Conroe, March 27 – The constitutionality hearing concerning the Texas Open Meetings Act criminal trial of Defendants County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, and local political consultant Marc Davenport began this morning to a Courtroom packed with many of the same crowd of people who attend Commissioners Court meetings. Of course, the criminal attorneys also attended, including Special Prosecutor Christopher Downey of Houston, renowned Houston attorney Rusty Hardin representing Doyal, famous Conroe attorney Steve Jackson, well-respected Conroe attorney Doug Atkinson representing Riley, and the influential Tay Bond representing Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark who has turned “state’s evidence” and is now cooperating against his co-defendants. Visiting 329th District Court Randy Clapp of Wharton County is presiding over the hearing after local 221st District Judge Lisa Michaulk recused herself from the politically-charged case.
The attorneys discussed the logistics of jury selection, peremptory strikes of potential jurors, and possible time of a jury trial. “I have a feeling there’s going to be a pretty ubiquitous awareness of this case among the citizens of Montgomery County,” said Judge Clapp in initially recommending 120 people for the venire (jury pool). “We have not reset the jury date because I anticipate this hearing will take a number of day. Jury selection will occur in a larger room. Mr. Clark’s is not going to be tried but simply reset,” the judge explained.
Audience members included former County Sheriff Tommy Gage, Precinct 5 Constable David Hill, County employee Deanne Riley who is also Riley’s wife, Maris Blair, Nelda Luce Blair, Amy Doyal, Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin, jim fredricks who is Doyal’s “chief of staff,” Precinct 2 Operations Manager Don Dean, former Precinct Chair and Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition leader Gary Henson, former GOP Precinct Chair Duane Rossmann, and private investigator David Lanoue.
The hearing on the defendants’ motion to dismiss on constitutionality grounds will resume, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 9 a.m. There were no witnesses today before the Court adjourned at 10 a.m.