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Local Legal Briefs (Midlothian, Garrett)

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                When a warrant is “signed” by a judge, does that mean “electronic signatures” too? Such is the question that lawyers for Leslie Davis, a Midlothian resident and Constitutional rights activist, are asking as they defend a client who was arrested in an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid last year.

                Davis is accused, according to law enforcement authorities, of possessing an inert missile launcher and a small rifle, a violation of federal gun laws. Sheriff deputies assisted in the raid at Davis’ Midlothian-area home.

                Davis is currently in a federal prison in Seagoville until the matter is resolved, but a hearing last week in federal district court in Dallas was postponed over the warrant-signature issue. Local defense attorney Rodney Pat Ramsey said if the federal court makes a ruling on the issue, that precedent would set in motion for other cases to be filed upholding – or overturning – the electronic signature.

                Ramsey said numerous pleadings and filings are done electronically, but judges still have to review the affidavit before a warrant is issued.

                Leigh Hammond and her boyfriend were arrested last month after entering the charred remains of what was once a house; they are accused of stealing several items, which Garrett police charged as burglary of a habitation.

                According to Garrett Police Chief Bill Turnage, the state laws consider a burned-out house a “business.” Hammond bonded out of jail. Her boyfriend, Ronald Gene Livingston, is still in the Ellis County jail. Hammond said police are reneging on their word about helping take care of other legal matters in which she would have tickets “taken care of” in exchange for her information about local drug dealers.

                Turnage admitted to making two arrests based off Hammond’s information, but coming from a drug lifestyle has resulted in numerous legal problems for her.

                “She’s a pretty nice girl when she’s straight,” Turnage, a former Dallas police officer, said. “They got away with things for years and [new leadership] said it was time for us to [get serious about crimes].”

                Hammond accused city officials with covering up certain matters and having closed-door meetings “all the time,” but Turnage said people must question the source of those making allegations to find out the real truth.


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