Welcome to Cherokee County, Texas the Official Site on Corruption

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Drug Deals and Insurance Pay Offs for all

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Bascom Bentley’s bailiff was sent to federal prison for selling crystal meth. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

Pct. 3 Constable Randall “Randy” Lee Thompson, was arrested by the FBI January 12, 2006 on federal charges of possession and distribution of pseudoephedrine, a component of methamphetamine. According to official reports “on or about Nov. 7, 2005,” Thompson “did knowingly and intentionally possess and distribute approximately 108 grams of a pseudoephedrine” which is a List 1 chemical used to create the schedule II controlled substance methamphetamine. FBI agents had videotape footage of Thompson dealing drugs out of his Jacksonville, TX residence. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) Prior to Thompson formally being charged in Tyler’s federal court, District Judge Bascom Bentley ordered an official removal hearing in Rusk with claims that Thompson never performed his elected duties despite Thompson signing for Pct. 3’s and the district court’s certified mail for years while employed full time at the TDCJ Hodge’s Unit. Constable Thompson (who was appointed by County Commissioners with everyone’s blessing) was ousted from office because of his looming federal drug case that was deliberately squelched in Bentley’s hearing. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)  In other words, they lied to keep Thompson’s well-known and ongoing drug dealing off the record; they claimed he wasn’t showing up to work. Bascom Bentley’s hearing was an orchestrated whitewash, not immediately but weeks after Thompson’s arrest and resignation. Thompson pleaded guilty in federal court on March 6, 2006. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) He released in September 2013.

Why so much corruption in such a small place?

I have been doing internet research on East Texas corruption and came across the interview of Joe Gray from Henderson, TX posted in 2001.  Mr. Gray gives detailed accounts of his experiences in nearby Anderson County and his theories about District Judge Bascom Bentley.

Judge Bentley also operates in neighboring Cherokee County and Leon County.

Joe Gray’s article states East Texas officials have generationally benefited from the ongoing narcotics trade by being involved in it at every level. Not only are federal monies under the Byrne grants siphoned off by these corrupt small town law enforcement agencies, but local officials use the Tulia Laws to grab up foreclosed property of supposed drug dealers. One of Mr. Gray’s talking points is that Bascom Bentley III owned over 600 acres in Anderson County; land he apparently did not inherit but accumulated over the years to sell off. Tulia law injustices are common and even more common are Byrne grant monies being swindled to family members and political allies.

Mr. Gray’s para-military/militia preoccupation would make his wild claims of “black helicopters” and DNA theft at the county jail seem laughable to the outside media and the US Attorney’s office, thus making him, in the eyes of local officials, the ideal candidate for property foreclosure. Those who publicly complain about the corruption have been met with law suits, police raids, and death.

In Bentley v. Bunton- Texas, in 1996 Judge Bascom Bentley successfully filed a defamation suit against a Palestine radio talk show host who called the judge “corrupt” among other things on air. If that were the case then the South East Texas Political Review whose radio talk show host calls by name the entire judiciary in Beaumont “corrupt and incompetent” would be liable (libel?) Who knows? Bentley may have just benefited by being in the system when the thousands of acres in Palestine and surrounding areas were seized and put up for sale. Being a district judge may have given him first shot at low bid at the Sheriff’s Auction.

Whatever the basis of Joe Buntly’s “personal vendetta” against the Anderson/Cherokee County judge, the fact remains the legal and law enforcement system operating with the corrupt Dogwood Narcotics Task Force out of Palestine, has branched into drug dealing. And under Tulia laws, a simple accusation results in forfeiture of property. The rest of Texas is shying away from this practice and there is now legislation to reign in these rouge anti-drug task forces. It took Governor Rick Perry to pardon 35 innocent defendants convicted under Tulia laws, while the good ol’ boys who prosecuted them ‘retire’ to Lake Palestine and Lake Jacksonville (with a little extra cash and land).(Source: CBS News)

The drug trade in neighboring Cherokee County involves local constable precincts, not the district courts per se. The district courts are involved in more personal enrichment schemes, like sexual blackmail of enemies and phone tapping. Typically Anderson County probably does not operate the same as its twin sister Cherokee County. I would call Cherokee County the genetically defunct second cousin to Anderson County. Judge Bentley behaves one way on the record in Anderson County court and completely different in Cherokee County because he knows he is unaccountable in the Rusk, TX courthouse.

