Search and seizure; Blogger and activist could face criminal charges
ELLIS COUNTY - Joseph “Joey” Dauben, publisher and blogger of the Ellis County Observer, could soon be facing criminal charges stemming from multiple directions on accounts of theft and possible publication of medical records.
According to several officials in law enforcement, Dauben’s childhood home in Ovilla was one of a handful of places associated with him and part of a search warrant to seize any and all electronics on Monday, July 18 by the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office and Red Oak Police Department.
Dauben, 30, has stated on his blog he is being accused of publishing medical records.
Since the criminal investigation is still pending, District and County Attorney Patrick Wilson was not able to comment on the case citing rules of professional conduct which govern Texas attorneys.
The case could end up getting worse for Dauben.
Due to a recent Dallas Observer feature story published last week, his old Publisher Charles Hatfield Jr. learned Dauben stole an old newsroom sign of his.
“When my freelance reporter [Megan Gray] brought me the paper, I was deeply saddened and shocked he would steal from me,” said Hatfield.
“He is a liar and a thief, I am heartbroken his life has turned out this way, I had high hopes for him.”
Dauben worked as a freelancer for The Ellis County Press and during his time as a reporter with the paper, Dauben became too radical and was asked in January of 2010 to choose between being a political activist or a responsible journalist.
“Dauben chose to leave The Ellis County Press to pursue his own interest,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield has since filed a report for stolen property with the Ferris Police Department, a class C misdemeanor.
“While it may not be worth much, the sign had sentimental value to me, I had it made for my first paper in Oklahoma when I was 25, it’s older than my son.”
Since Dauben admitted to theft, Hatfield has been checking inventory he loans to freelancers and noticed other items might be missing which could lead to more charges at a future date.
As specified by the United States federal government, a person convicted of a misdemeanor offense can be imprisoned for up to a year but is generally fined in court.