Wednesday, September 24, 2008

COP WATCH: It's Good to Be a Snitch in Dallas

Ladaryl Kelly sure led a charmed life -- for awhile.

Seems Kelly was best buds with a detective over at the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, a guy named Lonnie Cole. (I'm using the past tense here, because I'm doubting the friendship is as close now as it once was.)

Kelly Allegedly Protected by Cole

It was an interesting relationship. Ladaryl is purportedly a career outlaw: he's alleged to have robbed a couple of Subway sandwich shops in Irving; stolen cargo (and maybe even the 18-wheeler, too) in Waxahachie; as well as stealing a semi in a failed attempt to load up a bunch of plasmas TVs at an Ardmore, Oklahoma Best Buy.

And whenever Ladaryl's name came up -- in Oklahoma, Texas, or presumably elsewhere -- Detective Cole worked hard to keep Ladaryl out of any hassle with the authorities.

Ladaryl's alleged partners-in-crime could be busted left and right, and Ladaryl would fly away free, to chirp again on another day. Until now.

Snitch Heaven

Seems law enforcement in Waxahachie, Irving, and Ardmore, Oklahoma, have gotten togehter and compared notes - and none of them like Detective Cole's protection of Ladaryl.

There's talk of Cole stepping over the line, maybe even monkeying with investigations and hiding Ladaryl from investigators. Talk about snitch heaven.

Snitch is Busted, Detective is Investigated

Now, Detective Cole's being investigated by internal affairs and Ladaryl Kelly, identified by Cole as his long-time informant, has been indicted for his role in the Waxahachie aggravated robbery of the cargo truck.

Guess Mr. Kelly is going to be making lots of new friends now. Ratting out your pals to the cops, apparently as a routine career move, will probably make Kelly pretty darn popular in the local jail.


Dallas Morning News

Monday, September 22, 2008

JUDGE WATCH: Judge Priddy's Law License Suspended But He's Still On the Bench

Bruce Priddy is a state district court judge, presiding over civil cases in the 116th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas. You can see him today, in his robes and on the bench, down at the courthouse (New Tower) on Commerce Street.

He hears non-criminal matters that can be complex and involve a lot of money. For example, this past June the Dallas company ICC Energy Corporation filed a big lawsuit in his court against Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Corp (NYSE: CHK) claiming that Chesapeake breached a deal with ICC to market gas from the Barnett Shale at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Millions are at stake.

Presiding Judge Priddy's License Pulled for "Professional Misconduct"

What's interesting is that while Judge Priddy can preside over civil matters, ruling on motions made by attorneys, and accepting verdicts found by juries, he cannot practice law right now. His law license has been suspended by the State Bar of Texas for "professional misconduct."

Yes, that's right: in this State, a judge can still preside over a courtroom even if his law license has been suspended. For professional misconduct. Whoa.

Diane Jennings at the Dallas Morning News apparently thought this was strange, and asked the Executive Director of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct about the situation. Jennings reports that the director, Seana Willing, explained: "He was qualified when he stood for election ...[t]he fact that he, for the next three months, will have his license suspended, I don't think it's a constitutional disqualification."

Constitutional disqualification. Right.

Judge Priddy's Also Been Sued by the AG (Who Won) and His DUI Trial is Set for November

And guess what? Jennings has discovered that Judge Priddy:

1. also has the distinction of being the first sitting judge in the history of the State of Texas to be sued -- yep, sued -- by the Texas Attorney General. The Attorney General sued Judge Priddy and got judgments against the Judge for failing to file campaign finance reports with the state Ethics Commission. Judge Priddy got $39,000 in fines and after paying $31,500 to the Ethics Commission, the remaining $7,900 was recovered by garnisheeing his bank account. He still owes the State thousands in attorneys' fees, accrued interest, and a $500 late filing penalty.

2. In November 2007, Judge Priddy was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. That DUI case is scheduled for trial this November. According to the records, Judge Priddy told the cops that he has a "motor-coordination problem" and that he is diabetic.

Just one more example of how we're building confidence in the judicial system these days.

Dallas Morning News