Grits for Breakfast blog highlights Texas abuse of power case case

At Estate of Denial® we talk much about legal abuse and public corruption.  This recent Grits for Breakfast post certainly highlights a troubling story that falls into such categories.

Small-town justice: No recourse for alleged abuses of power

Check out a story of alleged abuse of power by a rural prosecutor in this recent Texas Observer story by Patrick Michels. After attorney Mark Lesher won a significant legal battle in Red River County (Clarksville) on behalf of a poor, black defendant (who’d been roped into legitimate charges against a sibling), the local DA targeted the lawyer and his wife with trumped up charges of sexual assault. In the process, the DA suborned bizarrely incongruous and likely perjurious testimony by a witness with a personal axe to grind. Even local reporters didn’t buy the prosecution’s theory: 

Lynn LaRowe covered the case for the Texarkana Gazette, and says Shannon [Coyel]‘s story didn’t sit right with her. “I just couldn’t wrap my mind around them being guilty. It just didn’t seem possible,” LaRowe says. “She had so many reasons to fabricate this whole thing, and Jerry Coyel was obviously furious with Mark and Rhonda.”

The Leshers prevailed at trial and sued anonymous commenters at a Topix user forum which had become the center of local online trolling about the couple. The most prolific posting turned out to have come from computers at Jerry Coyel’s business. The Leshers won a defamation suit only have the judge throw out the award in June, a decision that’s presently on appeal. And of course, the District Attorney has “absolute immunity” for his role in this lurid affair. The subtitle to the Observer story says it all: “In an East Texas county known for corrupt law enforcement, Mark Lesher fought the justice system—until it came for him too.” Quite a malefic tale; read the whole thing.


Small-town justice: No recourse for alleged abuses of power
July 17, 2012
Grits for Breakfast