Beaumont, October 18 – The Beaumont Court of Appeals has been true to its word that the criminal appellate case against Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport will fall under accelerated consideration. The Court of Appeals has set oral argument for November 9, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., on the Second Floor of the Montgomery County Administration Building, 301 North Thompson, Conroe, Texas 77301.
The panel of Justices who will hear the case are Chief Justice Steve McKeithen, Justice Hollis Horton, and Justice Leanne Johnson.
The criminal cases arise from the Montgomery County Grand Jury’s Indictments of Doyal, Riley, and Davenport for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act by meeting secretly in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of conspiring to circumvent the provisions of the Open Meetings Act which prohibits deliberations of governmental decisions. Basically, the allegation is that Doyal, Riley, and Davenport sought to determine the terms of a road bond referendum so that they could get a majority of the Commissioners Court to place the matter on the November 2015 general election ballot for a referendum.
In April, a visiting district judge ruled that the Open Meetings Act was unconstitutional, because Doyal, Riley, and Davenport argued that it violated their constitutional rights of free speech. Last week, the Honorable Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, filed a “friend of the court” brief and sided with the Special Prosecutor in arguing that the Open Meetings Act is constitutional both under the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution.
In a desperate attempt to delay a decision on the case until after the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, where Doyal and Riley both face electoral opponents, Doyal’s attorney filed a motion on Monday, October 16, seeking a delay of the oral argument until after January 15, 2018.