Cherokee County is simply not astute enough in its own self-worship to produce an official who would clean up the mess, without being extorted or blackmailed by the District Attorney’s office. God knows they hate people talking about them, i.e. they have convinced themselves that it is moral, albeit illegal, to tape record phone calls of citizens throughout the county. They will collectively smear and repeat any propaganda that the District Attorney tells them, not matter how ludicrous or unrealistic, for job security. Mind you 90% of them are related. What a way to make an East Texas living.

Cherokee County law enforcement turns a blind eye to its own internal drug activity while at the same time paying off drug mules and jail house snitches. It is the usual suspects, one being a former DEA agent out of the Dogwood Narco-Force and a recently “retired” Cherokee County District Attorney Investigator.

Readers should applaud that the corrupt Dogwood Narcotics Task Force, based out of Palestine is no more. The only thing the unchecked Tulia Laws created with this pseudo-agency was the ongoing drug trade by Cherokee County law enforcement. There is a vacuum of drug dealing to fill, now that these good ol’ Christian men have “retired.” It takes neighboring Smith County and the US Attorney to file charges on the current culprits while at the same time relying on the same people for drug bust quotas.

In regards to the drug dealing of law enforcement in Cherokee County; let me give you some info on Cherokee County’s unscrupulous activity to be found on the internet. These news articles list the illegal activity in Cherokee County just this year alone, in 2006!!! The firing of Constable Precinct 3 Randall Thompson who was also the Cherokee County District court’s bailiff for Judge Bascom Bentley III. Fired for not showing up for his bailiff post. Local media portrays Thompson as missing for 6 months, then gathered a constable’s hearing together the day before Thompson was indicted in federal court.

Ostensibly, the district court did not know that Constable Randy Thompson had been making and selling speed, if you believe such nonsense. Details can be found at the US Department of Justice news releases. Constable Randall Thompson had participated in all his assigned duties up to and after posting bond.

  • Chief of Police Chester Kennedy of Troup and Sgt. Mark Turner arrested by Smith County Sheriff Department for selling drugs. NO arrests by Cherokee County officials.
  • Jacksonville, TX police officer Larry Pugh molesting women during traffic stops; it takes the FBI to arrest him and charge him on 9 counts of rape and assault. AND when the guy is out on bond he tries to kill one of victims to keep from testifying.
  • More on Troup, Texas Police Chief Chester Kennedy caught tampering with drug evidence in future posts.
  • In New Summerfield, north of Rusk on Hwy 84. Chief of Police and city treasurer fired; mayor resigns after cleaning house.
  • A Jacksonville, TX woman is run down and killed in her own apartment complex. No investigation required according to current Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. The victim was a drunk ‘passed out in the parking lot.’ Beckworth offered no explanation for not bringing the case to trial; why bother to convene a formal grand jury when you know the outcome. Why even bother to NO-Bill the culprit, it’s easier to smear a hit-and-run fatality to the media.

To combat the systemic corruption, HB 1239 was written in 2004 and debated after the Tulia debacle, when 46 people were rounded up in Swisher County Texas during a drug sting and put on trial. Their properties were seized and several quick convictions handed down. The Dogwood Trails Narcotic Task Force was quietly dissolved after bad publicity leaked out about 72 indigent defendants with court appointed Anderson County lawyers being set free after their properties were seized. 60 Minutes did an expose’ in 2004 of the sham arrests in Tulia, TX.

The televised interview tells it all. Complete with gypsy cops with criminal records.

There were never any official arrests on record in Cherokee County by the Dogwood Task Force, though they conducted numerous raids. One botched raid simultaneously occurred in Jacksonville and Alto, TX, when the Force raided the wrong homes in an obvious attempt at “asset seizure.” The Department of Justice documented that the Dogwood Trails Narcotic Task Force operating under the radar in Cherokee and Anderson County reported no seized assets during the year 2002, despite having conducted numerous raids. And no arrests to back up the raids. Where did the seized drugs and money go???

In neighboring Cherokee County, the get rich scheme of choice is insurance fraud. This trend started decades ago. Fire insurance policies are underwritten as quickly as property is destroyed. Unlicensed insurance agents have frequently set up shop in small towns like Alto, TX and Rusk, TX. Any ‘claims adjustment’ is done by local law enforcement. The county has been operated for over 30 years by family members and in-laws of the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office. Namely, former District Attorney Charles Holcomb, who is now a sitting Justice on the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin.

