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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
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Archives 1995

Green sues county over pay cut to zero

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 12, 1995 - Reeves County Court-At-Law Judge Lee
S. Green has filed a lawsuit in 143rd District Court against
Reeves County, over their decision to eliminate his salary
for fiscal 1996.

Galindo received notice of the lawsuit at 4:25 p.m., Monday
County commissioners adopted a resolution in January to
abolish the County Court-At-Law in Reeves County, stating
that the court is a "luxury" which the county can not afford
at this time.

However, the county could not get the support from State
Representative Gary Walker to introduce a resolution to
abolish the court in this year's Texas Legislature. That
kept the court-at-law, but in September, Green's salary was
set at zero by commissioners in the 1996 Reeves County

In his petition naming the county as defendant, Green states
that the county's actions are arbitrary, unreasonable and
unlawful. He seeks to order the defendant to set a
reasonable salary and to order the county to provide the
court reporting, administrative and clerical assistance
required by law.

Green's petition states that the commissioner's court is
required by law to set the salary for his office.

In their budget for the calender year 1996, commissioners
have set the budget for his salary at zero and further have
not provided for adequate salary of a court reporter or
necessary and reasonable and necessary office expenses,
including clerical and administrative assistance, as
required by law.

In the event that the case is not heard before 1996, Green
requests that retroactive pay be awarded, as well as
interest as authorized by law.

The arrival of the lawsuit in Galindo's office Monday came
as a surprise to the county judge.

"I didn't know I had filed the lawsuit yet," said Green, who
is being represented by Mario Gonzalez of El Paso.

Along with expressing surprise at the arrival of the
lawsuit, Green said he had not yet seen it, adding that he
didn't know exactly what was in yet.

"The thing will be in court and that's where it ought to
be," said Green. "The law says how this will be handled and
I think the law will say that the court needs to comply in
setting a reasonable salary and provide personnel to operate
the county-court-at-law. If this commences, everything will
be just fine," he said.

Said Galindo, "Since January of 1995, the court has adopted
a resolution to abolish the court-at-law position. We asked
our legislators to abolish this court because we can no
longer afford a county-court-at-law."

Galindo stated that Reeves County is the smallest county in
the state of Texas with a county-court-at-law and possibly
one of the poorest, and raising taxes at this time to
provide a salary for Green is not feasible.

"We don't want to raise taxes just to provide Green with a
salary, it's just something we can't afford at this time. If
you don't have money, you have to cut expenses," said

The court-at-law judge was paid $52,000 in fiscal year 1995.

Green further states in his petition that he would show that
he has no adequate remedy at law, and requests that a
temporary injunction be issued mandating the county to set a
reasonable salary, or reinstate his salary, and provide such
court reporting, clerical and administrative assistance as
is required by law.

Green requests that he be awarded reasonable and necessary
attorney's fees in the amount of $5,000 for trial and $5,000
for each subsequent appeal, as well as costs of court.

Local attorney Scott Johnson stated that he had discussed
the lawsuit with Green, but refused to take the case because
of possible problems arising from a conflict with any
pending court-at-law cases.

"I didn't want to have a case in his court and have him
recluse himself because I was his attorney," said Johnson.

Johnson said he received the lawsuit papers in the mail from
Green's lawyer in El Paso.

Bunton enjoys poem, but still wants Loewen

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 12, 1995 - Weighty matters are debated in
federal court: sometimes boring, sometimes tedious; but
often sprinkled with lighter moments.

One such moment occurred during docket call Monday when
Cornelius Loewen, a Mennonite living in Mexico, was
scheduled to appear for sentencing on a marijuana possession

Loewen's attorney, Mike Barclay of Alpine, answered docket
call with this poem:

"On Saturday last I received a call from a man who said he
was John.
"Now John was concerned about what could be done now that
Corny was obviously gone.

"So, I begged and pleaded, cajoled and threatened for
someone to tell Corny the facts.

"For if he failed to appear, I would make it quite clear, it
would result in the fall of the ax.

"Now here I stand without a corpus, but I guess that's
better than rigor mortis."

Senior Judge Lucius Bunton smiled at the poetry, but frowned
on Loewen's absence and ordered a warrant for his arrest.

"One of the conditions of his guilty plea was that the
government would turn his wife loose, although she was aware
of the marijuana," Bunton said.

Terry Luck, pre-trial services officer, said that charges
against Mrs. Loewen were dropped and she was released.

"I can tell you where you will find them. Close to Chihuahua
City making cheese," Bunton said.

Three defendants who did show up to enter guilty pleas will
be sentenced on Feb. 5, 1996. Fidencio Guzman-Lopez and
Eleuterio Zubia-Melendez pleaded guilty to possession with
intent to possess marijuana on Aug. 11.

The first of four civil trials got underway after the noon

Billy "Bubba" Doyle of Houston testified that Clay McKinney
threatened to shoot his kneecaps off if he failed to
complete a drug transaction in 1989.

When Doyle and two friends drove to Monahans from
Duncanville to pick up 200 pounds of marijuana as a payoff
for setting up a drug deal, all three were arrested and
charged with marijuana possession.

Doyle was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 50 years
in state prison. Judge Bunton ordered him released in 1992
on a writ of habeas corpus. He was re-tried twice in
Lubbock, resulting in one mistrial and a second conviction.

He is now on parole and claims Ward County and McKinney owe
him $60 million for his trouble.
John Osborne and Diane Marshall of Houston represent Doyle.
Richard Bonner represents Ward County, and Mike Barclay
represents McKinney.

