- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:30
- Written by Gladewater Mirror
A Vermont-based organization which says it "educates prisoners about their legal rights" has filed a federal lawsuit against Upshur County, Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Sheriff's Lt. Jill McCauley, alleging the co-defendants are "wrongfully censoring" the plaintiff's mailed communications with prisoners in the county jail.
Dallas attorney Cass Wieland, representing the county, has filed a general denial of the charges in the suit filed by Prison Legal News on Nov. 26 in United States District Court in Marshall.
The lawsuit, which seeks an unspecified amount of damages, alleges the county has violated PLN's right to free speech by rejecting and returning magazines and books it tried to send prisoners. Mrs. McCauley was named as a co-defendant because she is lieutenant over the jail and a "final policymaker" for it, the document said.
The lawsuit identifies PLN as a non-profit organization with primary offices in Brattleboro, Vermont, and as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Human Rights Defense Center, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation. The center's "mission is centered on public education, prisoner education, and advocacy in support of basic human rights," says the 8-page document.
The lawsuit was filed by three Austin attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project--Brian McGiverin, Scott Medlock and James C. Harrington.
The document says PLN "publishes and distributes a 56-page legal information magazine addressing the rights of incarcerated people," which is distributed to prisoners in about 2,200 correctional facilities across the nation. PLN also distributes about 50 books by other publishers concerning the criminal justice system, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiff says that since July 2011, PLN has mailed its magazine to Upshur jail inmates, and that those who subscribe to the magazine are also sent copies of the paperback book Protecting Your Health and Safety: Prisoners' Rights, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. "The book gives inmates information about their right to medical care and protections against inhumane treatment," the lawsuit says.
"Since July 2011, PLN has received returned copies of its monthly magazine and books from the Upshur County Jail. Out of approximately 223 issues of PLN's magazine sent since July 2011, at least 86 issues were rejected and sent back. Many books have been returned the same way," the document states.
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:19
- Written by Glafewater Mirror
Multiple Felony Indictments Against Lloyd Allen Crabtree and His Son, Todd in Game Warden Hostage Case
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in Austin issued a statement Friday evening, January 25, stating an Upshur County Grand Jury returned multiple felony indictments, including two first degree counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, naming Lloyd Allen Crabtree and his son, Todd Crabtree, who are accused of holding a state game warden at gunpoint last October.
All the indictments stem from an Oct. 6 incident in which Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Shane Bailey was disarmed and detained by two armed men while the officer was making a routine check for hunting law violations on private property in Big Sandy, Upshur County.
The warden used his cell phone to call for help, and soon numerous local and state officers came to his assistance and ended the situation with no shots fired.
Lloyd Allen Crabtree, 51, former Precinct 3 County Commissioner in Upshur County, was named in five felony indictments, including three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer (first degree felony); one count of taking a weapon from a peace officer (third degree felony) and one count of unlawful restraint with a deadly weapon (third degree felony).
Crabtree’s son, Todd A. Crabtree, 28, was indicted on three felony charges: One count of aggravated assault on a peace officer (first degree felony); one count of taking a weapon from a peace officer (third degree felony); and one count of unlawful restraint with a deadly weapon (third degree felony).
The attorney for the two men notified them Friday afternoon that arrest warrants had been issued and they turned themselves in at the Upshur County Jail a short time later. They remained in jail Friday night in lieu of $1.5 million bond each.
The incident last fall was investigated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Internal Affairs Unit and the Texas Rangers.
“We really appreciate the hard work on the part of our Internal Affairs officers, the Texas Rangers and Upshur County District Attorney’s Office that went into this investigation,” said col. Craig Hunter, TPWD’s Law Enforcement Division director. “While this case still has to make its way through the judicial process, we hope these indictments will send a strong message that incidents such as this one will not be tolerated by law-abiding Texans.”