Law Review

CLEAT helps wrongly fired deputy constable win reinstatement

Celeste Robertson and Richard Morrisey

Nueces County Deputy Constable Richard Morrisey has his job back, thanks to CLEAT Staff Attorney Celeste Robertson.

Despite the fact that Deputy Morrisey suffers from a serious medical condition, he was fired because the constable said he failed to call in sick an hour before his shift.

This so-called policy was issued by the constable even though it is  in direct conflict with the Nueces County Civil Service Rules.

Therefore, Deputy Morrisey was reinstated and is thankful he had CLEAT behind him.

Posted by August 12, 2014

Officer cleared in deadly shooting at Midland restaurant

From KMID News

An off-duty detective who shot and killed an armed man inside a Midland restaurant last month has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to police.

A Midland county grand jury issued a “no bill” ruling following an investigation. Back on June 27, police say Nyocomus Garnett, 35, entered through the back of La Bodega restaurant around 9:30 p.m. and went into the kitchen with a gun, trying to rob the business. Garnett then began firing the gun in the kitchen, police say.

Off-duty detective James Cox was eating at the restaurant and confronted Garnett as Garnett left the kitchen. Police say Garnett refused to comply with Cox’s demands and pointed the gun toward Cox. Cox then shot Garnett who was later pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.

For the full report, click here.

Posted by August 4, 2014

Officer’s unfair F-5 report upgraded to ‘Honorable Discharge’ thanks to CLEAT

Officer Patrick Zee and CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas.

Officer Patrick Zee and CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas.

A Texas Administrative Law Judge recently reversed an unfavorable F-5 report for Officer Patrick Zee from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe Police Department  in Livingston.

As a result of the judge’s decision, the report was upgraded to an Honorable Discharge.  The action came after a one-day contested evidentiary hearing in Houston.

Zee was represented by CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas.

Posted by June 30, 2014

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

CLEAT helps Vidor officer clear her name, win back pay

Bob Thomas and Office Cathy Braneff

Bob Thomas and Office Cathy Braneff

CLEAT staff attorney Bob Thomas helped Vidor Officer Cathy Braneff win 19 months of back pay and benefits and the ability to gain an honorable discharged after officials sought to wrongly terminate her employment.

The matter was resolved after the Vidor City Council approved a negotiated settlement with Officer Braneff. Once the settlement was reached, Officer Braneff withdrew her appeal and submitted a letter of resignation.

Posted by June 2, 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