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Ex-chief alleges cops writing tickets outside city limits

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STAFF REPORT

The Ellis County Press

PALMER – Former police chief Cary Scott Lynch alleges his successor, John Zaidle, and former officers of writing speeding tickets and other moving violations to motorists outside of Palmer’s corporate city limits.

Lynch, in public statements on the Internet and in e-mails to City Administrator Doug Young, Mayor Lance Anglin and others, alleges the ticket-writing in periods before and after his employment with the city of Palmer.

"I have worked for a city in the past that was hit with a class action lawsuit and ended up settling out of court for having issued citations to citizens outside the incorporated city limits," Lynch’s e-mail to city officials in January 2008 stated.

"I am not sending this communication to argue the legalities of what you have chosen to do."

Lynch’s public statements in the past week, however, have shed more light on his allegations that Chief John Zaidle, then a sergeant under Lynch, has allowed his officers to ticket motorists for moving violations outside of posted city limit signs.

Lynch, who resigned in February of last year after city council members detailed a list of infractions against him ranging from failure to wave at the mayor in public and raising his voice to employees, also alleges the city of Palmer of moving the city limit signs to locations along Interstate Highway 45 that are not part of the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction or city limits.
After several attempts and opportunities to respond to Lynch’s allegations and comments, neither the mayor, city administrator or police chief would comment.

Chart-StateLaw

Former Palmer Police Chief Scott Lynch alleges his former department of issuing speeding tickets to motorists outside of the corporate city limits. Lynch has posted several comments on the Internet publicly about his allegations.

Oct. 10, 2009

: [sic] You know, honestly after thinking about all the years that this has been going on in Palmer, I can only remember a couple of years in the past [eight] or so years that the officers were told absolutely not to work outside the incorporated city limits so that means probably at least [six] years of doing this. Hummmmm, would not surprise me if the city has taken in well over a million in illegal fines. Nice little piece of change!

Oct. 10, 2009

: [sic] I’ve got an even better question for you guys! The City of Palmer’s Incorporated City Limits on HWY 45 stops at the 260 overpass on the north and stops at the 258 overpass to the south. Yet the city limits signs are set on the highway about a mile outside the real city limit to the north and about 2 miles outside the real city limits to the south. Now, 5 or so years ago I know that the police department was issuing palmer municipal court citations in those areas outside the actual incorporated city limits of palmer. I also know that those city limit signs were not placed on the highway legally because the state of texas says their dot people did not set those signs. I have also recently seen palmer police officers sitting outside the incorporated city limits of palmer running traffic as well as many other people. My question is this, anybody ever thought about a class action lawsuit over the thousands of illegal traffic citations that palmer has written to motorist in the past decade or so because they don’t have municipal court jurisdiction outside of the incorporated city limits of palmer? What cha think Joey? I know that the practice ceased for about 3 years but then picked right back up about the time Zaidle became Chief. How bout gettin one of your Lawyer friends to look into that?

State law:

(d) A peace officer who is outside his jurisdiction may arrest, without warrant, a person who commits an offense within the officer’s presence or view, if the offense is a felony, a violation of Chapter 42 or 49, Penal Code, or a breach of the peace. A peace officer making an arrest under this subsection shall, as soon as practicable after making the arrest, notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the arrest was made. The law enforcement agency shall then take custody of the person committing the offense and take the person before a magistrate in compliance with Article 14.06 of this code.


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