Judge Charles Holcomb has deliberately omitted some factual tidbits from his State Bar profile about his “last big case in Alto, TX” back in 1990, in which Holcomb convicted an innocent man. Holcomb fails to mention in his profile that the 12th Court of Criminal Appeals in Tyler, which Holcomb was sitting on, reversed this conviction in 1993.

Charles Holcomb’s state bar profile on “his last colorful case in Alto, TX” should accurately read: In 1990, Cherokee County District Attorney Charles Holcomb succeeded in convincing a biased jury to convict an innocent man of murder. The victim’s CPA, Terry Watkins of Nacogdoches, was sentenced to life in prison by relatives of the deceased who were planted on the trial jury. And lied during voir dire to be seated on the case–a typical Cherokee County maneuver. Holcomb also refused to recuse himself.

After intense public outcry and scrutiny, Watkins’ attorney John Heath, Sr. (also of Nacogdoches, TX) was able to successfully petition the Tyler Court of Appeals and had Terry Watkins released 5 years into his life sentence. It was shown that “the sheriff deputy first on the scene,” as Holcomb’s publicist recalls, and the widow shared the “$800K” life insurance policy with the Cherokee County District Attorney’s Office “to hire outside state witnesses” and according to Holcomb’s statements to KTRE an investigator paid “not to solve the case.”

District Attorney Charles Holcomb not only accepted money from the deceased’s father to hire an expert witness, Holcomb also accepted money from the murder victim’s widow to hire a private investigator. In an obvious attempt at shifting the onus of suspicion away from anyone other than Mr. Terry Watkins. Or in defense attorney John Heath, Sr.’s comments to hire an investigator but “not to solve the case.” However the investigator was not allowed by Holcomb to interview the widow nor the Cherokee County Constable first on the scene. Eventually this private investigator came to Terry Watkins’ defense during resentencing. As stated earlier, the sheriff deputy as Holcomb ‘vaguely’ recalls was actually a Cherokee County Constable Precinct 2 who formally married the victim’s wife months after the murder.

The widow and Cherokee County Constable live happily ever after, splitting a murdered man’s estate, the recipients of an accurately reported $650,000 life insurance payout to everyone involved. As if Charles Holcomb, the prosecutor and now a sitting Justice did not remember. Well preserved news article of the murder trial speak volumes.

Back to Justice Charles Holcomb’s state bar profile, especially the part where he discusses “his last big case in Alto” from 1990. Charles Holcomb, as District Attorney, accepted monies from the widow of murdered business owner Jackie Hicks of Alto, TX as reported by KTRE and the Lufkin News, ostensibly to send a private investigator on a wild goose chase to south Texas. Even though Holcomb had the coffers of the state of Texas at his disposal. Even though the number one suspect would have normally been the promiscuous widow receiving the $600- $800K insurance policy taken out on her estranged husband, Jackie Hicks. Of course the widow and her lover (a Cherokee County Constable “first on the scene”) were never formally questioned nor deposed by the then District Attorney Charles Holcomb nor by his ‘investigator.’

Holcomb gives his version of events to the State Bar in an attempt to rewrite history. The fact is an innocent man was released after 5 years on the above mentioned technicalities because of Charles Holcomb’s handling of the case. The question on the jurors’ and the community’s mind was why was the District Attorney Charles Holcomb accepting money to “hire state witnesses” when he had the coffers of the State of Texas and Cherokee County at his disposal?

A double indemnity policy pays out for accidental deaths and would not have paid out in case of a homicide, another misdirection of the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office even then. Holcomb’s quick recap of the case in his State Bar profile quotes the widow “was rumored to have multiple affairs” throughout the community. Because of the number of multiple lovers of the widow that the defense called, State v. Terry Watkins (1990) was the longest running criminal trial in Cherokee County history.

Cherokeean Herald August 2, 1990

District Attorney Charles Holcomb was elected to the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler, TX and his assistant Cherokee County District Attorney, Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. continued the façade that the murder of Jackie Hicks was thoroughly “investigated.” The case against Terry Watkins received so much public outcry and so many people cried foul, that the next-in-line Alto, TX police chief Thomas Griffith was called to a grand jury.

Tyler Morning Telegraph article about former Alto, Texas police chief Thomas Griffith predicting the conviction of Terry Watkins for the murder of Alto, TX business owner Jackie Hicks would be reversed and the case reopened because:

“there are people in this area who possess information that would be very useful in this case.” Chief Griffith would eventually be drummed out of his position by Charles Holcomb’s relatives on the Alto, TX city council. Thomas Griffith had publicly maintained his belief that Terry Watkins was in fact innocent and had evidence to back up his statements. Holcomb’s former investigator would eventually become the police chief of Alto, TX, a revolving door position. Any evidence maintaining Watkins’ innocence would be ignored by Beckworth, et al, until Watkins’ conviction was overturned.

