Please don’t politicize criminal prosecutions…

Christopher Downey of Houston, the Special Prosecutor in the TOMA Trial.

Conroe, March 14 – Did you ever dream that you’d read a pro-Craig Doyal, pro-Charlie Riley, and pro-Marc Davenport piece in The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County ‘s leading daily newspaper? Well, here it is…sort of.

First, the caveats. This newspaper and its Publisher do not like the policies and the political behavior of Craig Doyal, the County Judge, or Charlie Riley, the Precinct 2 Commissioner, at all. Doyal and Riley, along with their close ally Mike Meador, have created massive County government spending that is completely out of control. They spend so much money that they don’t even know – or have the first idea of – what is in their budgets which they pass. County spending has grown 428% since 2000. That’s insane.

Since 2010, when Republican voters passed a referendum placing a ceiling on County spending growth equal to the amount of population growth and inflation, they spent $50 million MORE than that ceiling! That’s irresponsible.

Doyal and Riley promote and engage in rampant nepotism. They look the other way on major conflicts of interest with respect to engineers, Bobby Adams, and the Toll Road Authority. They’re primary “constituents” seem to be outside-of-Montgomery County engineers and contractors who give them tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions and legal fees rather than we poor saps who vote for them.

Doyal and Riley are the main promoters of the most wasteful spending project of all – the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. Doyal leans on County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright to cover the County government in a veil of secrecy, opacity, and downright hiding. He’s fired employees who provide too much information to the public. Doyal is the man with the political “Hit List.”

Riley is the founder of the “Charlie Riley Two-Step” nepotism method whereby he created a new job and then filled it with…his wife! Wow. Riley has gone along with unethical practices of Doyal and he’s nodded his head for almost every spending proposal that’s come before the Commissioners Court. When he had a genuine chance to solve the Animal Shelter crisis, Riley looked the other way.

Together, Doyal and Riley have complete mismanaged road projects in Montgomery County. They’ve wasted money. They’ve failed to proceed expeditiously with the very same 2015 road bond projects that are the subject of the deliberations in the TOMA trial. They’re not taking care of business by any stretch of the mind’s understanding.

These two gents – Doyal and Riley – are not very sympathetic figures at all.

Where we as a community and as a society can’t go off course, however, is due process even for people whom we may not like politically. Political differences do not make crimes or criminals.

With Commissioner Jim Clark turning “state’s evidence” the Texas Open Meetings Act trial will certainly be a lot more interesting. The Special Prosecutor (technically called the “Prosecutor Pro Tempore“), Christopher Downey, had some proof challenges prior to the events of the past couple of weeks during which Clark negotiated his arrangement. With Jim Clark as a witness, the prosecutor will have a much easier time telling the jury a story, getting documents admitted into evidence, and presenting the “inside scoop.”

Nevertheless, our political disagreements with Craig Doyal, Charlie Riley, and Marc Davenport should never transfer into a “hope” that they’re convicted. No one deserves conviction unless a jury or a judge convicts them after a fair trial and due process. As the readers of this newspaper know, The Golden Hammer sharply criticizes Craig Doyal. Nevertheless, this man has a family. He has a wife and children who love him. He has friends who care about him. He cares about himself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In reality, we should all care about him. We should care that he gets his fair day (or week) in court.

Are they scared? Any sane person would be. It appears that the timing of certain items on the March 14 Commissioners Court agenda, for the last meeting before the Trial of the 21st Century on March 27, may spring from their concern that this meeting might be their last.

It’s wrong when liberal democrats try to criminalize political or security decisions of people such as Jeff Sessions, Oliver North, or Scooter Libby. It’s also wrong when conservatives try to criminalize their political disfavor regarding the extreme liberal, pro-government growth behavior of Doyal and Riley.

Conservatives don’t equate terrible political decisions with crimes. Part of being conservative is acting circumspect, giving people a fair shot regardless of your personal feelings about them, and following the Constitution.

 

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