Travis Lutze and Bob Thomas
In early January, CLEAT was successful in representing Harris County Detention Officer Travis Lutze in an appeal of a five-day suspension without pay.
After a Sheriff’s appeal hearing, the five-day suspension was reduced to a non-disciplinary letter of reprimand and the five days’ pay was reimbursed.
CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas represented Officer Lutze.
Pictured left to right; Detention Officer John Carter, CLEAT Attorney Bob Thomas, Detention Sgt. Joe Carpenter and Detention Officer Patricia Jordan.
In three separate hearings, CLEAT was successful in representing the three officers in appeals of three-day suspensions.
One of the suspensions was expunged; one was reduced to counselling and the third suspension was reduced to a one day suspension. Further, each of the officer’s disciplinary probation was reduced to previous time served.
Pictured above from left to right; Detention Officer John Carter, CLEAT Attorney Bob Thomas, Detention Sgt. Joe Carpenter and Detention Officer Patricia Jordan.
CLEAT and the San Antonio police union won a major victory Dec. 7 when the judge in the city of San Antonio’s lawsuit against police ruled that the evergreen clause that is keeping everyday officers paid and covered by health insurance is fully legal.
The ruling by visiting Judge Martha Tanner validates the argument CLEAT and its legal team has been making for more than a year that the city must quit its posturing and bargain in good faith with the officers who protect and serve Texas’ second largest city. CLEAT is committed to winning this fight no matter the cost. San Antonio taxpayers have already paid out more than $2 million in fees to its lawyers on this ill-advised battle.
“We are looking forward to completing an agreement that benefits the citizens of San Antonio as well as the hard-working men and women of the San Antonio Police Department,” said CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison.
Sarah Petersen and Nadia Stewart
Sarah Petersen, a police officer from the small Burnet County town of Cottonwood Shores, was at recent CLEAT-sponsored training event when she struck up a conversation with Training Coordinator Chris Jones about a workplace issue she was having.
Jones advised her to contact CLEAT Staff Attorney Nadia Stewart, who was on her first day back at the office after maternity leave. And she was quick to give the officer, and CLEAT member, the help she needed.
“Nadia is fantastic. I’m so impressed with CLEAT — it’s almost indescribable,” Officer Petersen said in a message to CLEAT.” Very few times in my life I have ever felt protected or secure. But CLEAT’s response to me has been honestly more than I could imagine. Read More »
Officer Ben Shirley and Attorney Bob Thomas
CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas has won reinstatement through arbitration for Port Arthur Officer Ben Shirley.
“The arbitrator reinstated Ben and reduced the suspension to a 15-calendar-day suspension; which is what we pleaded for in the pleadings, the hearing and post-hearing brief,” Thomas said.
Officer Shirley was terminated for an issue pursuant to the Brady/Morton act, Thomas said.
This is the third successful reversal of a termination in which Thomas has represented a Port Arthur Police Officer in the last two years. He has won approximately $250,000 in back pay and benefits for these three officers.
Photo by KXAN News Austin
CLEAT is calling the recent dismissal of a legal case for one of its members a huge legal victory.
Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed manslaughter charges against Austin Police Department Detective Charles Kleinert who was involved in a deadly shooting while on duty in 2013.
“The court’s decision to dismiss this case is 100 percent correct. This state criminal case should never have been brought. State prosecutors cannot bring criminal charges to second-guess, Monday morning quarterback, or micromanage the conduct of a federal officer in carrying out his or her duties. This is a basic rule that comes from the federal-state system put in place by our country’s founders,” said Randy Leavitt, an attorney hired by CLEAT to represent Kleinert.
“The death of Larry Jackson was an accident that occurred because Mr. Jackson actively resisted Mr. Kleinert’s efforts to arrest Mr. Jackson for a federal crime. This accidental death would not have happened if Mr. Jackson did not commit a crime, and it would not have happened if Mr. Jackson had not resisted efforts by a federal officer to arrest him for that crime,” stated Leavitt.
Just days after the shooting, CLEAT leaders meet with Attorney Randy Leavitt. Then APA President Wayne Vincent, Leavitt, CLEAT General Counsel Michael Rickman, CLEAT President Todd Harrison and CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison
“It is our hope that the District Attorney will accept the court’s ruling. In the event Ms. Lehmberg decides to appeal, we will vigorously defend the federal court’s correct decision,” he stated.
Austin Police Association president Kenneth Casaday. Photo by Austin Chronicle
“This is an example of the benefits of being a CLEAT member,” said Charley Wilkison, CLEAT Executive Director.
“We will fight for our members regardless of the odds. It doesn’t matter if it’s a high profile case or if it’s an uphill legal battle,” he said.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Officer Carlos Franco was the subject of a months-long IA investigation into allegations he made inappropriate remarks to another officer.
Although Officer Franco had served 17 years at the Sheriff’s Office with what the arbiter described as a “spotless” record, the Sheriff was determined to fire Franco because he had provided multiple statements admitting to some allegations but denying others. Read More »
Bob Thomas and Mike Stancill
CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas represented Harris County Detention Officer Mike Stancill in a long-delayed civil service hearing last week in downtown Houston.
Officer Stancill was terminated in January and had to wait nine months for the hearing.
But after that contested hearing, the Commissioners voted unanimously to reinstate Officer Stancill.
From the San Antonio Express-News:
James M. “Jimmy” Willborn believed in helping others.
As an officer with the San Antonio Police Department, Willborn went beyond protecting the public, working with the San Antonio Police Officer Association (SAPOA), and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) to help obtain better pay, benefits and equipment for his fellow public servants, and starting the local Blue Santa organization to help needy families during the holidays.
“He really worked hard to make things better,” his daughter Donna Willbornsaid. “He left this world a much better place.”
For the full report click here.
From left: Salih Hankins, Bob Thomas, John Gomez, Frank Spicher and Ben Leal
CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas successfully represented four detention officers employed by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office who were all disciplined as the result of one incident involving an inmate.
After Salih Hankins, John Gomez, Frank Spicher & Ben Leal, all members of the Sheriffs Employees Organization of Harris County and CLEAT, were notified of their discipline, they contacted CLEAT’s Bob Thomas. Read More »