Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DA Watch: In Dallas, You Can't Fall in Love While Out on Bail

Clay Chabot -- doesn't that name sound like something from a daytime soap opera, or a Harlequin romance novel?

Wasn't Clay Chabot one of Erica Kane's husbands on All My Children back in the 1980s?

Um, no.

Clay Chabot is a real man though his story is reading somewhat like a melodrama. It seems that the Dallas County District Attorney's office is seeking to revoke Clay's bond and send him back to jail because they argue he's violated the terms of his release. The revocation hearing was yesterday.

What did Clay Chabot do that was so very bad?

He fell in love with one of his live-in chaparones while living under house arrest in his Cedar Hill home. Who's the lucky lady? She's his sister-in-law's daughter. And, of course, Clay has a MySpace page where the happy couple published photos of their wedding ceremony.

Oh fine, so there's a question of no marriage license even though she's going by "Mrs. Chabot" these days. And, yes, she's 37 and he's 49.

But it's love - the stuff that dreams are made of.

Love as the Basis for Bond Revocation

Meanwhile, the prosecution is ticked off about this marriage. They are moving for bond revocation because, they argue, a sexual relationship may violate the terms of his release.

First Assistant District Attorney Terri Moore actually argued at the hearing yesterday that she "didn't believe that the court intended for Mr. Chabot to be permitted a live-in girlfriend, wife, or spouse while out on bond." (Quoting the Dallas Morning News, who reported events from Tuesday's revocation hearing.) According to Moore, "[w]e give him an inch, and he takes a mile."

Chabot Already Victim of False Testimony That Resulted in Murder Conviction

Now, here's where the story goes from silly to serious. Clay Chabot was out on bond because the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is hearing his motion for a new trial -- because it's been discovered that Chabot was convicted of murder based upon the lies of his brother-in-law. Seems DNA testing has revealed that the brother-in-law actually raped the murder victim.

The District Attorney is claiming that they are going to retry Chabot when his motion is granted, because they still think he's guilty of the crime. Now they're arguing that Chabot and his lying brother-in-law are both guilty of the murder.

Chabot Did Stop at a CellPhone Store on the Way to the Doctor

Perhaps the only real argument they've got here is that Clay did stop at a cellphone store on the way to the V.A. for medical treatment (he's allow to leave his house for doctor visits). However, it wasn't off the beaten path: it was a store on the route from Cedar Hill to the V.A. Hospital -- and please: he wasn't stopping off to gamble, buy booze, or get porno -- he stopped with his sister-in-law at a phone store.

For this, Chabot should go back behind bars after he was wrongfully convicted of murder? Maybe the DA knew this wouldn't be a big enough argument - so she added on this horrible event: Chabot married the woman he loves.

The audacity of it all.

Love Shouldn't Be Penalized

In prisons everyday, there are couples who wed without even the hope of building a life together. It's the story of legend how many penpal relationships have evolved in marriages behind bars. Heck, About.Com has an how-to article online, "How to Marry a Prisoner."

Surely if Texas Cadet Murderer Diane Zamora and Night Stalker Richard Ramirez can marry while in prison for life, then Clay Chabot can get hitched while on house arrest while his wrongful conviction is being ironed out.

Perhaps Clay's sister sums it up best: "He may have fallen in love, but he didn't do anything wrong."


Dallas Morning News


Patricia said...

Caly has been on house arrest for over a year. If the prosecutors thought they had enough evidence to retry him, why have they not done it? Fron what I understand, Clay is not allowed visitors. Even prisoners are allowed visits, aren't they? Jerry Pabst has already been convicted of the rape and murder. Nothing puts clay at the scene of the crime.
It sounds to me as if prosecution is doing their best to "break" him.
What happened to rights to a speedy trial?

Mark F Barnes said...

I know Clay and he has always maintained he was innocent and always pointed the blame at Pabst. Henry Wade and his corrupt judicial system has done this so many times it would scare you to count them. Going all the way back to Randall Adams, Lenell Jeter, the list goes on and on. Now we have another innocent man Clay Chabot having to deal with the same miscarriage of justice. And they have convicted Pabst through DNA evidence, and sentenced him to life in Prison, yet this Asst. DA carries on her witch hunt to persecute Clay, so the nightmare continues for him. They have put him back in custody, on some trumped up violation of his Bond. I am having a very difficult time grappling with the concept of his sexual relationship having any concern about the conditions of his bond, as pointed out by the prosecutor, Ms. Moore. I do not believe that any court can take away that ‘fundamental right’ to marry. Without seeing the actual bond, my statements here are more hypothetical than anything else. Sure, there could be limitations on contact, but if a person who is of legal age comes to him and Chabot is not violating the house arrest by leaving the premises, who he has sex with is his own business, especially if they are now contractually obligated and bear the headings of husband and wife…. Furthermore, aren’t marriages generally consummated? Clay is not causing any harm, his first trial was overturned and he may be subjected to a second one, it surely sounds as though the case is one that has some problems. Unless the facts I have are incorrect, Gerald Pabst has been convicted of the murder. My primary concern with this is that people do not realize how many rights they are giving up on a daily basis by being apathetic to matters like this ….
Dallas County boasts the highest number of falsely convicted men exonerated with DNA evidence since post-conviction testing began…….. Imagine that!