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City ignores attorney demands

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MEGAN GRAY

The Ellis County Press

KAUFMAN COUNTY – The City of Combine has refused an attorney’s demand to release documents and property belonging to Joey G. Dauben, arrested Monday, Sept. 14 on false charges filed on him by a reserve police officer .

Dauben, a former news editor for The Ellis County Press, was accused of three felonies stemming from a mug shot he posted on his blog, The Ellis County Observer.

Those felonies – engaging in organized criminal activity; misuse of official information; obstruction or retaliation – were rejected by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office on Friday, Sept. 18.

Dauben was released from Grafton County Jail in New Hampshire on Friday, Sept. 25.

John Allen "Jay" Hoskins, a Combine Police Department reserve officer requested a "leave of absence" following an auto accident shortly after felony charges against Dauben and a former Bardwell police chief were rejected by Dallas and Tarrant County prosecutors.

City officials were notified by Dauben’s lawyer intending to sue for civil rights violations several weeks ago.

Combine, located east of Ferris and incorporates both Dallas and Kaufman counties, has refused to respond to inquiries and notifications sent by Waxahachie defense lawyer Rodney Pat Ramsey, Dauben’s attorney.

According to Ramsey’s letter to Combine Mayor Keith Taylor on Friday, Oct. 16, the information obtained in a search warrant issued by a Kaufman County district judge from Hoskins’ warrant affidavit was in violation of Art. 18.02 and 38.11 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as numerous state and federal constitutional protections and should have never been released to anyone outside the police department.

Hoskins was also responsible for the issuance of a search warrant executed in New Hampshire where Dauben lived at the time, resulting in the seizure of his BlackBerry cell phone, computers, digital and video cameras, a digital tape recorder and other forms of electronic media equipment, which was used in Dauben’s official capacity as a newspaper publisher and writer.

The property still has not been returned to Dauben.

Open records requests to Combine City Secretary Karla Strachan for copies of offense and arrest reports, affidavits and search warrants were not in the possession of the city of Combine, but rather with Hoskins, a former writer for The Ellis County Press.

"Let me be clear, if the documents are in the possession of officer Hoskins, they are in the possession of the City of Combine," stated Ramsey’s letter.

"You hired him; you gave him the authority to act as a police officer; and you granted him the power to abuse that privilege when your city allowed an unpaid reserve officer to start bogus investigations without proper supervision or accountability."

Hoskins, working with former narcotics officer-turned-film star Barry Cooper, also accused and charged former Bardwell Police Chief Michael Chase Meissner on six felonies, three of which pertained to a child prostitution ring, possession of child pornography and the same charges Dauben was arrested for.

Cooper’s film crew were staged outside of Meissner’s Arlington home when arrest warrants were issued. Cooper used the event for his 2010 campaign for Texas Attorney General.

Ramsey said he is currently working with a Dallas attorney on a Federal statute "1983 claim," a remedy in civil rights lawsuits.


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