Elmer Beckworth argued for the State and against Watkins’ early release which was eventually granted. The 12th Court of Appeals reversed that conviction and acquitted Watkins in 1992 of capital murder. At a 1995 resentencing, Watkins was denied an early release and sentenced to five years for murder (he had already served over 4 years) as reported in 1996 by Charles Holcomb’s hometown paper The Cherokeean Herald.

Cherokeean Herald Feb. 22, 1996

Terry Watkins was freed by the Texas 12th Court of Appeals, with a commuted murder sentence, thereby closing the door on a local ‘investigation’ into the murder of Jackie Hicks of Alto. However, the statute of limitations is always open for the State’s Attorney to seek murder charges. If any reader has information on this conspiracy, they should contact the Attorney General’s office. Those guilty of this crime should not go unpunished, no matter whose wing they may be under and no matter how long it takes.

It may be commonplace in East Texas for innocent people to be charged with crimes committed by law enforcement, however a sitting Justice on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals lying to the State Bar about a murder case he prosecuted and lost on appeal is another thing all together. Good luck on your website and your expose’ of East Texan politics both good and bad. The narco-trade is alive and well in Cherokee County. Each time I read about one, I’ll post it for the world to see. Who knows, maybe a 6th grader in Rusk, TX might want to do a book report on local corruption or the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Or a kid in China might want to find out what’s going on in East Texas. Or a Houston or Dallas/FW based entrepreneur might have second thoughts about doing business in a county that has an entrenched history of drug dealers, rapists and murderers on the payroll.


Texas Rangers investigate Commissioners’ Court

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Do you believe the County Judge doesn’t know the results of the Texas Rangers investigation into the Pct. 4 commissioner, as he’s told the Jacksonville Progress? Even though Byron Underwood still attends Commissioners’ Court without a leave of absence and L.H. Crockett’s job is on the chopping block?

Because County Judge Chris Davis allows a couple of his buddies on Commissioners’ Court to buy tractor parts without an authorized Purchase Order, the Texas Rangers have been called in to sign off on Commissioner Byron Underwood’s recent equipment purchases. Will they disclose the fact the local John Deere supplier billed Underwood’s hay baler part directly to his Precinct?  Will they admit the part description was altered to slip it on the agenda? Or will they instead concoct a reason to blame the 80-year old County Auditor (who’s up for retirement) and shuffle them both off into the sunset with their pensions? Everything will be back to normal unless Underwood, who is still employed, decides not to go voluntarily when his election comes up. Nonetheless, it will all go away soon with the help of the local Rangers, with minimum explanation, minimum local reporting, and zero exposure or closure.

Who fires the bookkeeper during a Texas Rangers investigation unless it is agreed to keep county billing off the record?

Nothing to see here folks, keep it moving and believe someone up for retirement (who had nothing to do with the fraud) made a tiny mistake…a little oversight that happens all the time, just not worth prosecuting, that’s all. We’re out of here.

Cherokee County residents are not supposed to care how their property taxes are spent or if commissioners use their positions to establish credit lines around town. And they damn sure aren’t supposed to be talking about it on the phones being tapped that keep these people in office. Imagine if previous Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti had “mistakenly” placed a personal item on the agenda for payment consideration.

County Government Civics 101 

It is Chris Davis’ elected responsibility to monitor the county’s expenses and keep Commissioners’ family tractor parts from being paid for by taxpayers and OFF THE CONSENT AGENDA. County Judges are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the county who authorize payment of the bills; County Auditors are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who record the transactions. L. H. Crockett’s job over the years is to act as a checks-and-balance by monitoring the county’s adopted budget. After the Texas Rangers conclude their “investigation” of the Cherokee County Commissioners’ Court, guess which one will be up for retirement and scapegoated. Guess which one will be shuffled off so local news can bury the controversy? Who gets to keep their job this time?

Is County Judge Chris Davis up for “retirement?”

From The 2016 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials 

The main duty of a County Judge is to serve as the chief purchasing officer presiding over the Commissioners’ Court in counties with less than 225,000 residents. Other duties include:

  • overseeing capital and community-based projects;
  • serve as authorized signatory on contracts and agreements for the County;
  • propose and adopt the County budget for each fiscal year.