Commissioners asked to help pay for judge

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 13, 1995 - Attorney Mario Gonzalez would like
Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo and each commissioner to
donate a portion of their salary to keep Reeves County's
court-at-law in operation.

Gonzalez made the request after the El Paso lawyer filed a
suit on behalf of Court-At-Law Judge Lee S. Green in 143rd
District Court against Reeves County, over their decision to
cut Green's $53,619 salary to zero for fiscal year 1996.

County commissioners adopted a resolution in January to
abolish the county court-at-law in Reeves County, stating
that the court is a "luxury" which the county can not afford
at this time.

However, the county could not get the support from State
Rep. Gary Walker to introduce a resolution to abolish the
court in this year's Texas Legislature. That kept the
court-at-law alive, but in September, Green's salary was set
at zero by commissioners in the 1996 Reeves County budget.

Commissioners receive an annual salary of $22,847, while
Galindo's salary as county judge is $32,558.

"The law requires that commissioners set a salary for county
court-at-law and give him necessary administrative
assistance as required by law. The county court-at-law is a
standard governmental agency, if the legislature wanted to
abolish it, it would have," said Gonzalez. "They cannot set
this salary at zero, it comes under a greater law. The
commissioners can set a salary, but it has to be a
reasonable salary."

Gonzalez said that a court date for the trial has not yet
been set, but that he anticipates that will take place as
soon as possible.

Green's attorney added that he "would like to know what
efforts the county judge and the commissioners have taken in
remedying" the situation.

"I agree that the county judge has a duty to the people to
work out a budget, but that doesn't mean he can turn around
and try to abolish somebody's salary," said Gonzalez. "I
would ask him and each commissioner to donate a portion of
their salary to make up for the county court-at-law salary
and administrative help," he said, "This would come in
establishing good faith."

Doyle awarded $30,000 in reverse sting lawsuit

Staff Writer
PECOS, Dec. 13, 1995 - A Duncanville man who helped set up
reverse drug sting operations for the 143rd District
Attorney and Midland County Sheriff's Office in 1989, then
went to prison for his trouble, won a federal court jury
verdict Thursday.

Billy "Bubba" Doyle was convicted by a Monahans jury in
June, 1990, of aggravated marijuana possession, sentenced to
50 years in prison and fined $50,000.

The federal jury found that Ward County and Clay McKinney
conspired to offer perjured testimony in that trial and
awarded Doyle $30,000 in lost wages for the two years he
spent behind bars before Judge Lucius Bunton ordered him
released on a writ of habeas corpus and re-tried.

In a subsequent re-trial in Lubbock, Doyle was convicted and
sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is free on parole.

The jury did not find that Doyle was coerced into driving to
Monahans to pick up 200 pounds of marijuana as the payoff
for his part in setting up a $300,000 marijuana transaction
in Grayson County in October, 1989. And they did not award
damages for past and future mental anguish.

Doyle was arrested Nov. 1, 1989, along with two friends who
drove with him to Monahans to pick up his marijuana.
Then-district attorney Hal Upchurch dismissed the charge
against Doyle and released him two days later to return to
Duncanville to set up more transactions in the continuing
"reverse sting" operations.

Because news of his arrest was published in the Duncanville
paper, Doyle testified he was accused of being an informant
and was unable to set up any more transactions.

Upchurch had Doyle re-arrested on Nov. 26, 1989, but he
testified it was because Doyle "couldn't keep his mouth
shut" and was telling people he was working with the D.A.'s

Monahans attorney Ted Painter was appointed to defend Doyle,
and he told District Judge Bob Parks on May 15, 1990, that
he had learned Doyle was coerced into accepting the
marijuana he was charged with possessing.

Painter's statement to Judge Parks was recorded by a court
reporter. In that statement, he said that Clay McKinney,
D.A. investigator, admitted telling Doyle that he would
"blow his kneecaps off" if he didn't come to Monahans to
pick up the marijuana.

However, Judge Parks testified that at trial Painter said he
didn't know when the alleged threat was made, and "I was
concerned" about the change in testimony.

McKinney testified he made an off-the-cuff statement to
Doyle after his arrest and release "that I would blow his
kneecaps off if he didn't follow the law and do a drug deal
the way it was supposed to be done."

Ward County Judge Sam Massey credited the jury's verdict in
Doyle's to the closing argument by his attorney, Diana
Marshall of Houston.

"She gave a hell of a closing statement," he said. "The
facts weren't there, but she did a good job."

"I think the jury faced a very, very difficult job of trying
to decide on the basis of years of prior settlements what
they could now do," Marshall said of the verdict.

"They had to assess years of testimony and the level of
credibility of a number of witnesses."

In her closing statement, Marshall told the jury to decide
whether events leading up to Doyle's arrest were tainted by
conspiracy, unlawful, inappropriate and shameful conduct of
people in law enforcement.

Richard Bonner, representing Ward County, said Doyle had a
history of selling drugs, including two convictions for
marijuana possession in 1985 while a college student in

"This is for Doyle lotto lawsuit time. Sue Ward County for
$60 million when he admitted he came to Ward County to pick
up some dope," Bonner said, and called their attention to a
photograph entered in evidence showing Doyle hugging the
bundle of marijuana and smiling.

Mike Barclay, representing McKinney, said the testimony
showed how law enforcement people have to work with the
underworld to solve drug problems.

Officers have to use informants to catch dealers, but they
have to follow the law, he said.

"The dealer just wants money and not to get caught," he
said. "Drugs amount to great sums of money. The people in
South America, Central America and Mexico say, 'If people in
the United States want to smoke or sniff it, let's sell it
to them.'"

McKinney said he will appeal the verdict.

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