Law Review

Legal Victory in El Paso


From Zero to Hero

Alfredo Nava was not the first Deputy in El Paso to get railroaded by his boss.  Fabricated evidence, trumped-up charges, perjury and witness intimidation seem to be perfectly acceptable methods for elected Constables to deploy when firing their deputies.  That’s because each termination must survive the Civil Service Commission’s scrutiny.

But this Constable’s case could not survive real scrutiny. Read More »

Posted by June 18, 2014

HCC officer thankful for legal help from Bob Thomas

Bob Thomas and Felicia D. Rucker-Carter

Bob Thomas and Felicia D. Rucker-Carter

Dear Charley Wilkison,

I’m writing you this letter to advise you of the outstanding job that was done by one of your attorneys. The attorney I’m talking about is Bob Thomas.

I will start off by saying that a car hit me on March 30, 2013, while I was working an extra job directing traffic. I was hurt pretty badly. I called  Houston Community College police department eight hours after leaving the hospital. Read More »

Posted by February 19, 2014

CLEAT lawyers act swiftly to clear officer after shooting

CLEAT lawyer and Fort Worth Officer Alex Hoeppner

CLEAT lawyer Vince Wisely and Fort Worth Officer Alex Hoeppner

On May 28, 2013, at about 1 a.m., Fort Worth Police Officers Richard Hoeppner and Benjamin Hanlon responded to a call involving a residential burglar alarm. While investigating the alarm call, both officers observed an open garage door in the rear of the residence with one vehicle conspicuously parked in the driveway.

Officers Alex Hoeppner and Ben Hanlon split up to perform a perimeter search of the residence. Officer Hoeppner investigated the rear of the residence while Officer Hanlon went to the front. (Related: WFAA’s interview with the CLEAT legal team)

Suddenly, a door inside of the garage opened and a man holding a gun stepped out. Officer Hoeppner immediately drew his service weapon, pointed it at the armed person, and gave repeated loud verbal commands to “drop the gun!”

Officer Hanlon heard Hoeppner yelling and he ran to Officer Hoeppner’s aid. When Officer Hanlon rounded the rear of the house, he observed a man inside the garage holding a gun at his side and disregarding Officer Hoeppner’s repeated demands to “drop the gun!” Read More »

Posted by February 3, 2014

DPS sergeant praises CLEAT’s Vince Wisely

Mark L. Rinehart

Mark L. Rinehart

A letter to Executive Director Charley Wilkison:

I am a member of the Texas Department of Public Safety serving in the Highway Patrol Division as a Field Sergeant here in Region 1. I have been a victim of the Department’s mid level management for the past year and was advised as of recently to become a member of CLEAT.

I took the suggestion of my co-worker and have found it to be beneficial to this point and wanted to take this opportunity to provide some positive feedback about the attorney that has been helping me, Mr. Vincent Wisely.

Vince Wisely

Vince Wisely

As a first-line supervisor with the Department, I understand the value and importance of being a good listener, and Mr. Wisely is just that.

My first contact with a member of CLEAT was with Mr. Wisely when he called to inquire about how he could help.

As I began to explain my dilemma and was talking for several minutes, I expected him to interrupt at any minute to attempt to offer a suggestion, but he never did. The conversation that day was helpful. As my problem has continued, I needed to ask him for some more guidance and he called me right away and listened with as much patience as he did the first time, and again offered some very helpful information. He was professional, courteous, succinct, and displayed a generous level of knowledge with my problem.

Although my issue hasn’t been resolved yet and seems to be worsening, I’m confident to know that the services of your agency, specifically Mr. Wisely will be available if needed.

Mark L. Rinehart

Posted by January 27, 2014

Port Arthur Officer Reinstated Thanks to CLEAT Legal


Pictured with CLEAT Attorney Bob Thomas is Sgt. Shawn Perron, an 18 ½ year veteran of the Port Arthur Police Department.  He was represented by Bob Thomas at an arbitration hearing after he was terminated. Sgt. Perron was reinstated to the dept. with back pay. He accepted responsibility for 4 policy violations and the arbitrator exonerated him of the fifth policy violation and reduced the termination to a 15 day suspension.

Posted by October 10, 2013

El Paso Corporal back to work with his stripes

CLEAT Attorney Jim Jopling and Corporal Figueroa

CLEAT Attorney Jim Jopling and Corporal Figueroa

The El Paso County Sheriff fired Detention Corporal Jose Figueroa over a dispute concerning activity sheets in the jail. After a one-day arbitration, CLEAT lawyer Jim Jopling was able to obtain an order that Corporal Figueroa return to work with his rank. Although Corporal Figueroa will have to serve a suspension, he’ll be back at work in the near future, with his stripes.

Posted by September 6, 2013

CLEAT Attorney Celeste Cory wins again; longtime marshall reinstated with back pay


CLEAT attorney Celeste Cory represented Patrick Gonzales, a former deputy city marshall in Corpus Christi, arguing that he was improperly terminated. The commission agreed and reinstated Gonzales with back pay; lowering the punishment to a 60 day suspension. Gonzales had worked as a deputy city marshall and acting lead marshall for over 13 years. His dedication to the department is evident, however, a new Director has been appointed over municipal court and since her appointment many people have been fired and/or resigned.

Posted by August 26, 2013

El Paso Deputy Constable ordered back to work after legal battle that went to the Supreme Court


Over 4 years ago, CLEAT lawyer Jim Jopling fought for and won a Civil Service ruling to get El Paso Deputy Constable Alfonso Frias his job back. But instead of respecting the Civil Service Commission’s authority, Constable Luis Aguilar thumbed his nose at the Commission. He refused to reinstate Frias. He said that Frias should have taken a job that the County of El Paso offered him. That job was a civilian position with the Public Defender’s office – a position that would have required Deputy Frias to surrender his TCLEOSE license and devote himself to helping DEFEND CAPITAL MURDER CASES.

Needless to say, Deputy Frias, a veteran crime fighter, declined.

Four years later, after an appeal that went to the Texas Supreme Court, the case finally went to trial. CLEAT lawyer Jim Jopling obtained a jury verdict in favor of Frias and the Judge ordered his reinstatement. It remains to be seen whether Constable Aguilar will thumb his nose at the judge the same way he did at the Civil Service Commission. If he does, CLEAT will be there, continuing to fight for Deputy Frias to the end.

Posted by August 26, 2013

KXAN: Lawyer: Inquiry into Officer’s Actions in Shooting Tainted

NadiaMediaUpdated: Friday, 02 Aug 2013, 10:20 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 02 Aug 2013, 6:03 PM CDT
Chris Sadeghi

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The police association lawyer representing the detective who shot and killed an Austin man last week said Friday confidential discussions from the internal affairs investigation were leaked to a reporter.

Nadia Stewart, an attorney with the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, took the first step toward filing a formal complaint against the Austin Police Department because she said the leak taints what is supposed to be an objective investigation. Read More »

Posted by August 5, 2013

CLEAT Stops Small Town Political Firing in Italy!


Chief Hill and CLEAT Attorney Vincent Wisely

Italy’s Chief of Police Diron Hill had been a longtime Sergeant and CLEAT member before the city hired him a couple of years ago. Chief Hill’s continued membership paid off on July 6, 2013 when he was illegally terminated by a newly elected and vindictive Mayor during a community event that was sponsored by the Police Department and coordinated by Chief Hill. Read More »

Posted by July 16, 2013