The County Auditor in Texas has oversight of all financial books and records of all officers of the County and is charged with administering the budget. Other duties include:

  • auditing the financial records of various County departments;
  • appropriation of tax funds to pay the County bills including payroll. [Source: county.org]

Cherokee County Government 101

Precinct 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood is under Texas Ranger investigation because a fellow commissioner spoke out about his $800 hay baler part being included for payment during the July 24 consent to pay agenda. In fact it was the first item on the list. L.H. Crockett did not attend the recorded commissioners’ court meeting, yet they hope you are stupid enough to believe that he is somehow responsible. He may even be willing to fall on the sword for them in order to enjoy his retirement and his standing in the beloved little community. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

That’s how Texas Ranger investigations into Cherokee County corruption usually end up and lifetime county employees martyr themselves, with pensions and health benefits included.

Remember in 2011 when the Cherokee County Auditor admitted that Commissioners’ Court borrowed $500,000 in illegal lease-purchase equipment loans? (Source: Cherokee County admits to borrowing almost $500K in illegal loans- KTRE) That public admission was not enough for heads to roll, yet you are to believe justice will be served over an $800 personal expense.

For years, Cherokee County officials say they were buying equipment with illegal loans. County Auditor L. H. Crockett says they are now doing whatever they can to fix the high dollar mistake.

Texas statute does not give counties the authority to borrow money, but that’s exactly how some commissioners, and even the sheriff, were paying for tractors, mac trucks, even patrol cars.

The loans totaled almost $500,000.00. About $115,000 will be paid off immediately by transferring money from reserve budgets. The county is working with banks to refinance the rest through lease-purchase agreements.

“Recently a couple of our commissioners went to a seminar. During the course one of the speakers mentioned that counties could not merely borrow money. They came back and one of them went to see our county attorney… He dug into it and called it to my attention,” said Crockett.

Lease-purchase agreements are allowed since the lender owns the merchandise until it’s completely paid for.

The county auditor says the rates being offered so far are actually better than they had with the regular bank loans. (KTRE– June 16, 2011)


Written by Cherokee County, Texas

08/03/2017 at 6:30 PM

Absconding sex offender strikes again

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East Texas media timidly reports the recent 20 year sentence of John Fred Stewart, age 63, for indecency with a minor – a 2nd degree felony (Source: KETK). The 7th District Court in Smith County posts the offender’s residence as nearby Arp, TX, as reported by news outlets. However, this is not a one-time offense for John Fred Stewart. The Smith County District Court has closed Stewart’s local sex offense case, leaving a few things unreported about his previous underage sex offenses. Namely because Stewart’s bond was set after last year’s indictment, even though he was a registered sex offender from another county.

Case No. 007-1659-16

John Fred Stewart, sex offender registered in Midland, TX.

FACT: this “East Texan man living in Arp, TX” is actually an absconding sex offender with a reported address in Midland, TX according to DPS records. His previous convictions include a sex offense with a minor and possession of child pornography, both charges deferred to 12 and 10 years probation. He exposed himself to underage girls, but the Smith County courts won’t expose him as a recidivist sex offender. And he was not charged with being a fugitive for absconding his supervision. Perhaps it was part of his plea from his court appointed attorney and $620 in court costs. (Source: Smith County Judicial) None of which is being reported by news networks in the region.

John Fred Stewart DOB 3/11/1954 (Courtesy DPS sex offender registry)

Apparently between March and July 2016, Stewart left Midland and did not update his address with authorities. This is yet another lifetime registered sex offender who chose to settle where he could abscond and expose himself. Child molesters can make a living sitting on local juries and acting as jailhouse snitches, with that stigma being exploited by small town prosecutors and law enforcement. We doubt the TDCAA will note Stewart’s previous sex offenses and those like him, when they gloss over Smith County district court cases.

Written by Cherokee County, Texas

06/22/2017 at 3:25 PM

County hides court records from State

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Child molesters are called to sit on Cherokee County juries.

Recently sworn in elected officials and commissioners are pressuring Austin lawmakers to keep Cherokee County court records off the state-mandated E-filing system. It’s OK for the other 253 counties to upload cases for review; Cherokee County operates in the dark. (Source: Daily Progress 1/12/17) With illegal wiretaps throughout the county, they all know each other’s dirty laundry. They also know if they get their brainwashed talking points published in the local newspapers, then they can disregard any law on the books. They can go back to intercepting each other’s emails and blackmailing one another.


