Siegel turns self in; Michalk recuses from case (TX)

An attorney facing two felony charges for allegedly lying on candidate filing applications turned herself in Wednesday on the warrant for the second charge.

And while Jessica Siegel’s case has been assigned to the 221st state District Court, Judge Lisa Michalk recused herself from the case. A retired Liberty County district court judge will oversee the court proceedings, Siegel’s attorney said.

Siegel, 47, a family law attorney, originally attempted to file her ballot application in December to run against incumbent 418th state District Court Judge Tracy Gilbert in the primary. That application was turned down by local Republican Party officials because Siegel lacked the needed length of residency to qualify.

And when Siegel filed her application again March 9, she was arrested moments later by a Texas Ranger at Montgomery County Republican Party headquarters in downtown Conroe. She has been charged with two counts of tampering with a government document, a state jail felony.

If she is convicted, she faces 180 days to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000 for each charge.

Siegel, who was booked into the Montgomery County Jail that day on one charge, turned herself in around midday Wednesday, said her attorney, Jarrod Walker. She was released shortly after on a $3,000 bond.

She will be arraigned March 29, Walker said.

Siegel did not return calls seeking comment.

“It’s full-steam ahead on the campaign,” Walker said.

Dr. Walter Wilkerson, chair of the MCRP, announced Monday that Siegel can remain on the primary ballot. When Texas Ranger Wende Wakeman, who arrested Siegel March 9 at MCRP headquarters began her investigation soon after Siegel’s first failed application, the evidence Wakeman found showed Siegel moved from Harris County to a Conroe apartment in late February 2011.

A candidate on the primary ballot for the judge seat must have been a resident of the county or appropriate district for two years prior to the November general election.

Siegel previously said she has evidence showing she lived in the county before February 2011 but would not give specifics. Walker also would not say what evidence his client may have.

“We’re going to put on a vigorous defense,” he said.

Walker also predicted the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office would request a special prosecutor to handle the case. He thinks putting the case on a fast track for a speedy resolution before the primary might be best for Siegel, he said.

But no determination has been made yet on either a special prosecutor or a speedy resolution to Siegel’s case, First Assistant District Attorney Phil Grant said.

Michalk recused herself from the case because it involves Gilbert, another judge, said her court coordinator, Sidney Scott.

“It’s common practice in cases like this,” she said. “It removes all appearances of impropriety. We want to make sure she gets a fair trial.”

Michalk requested that Judge Olen Underwood, presiding judge of the Second Administrative Judicial Region of Texas, assign another judge to the case, Scott said. He selected retired Judge C.T. Hight, who formerly presided over the 75th state District Court in Liberty County.

Attribution:

Siegel turns self in; Michalk recuses from case
Nancy Flake
March 22, 2012
Your Houston News
http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/courier/news/siegel-turns-self-in-michalk-recuses-from-case/article_150af64a-1830-591a-a7c4-fe04da558cf7.html

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  • Samantha

    Tracey Gilbert is in my mind a very bad man… My ex and him are old High school friends and my ex is an alcoholic… To make the story short I can’t protect my children from him bc he knows Tracey Gilbert.. Counselor that I will not name is involved as well and judges… It isn’t about children’s safety… It is all about who you know… Very sad system we have in Montgomery county Texas.