BREAKING NEWS! Montgomery County DA Ligon recuses himself from TCOLE case involving Constable Hayden, District Judge to determine direction

BREAKING NEWS!

Montgomery County District Attorney Bret Ligon.

Conroe, August 1 – Montgomery County District Attorney and the District Attorney’s Office have recused themselves from the case involving the Texas Commissioner on Law Enforcement’s (TCOLE) investigation of Precinct 4 Montgomery County Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden and his Chief Deputy Barry Welch. The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has confirmed that Ligon has informed TCOLE and 418th District Judge Tracy Gilbert, who is currently overseeing the Montgomery County Grand Jury during this calendar quarter, that Judge Gilbert will need to determine who should prosecute the case.

Ligon had previously involved Hayden’s attorney that the DA’s Office would recuse itself in the event that Hayden were involved rather than individuals who work for the Constable. TCOLE presented factual findings to Ligon’s Public Integrity Unit on Tuesday, July 31, which included factual allegations against Hayden as well as Welch.

In accordance with the provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Judge Gilbert can appoint a Prosecutor Pro Tem (a special prosecutor) or he could determine that the Attorney General of Texas should prosecute the case instead. The first step if a prosecution were to occur would be presentation of the facts to a Grand Jury either in Montgomery County or in Travis County.

After a six week investigation of Hayden and Welch, TCOLE’s Enforcement Investigation Sergeant Michael Watts and another TCOLE investigator presented their factual findings to the Public Integrity Unit yesterday.

Watts works under the direction of TCOLE Enforcement Captain Doug Skolaut of Austin. Skolaut has been directly involved in the Hayden-Welch investigation, which sources inside TCOLE say is very unusual.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) has investigated Hayden and Welch over whether or not they turned in false training and certification documents to the state agency with respect to a civil law class they supposedly took a year ago. The documents involve instances where Hayden and Welch were course students and also circumstances where they provided training to others. Civil law is the centerpiece of the constitutional duties of a Constable under Texas law, since their required duties involve service of civil process, such as lawsuits and civil complaints.

TCOLE investigators spent a full day examining records in Hayden’s Constable’s Office in New Caney on Thursday, June 7, 2018. The investigators returned to Hayden’s Office for another day of investigation on Tuesday, June 12. They have also investigated records at the City of Roman Forest, which is the official “training provider” for law enforcement agencies in East Montgomery County. Skolaut, Watts, and other TCOLE investigators have returned to Montgomery County to interview witnesses and review internal documents inside of law enforcement agencies.

Hayden spoke with The Golden Hammer on Thursday, June 14, and confirmed the pendency of the investigation. He did, however, state, “We’ve provided TCOLE with information that we believe shows that we are in full compliance with TCOLE regulations and with Texas law.” Hayden explained that he provided the information to TCOLE on Wednesday, June 13, but that he could not comment further about the matter because it is an ongoing investigation.

”I try to provide the best public safety and law enforcement services to keep the people of East Montgomery County safe,” Hayden told this newspaper. “Serving this community is what I love to do.”

TCOLE is the main regulatory agency for all certified peace officers in the State of Texas, including sheriffs, deputies, constables and their deputies, marshals, police officers, and other similar law enforcement positions. All law enforcement officers must take 40 hours of continuing education, training, and certifications every two (2) years. Constables and their deputies must have 20 hours every two years in civil process, since that is the primary statutory duty of constables under Texas law.

 

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