A recent Court of Criminal Appeals order requires counties with populations of 50,000 to implement the mandatory criminal court filings by July 1, 2019. (Source: E-file)

According to Cherokee County Clerk Laverne Lusk, it costs too much money to use the Internet to file court records. Secondly, she claims dismissed criminal cases will remain online, even after expungement.

“Our concern is that (since) there will be a fee, it will take revenue away from the county,” Lusk said. “It’s also a concern that if a case is dismissed and needs to be expunged, that it won’t be taken off (completely) from the web.” (Source: Daily Progress 1/12/17)

The fact is most E-file legal services cost under $7 per filing or at a monthly rate of $100 for unlimited access. Are Daily Progress readers stupid enough to believe that honest prosecutors prefer to hide their cases in the courthouse basement? Or do they want botched cases to be available only to a select few in Rusk, TX designated to tamper with government documents? It’s not that they are sloppy and lazy. They simply want to hide their own collusion and relatives on their stacked juries. They want to cover their tracks and prove the Letter of the Law does not apply to them. Elmer Beckworth does not want the court record readily available to the public that shows the local pedophiles who have repeatedly been seated as Grand Jury foreman. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) It is yet another smoking gun the Attorney General chooses to ignore.

There is some pretty digusting shit being shielded from the public, such as the Harorld “Bo” Scallon network’s penchant for sadomasochistic images of young children being tortured, murdered and raped. That never stopped them from serving on Cherokee County grand and petit juries. (Source: Digital Journal) 30 years of pedophiles’ court records are sealed in the Rusk, Texas courthouse.

How many child molestation cases did Rusk HS teacher Harold “Bo” Scallon sit on and ‘No Bill’ before he was busted as a purveyor of underage porn? (Source: North Texas e-News)

download getphoto

(Source:  Rusk Cherokeean; TXDPS)

How many times has District Judge Bascom Bentley’s signature been forged “by permission” on sex offender orders?


(Source: Jacksonville Progress)

It is the responsibility of the County Clerk to report civil and criminal cases accurately and in a timely manner, whether it is a conviction, expungement, or probated will. Even if the Clerk is related to all reported Parties. Cherokee County prefers to lock court cases away from public scrutiny to cover up the makeup of illegal jury pools and the perjury of prosecutors. The same group of people has been called to sit on grand juries for the last 20 years. Civil cases are routinely heard by jurors who have vested conflicts of interest. Some jurors don’t even live in the county. Some are pedophiles. Cherokee County officials make their own rules and flout their constitutional responsibilities. Things are apparently back to normal as of January 1st.







Written by Cherokee County, Texas

01/13/2017 at 6:00 PM

Rusk Police Chief resigns after illegal wiretapping claims

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Rusk, TX:

Isn’t it against the law to give false statements to Attorney General special investigators?

Chief of Police Jamie Campbell is set to resign October 30, 2016 after the Texas Rangers conclude their local wiretapping investigation. (Source: KETKJamie Campbell is the son of Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell. During an open council meeting earlier this year, Campbell’s lieutenant accused City Manager Mike Murray of “illegally tape recording phone conversations” and “retaliation.” (Source: KETK) Upon the recommendation of outgoing Cherokee County District Attorney Rachel Patton, the Texas Rangers and Texas Attorney General’s office were called in to quell the coup. Murray was quickly and quietly exonerated while his future in Rusk, Texas politics remains in limbo. (Source: Daily Progress) After leading the local media down rabbit holes, Murray’s accusers have agreed to RESIGN to avoid further scrutiny of the wiretapping claims.

Why was the City Manager falsely accused of a federal crime?

When factions split inside corrupt small town government, their goal is to enlist more fingerpointing on one side than the other. More and more people become involved in the smear tactics until they are ALL criminally compromised. Cherokee County has reached a breaking point. They publicly divide the Rusk City Council meetings into groups, those they claim are pro-Police and those against. They have an ongoing desire to parade in the Texas Rangers to affirm that their side of the fence will be held unaccountable.

Isn’t it against the law for local law enforcement to falsely accuse someone of a federal crime?

The families of Cherokee County law enforcement have always gotten their marching orders from Sheriff James Campbell. Somewhere in the remote past, Cherokee County’s sheriffs convinced themselves it was a moral duty for their deputies to intercept telephone calls, justifiable under penalty of perjury. Always accuse your small town rivals of the same crimes you commit every single day.

Rusk, TX wiretapping is the biggest 2016 story in the region, so why doesn’t it get properly reported?

