bogus OAG opinion request, they are trying to cover up or cover for an illegal act. It NEVER FAILS. In this instance, one of Hayden's deputies was harboring a woman who was on the lam hiding her 5 year old daughter from the baby's father in violation of standing court orders.
The deputy knew what she was doing, knew it was a violation but hid her and the child anyway. When The Sentinel filed a written complaint via email detailing the deputy's illegal actions, Constable Hayden's office met the complaint with the assertion that I would have to come in personally, provide ID to prove who I was and hand write and sign a copy of the complaint before they would take action on it. We did none of the above but submitted an open records request via the same email. In that email, we attached records The Sentinel had already obtained showing the deputy had a prior theft convicion when he was 19.
There is no requirement under the open records statutes that any agency has to answer questions so we requested the basic documents to get our own answers. Application for employment, basic prehire background check, any prior complaints filed against the deputy, etc. Pretty basic fare.
The Sentinel's effort was spent to help locate a missing child for the father. The Montgomery County Attorney stalled with a bogus OAG opinion request.
During that time, a Sentinel investigator fb sleuth found a tag about a softball game the child would be playing in and the child's father and his family showed up to the game getting to see the child for the first time in months. The deputy constable hid himself in the press box the entire game and kicked the woman to the curb shortly after. That made for the third time the child had suffered moving with her mother in just a few months. The father's enforcement action finally made it to court and the judge told the mother that he wasn't known for putting mothers in jail, "Unless they do it again". The child was recently reunited with her daddy and his family.
Meanwhile, back at The Sentinel, we got the records that prove the deputy's application said, "No" under the 'ever been arrested/charged' with a crime question. There may have been a legal expungment of the crime from his record and therefore legal for him to answer 'no' but that doesn't change the fact that it was a lie. One of the main arguments that the Montgomery County attorney made trying to withold the information was because it was "embarassing" to him.
With much consideration, The Sentinel has decided not to publish the deputy's name. Despite his flaws like we all have, Sentinel vetting has shown that he comes from a good family with roots local to his community and that he has a passion for police work. In his youth, he has made some mistakes but has opportunity to learn from them. We don't expect perfection but we do expect honesty.
The Sentinel decision not to publish this young constable deputy's name is based on several factors. It was 'petty theft', less than 500 dollars. The application check box pictured below shows that the young man's immediate inclination was to tell the truth. That speaks to his raising. The interview notes on the right show that it was the higher up person in the constable's office that is the liar because if you are unable to contact walmart, you are an idiot.
Far from holding you above the law or immune from scrutiny, that badge is rather a symbol of the trust the public has placed in you. A trust that is to be held in the highest regard or we will take it away. If you have a ranking officer in your office who is telling you to lie on your application and then conspires to cover up your crime for you, don't follow his lead but rather follow the instincts your parents raised you with. Stand on the truth always. It is the only solid ground.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY ATTORNEY THROWS KITCHEN SINK AT OR REQUEST
In a typical reaction by someone in the past that has had something to hide, the Montgomery County Attorney did send The Sentinel a priority mail letter that arrived at The Sentinel Offices today which throws every single objection to disclosure of public records allowed by law regardless of how rediculous of an argument it is. The letter, a copy of what was sent to the OAG by the Montgomery County attorney, cites every exception from 552.101 through 552.154 of the Government Code. It is the same tired tactic that TCEQ used when they tried to withold records regarding the abuse of official capacity John Lovet committed in a conspiracy with two TCEQ employees. It is the same tired tactic TCOLE used when I asked for records on a corrupt police officer several years ago. Both agencies were thwarted in their efforts to deny The Sentinel records as will be Constable Hayden. We asked for any complaints filed against the deputy. We asked for his application to see if he lied about the "ever been arrested or convicted" question. We asked for background check documents including any related to the deputy's prior arrest and conviction to see if Hayden even vetted the young man before he was hired. The lawyer knows every document that was requested are normally subject to the open records laws. To keep from looking ignorant in the sight of her peers, she worded the OAG letter to say, "The constable believes portions of the documents are exempt . . . ." Some of the more absurd claims of exemption are:
552.103. EXCEPTION: LITIGATION OR SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS INVOLVING THE STATE OR A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION.
552.104. EXCEPTION: INFORMATION RELATED TO COMPETITION OR BIDDING.
552.106. EXCEPTION: CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE DOCUMENTS.
552.1081. EXCEPTION: CONFIDENTIALITY OF CERTAIN INFORMATION REGARDING EXECUTION OF CONVICT
552.1085. CONFIDENTIALITY OF SENSITIVE CRIME SCENE IMAGE.
552.113. EXCEPTION: CONFIDENTIALITY OF GEOLOGICAL OR GEOPHYSICAL INFORMATION.
552.116. EXCEPTION: AUDIT WORKING PAPERS.
552.124. EXCEPTION: CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS OF LIBRARY OR LIBRARY SYSTEM.
Yada yada ya so forth and so on, there are 30 more listed in The Government Code that have absolutely no bearing on my request but this lady lawyer is willing to compromise her integrity and credibility to help Hayden stall the inevitable. I don't want his social security number, DL etc but I do want to know if I am the only one that has a complaint about this deputy and his illegal acts. More as this story develops.
NEW CANEY 1/12/2018
PCT 4 CONSTABLE STALLS OR REQUEST
Montgomery County Pct 4 Constable, Kenneth 'Rowdy' Hayden is stalling in an effort to shield one of his deputies from scrutiny for his illegal acts. A valid and properly formatted OR request was submitted in late December along with the 2009 criminal record of a theft conviction against one of his deputies. That request also includes a formal complaint of recent illegal activity by that same deputy. Hayden's chief deputy, Barry Welch did contact The Sentinel aknowledging Hayden did receive the OR request. A request which asked for any complaints that had been filed on the deputy and any records that Hayden had obtained during a background check before the recent hiring. Welch told The Sentinel that he could not process the complaint unless I came in, wrote out a complaint and signed it there and provided a copy of my driver's license so he could verify who I was. "You could be from Minnosota for all I know" was Welch's accusatory reasoning, "I have to investigate who you are". Assuring him I would mail in a written and signed complaint, I let Welch know that all my information was on this website and if he needed to investigate who I was, have at it. At this point Welch told me that there would be considerable costs associated with the request. "Oh so there are complaints filed against the deputy and I can expect quite a few documents?" was my inquisitive reply. At this point, Welch let his irritation show, raised his voice and told me in no uncertain terms that I could go to jail for filing a false report on a police officer. Hayden's entire office does not have a clue of The Sentinel's track record or that threat would have never escaped Cheif Deputy Barry Welch's mouth. If they did have a clue, Hayden would have returned my original phone call himself. In the few days that I have been vetting Constable Hayden and his troops, multiple allegations of wrong doing ranging from "pocket warrants" to retalitory stops with no probable cause have poured in. More than one former elected official that came under Sentinel scrutiny has opened the can of worms of threatening The Sentinel. We all know how those have turned out and that I have one Pct 4 constable (SJC) notch in my belt already.
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Prosecutors re examine evidence
""The ordinance isn't the only problem," Briscoe said. "The problem is an out-of-control police department."
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