The Texas Rangers and Attorney General’s office are 100% cognizant that Cherokee County law enforcement routinely violate federal wiretapping laws. They are also aware that out of the clear blue Mike Murray has been accused of exactly what goes on in the Rusk Police and Sheriff Departments, after decades of accolades from both offices including the Skyview Unit. Knowing that the accusing parties have spilled the beans and will never kiss-and-make-up (and go back to the way it used to be for 30 years), they offer clemency. Guilty parties are advised to retire and keep the taxpayers in the dark. They turn a blind eye to the warrantless interception of citizens’ phone conversations to keep their own abetting hands clean.

Mike Murray is lucky that Elmer Beckworth is not the current DA; otherwise a jury of Jamie Campbell’s relatives would have been empanelled to convict on a fictitious statute. All with the blessing of complacent agencies in the region who make their living violating Civil Rights.

As usual, accomplices in local media are more than willing to bury their previous stories and keep the public hanging after it is discovered that they all lied. According to KETK and the iterim City Manager, following an October 12, 2016 “complaint” Jamie Campbell’s departure has been in the works for weeks with the grooming of his replacement.

Rusk Iterim City Manager Jim Dunaway said the interim police chief is Russell Pancoast, a retired police chief from Bee Cave, Texas. He will start duty Thursday morning. (Source: KETK)



Local newspapers and distractors from both sides continue to repeat the lie of “low morale in the police department” affecting the outcome of the “investigation” after being warned again by the Texas Attorney General’s office not to publicly discuss the common Cherokee County practice of illegal wiretapping. This is why there is never a straight comment or factual representation of exactly what the hell goes on in Rusk, TX. Wiretapping is a federal offense that if properly investigated would be conducted by the US Attorney’s office and not local chapters of the DPS (many of whom are former Cherokee County law enforcement). They send in the fox to count the chickens.

Illegal 3rd party phone lines pay off

Private and business phone conversations are illegally intercepted and recorded by Cherokee County law enforcement, especially by those in “retirement.” They have nothing better to do. They are paid to do so, some from the comforts of their own homes via the county’s multitude of outlaw telephone drops. They’ve been spying on each other for decades. They have no intention of ever stopping because they know they will never face federal prosecution. A true audit of Cherokee County investigator funds would show how these designees supplement their income as reserve deputies after “retirement.”


Written by Cherokee County, Texas

10/29/2016 at 8:00 PM

2 Alto, TX city hall clerks indicted for felony theft

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Alto, TX: 

Two former City of Alto clerks have posted bond after being indicted for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the city. The theft of public funds allegedly began in October 1, 2010, according to court records. The duo has been charged with felony theft by a public servant. (Courtesy KETK) The Texas Rangers began investigating the missing funds back in April after the two City employees were terminated. (Jacksonville Progress). Years and years of fishing out the City coffers has deliberately gone unnoticed.

A Cherokee County grand jury has indicted two former City of Alto employees on felony theft by a public servant charges.

Jeanie Mignon Curtis Selman, 35, of Alto, was indicted for second-degree felony theft by a public servant when the Cherokee County grand jury met on Aug. 22.

According to the text of the indictment East Texas News obtained Tuesday, the grand jury met in the 2nd Judicial District Court. The indictment alleges that Selman stole somewhere between $30,000 and $150,000 while she was employed as a court clerk by the city of Alto. The indictment states that the theft occurred on Oct. 1, 2010.

The Cherokee County grand jury also indicted another former City of Alto employee. Whittney Nicole Arriola, 31, of Alto, was indicted on a felony theft by a public servant charge as well. The indictment states that the alleged theft occurred on Oct. 1, 2010. She is also accused of stealing between $30,000 and $150,000 from the city. Like Selman, she was working as a court clerk at the time.

Each woman had a bail amount of $10,000. Both Selman and Arriola have posted their bail amounts, and they have been released from the county jail.

Back in April, East Texas News learned that the Texas Rangers were asked to look into allegations of theft that occurred at Alto City Hall, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jean Dark.

Dark said the investigation was requested by the Alto Police Department.

(Source: KTRE)

(Source: CBS 19)

Written by Cherokee County, Texas

09/20/2016 at 5:00 PM

Rusk City Manager accused of wiretapping; Sheriff Deputy under Texas Rangers investigation

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drug busts

US Attorney Malcolm Bales announces Jacksonville, TX drug raids with Dallas FBI, Sheriff James Campbell, and District Attorney Rachel Patton. (Source: April 1, 2015 Jacksonville Progress)

Like a lot of areas in backwoods East Texas, Cherokee County law enforcement illegally wiretaps and intercepts telephone conversations to conduct drug raids. For providing this information to outside agencies such as the FBI and Narcotics Task Forces, as well as assisting on drug cases for the US Attorney’s office, these small towns are given carte blanche access to any and every private citizen’s personal and business phone conversations. In fact, they are publicly rewarded for violating federal law like they do in 3rd World countries. They are advised to deny it, lie about it, and continue to provide as much information with as little legwork as possible. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department records phone calls to blackmail political opponents and quash dissent among their Good Ol’ Boy and Gal network. They catalog the locals’ extramarital affairs within the District Attorney’s office and hold each other by the balls for Grand Jury selection. And these folks have been screwing each other like rabbits since their High School days.

Who is cheating on whom these days?

With the ousting of outsider Rachel Patton for ruffling their feathers and with Elmer Beckworth returning to the District Attorney’s office in a few weeks, the uninformed public can expect the Night of the Long Knives to come out in full force. When one of them is caught not towing the County line, the fingers start pointing, the accusations start to fly, and the misdirections are set up like traffic cones to mislead the public.  Following in Beckworth’s footsteps they blame the other for their own actions.



Wife swapping and wiretapping? Who’s spying on whom? 


In an open City Council meeting on July 14, 2016 the Rusk Police Department accused longtime Rusk City Manager Mike Murray  of “illegal wiretapping.”  Lt. Brad George of the Rusk PD and others also accused Murray of “retaliation against the police force.” City council has requested a Texas Rangers investigation during back-to-back closed sessions. (Source: KETK) Murray, the local police department, TDC Skyview, and the Sheriff’s Dept. had worked together for decades without dissent. The internal feud is said to have started after the handling of assault charges against the Volunteer Fire Chief earlier this year.  Nepotism between the Cherokee County Sheriff and his son the Rusk Chief of Police, and their extralegal means of small town social control is on full display for the local media.


Clocking in at 300 + lbs., it is highly unlikely Mr. Murray is capable of scaling telephone poles and running outlaw phone drops throughout the county to eavesdrop on local drug dealers, lonely wives, and families of his political opponents; however Sheriff Campbell’s deputies and those related to law enforcement are paid to do so.

Illegal phone tapping in Rusk City Hall

Cherokee County newspapers refuse to mention the reason for the Texas Rangers investigation into Mike Murray and the charge of ILLEGAL PHONE TAPPING that Rachel Patton has recommended to the Texas Attorney General. Instead they focus on a fictitious claim of low morale among the police department and city employees for the reason Murray has been placed on paid administrative leave. (Source: Daily Progress) It takes reports from Tyler and Longview to shine the light on the common Cherokee County practice of “illegally wiretapping phone conversations.” (Source: KETK)


OK, boys and girls, let’s play a game called “Follow the Logic…”

  1. Teenage boys driving around on New Year’s Eve amuse themselves by tossing a firecracker near a local fireworks stand operated by the Rusk Volunteer Fire Chief, Donald Lankford.
  2. Pissed off Fire Chief jumps in his car and in a high speed chase into neighboring Anderson County, cuts them off several times, pulls them over and roughs up the pranksters.
  3. Fire Chief is charged with misdemeanor assault in Anderson County; pranksters are let off with a warning.
  4. Fire Chief continues to work at the Rusk, TX Fire Dept. while his case is aired on local television; some reports say he is suspended for 6 months, others say he is still employed. (Source: KETK)
  5. A “rift develops” between the City of Rusk Police Department and the City Manager according to some accounts.
  6. During an open Rusk City Council session in late July, the Rusk PD accuses City Manager of illegally tape recording phone conversations ; Rusk City Council asks the Texas Rangers to intervene and continues to hold closed door hearings to keep prying eyes out of personal vendettas.

Sources: Jacksonville Progress, KETK.

Break the Law- keep your TCLEOSE license and your pension

In yet another example of unaccountability, veteran Cherokee County Sheriff Deputy Donald Williams is asked to quietly retire July 29, 2016 after the Texas Rangers investigate a June 21st incident in Alto, TX. Unlike in other venues throughout the state, no explanation is given to reporters or required by the locals. In fact, they’ll pretend Deputy Williams never even worked there or helped get their cousins elected. Fall housekeeping is in full swing with the Texas Rangers in town to maintain the status quo.