Law Review

‘I’m so impressed with CLEAT — it’s almost indescribable’

Sarah Petersen and Nadia Stewart

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 »

Posted by November 23, 2015

CLEAT gets termination overturned for Port Arthur officer

Officer Ben Shirley and Attorney Bob Thomas

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.

Posted by November 11, 2015

Major CLEAT legal victory in Kleinert case


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

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.

Posted by October 30, 2015

El Paso County Sheriffs Officer wins job back thanks to CLEAT


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 »

Posted by October 23, 2015

CLEAT wins back job for wrongly fired Harris County officer

Bob Thomas and Mike Stancill

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.


Posted by October 19, 2015

Willborn was champion for public servants

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.


Posted by August 13, 2015

CLEAT legal victory for Harris County detention officers


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 »

Posted by July 30, 2015

CLEAT Legal gets job back for San Antonio officer

Officer Garza and Bob Leonard.

Officer Garza and Assistant General Counsel Bob Leonard.

San Antonio Police Officer Michael Garza was never so happy following his return to full duty after a nearly three-year absence.

In July 2012, Officer Garza was involved in a fatal shooting. During the investigation, it was discovered that Officer Garza had committed some department policy violations. However, instead of receiving appropriate discipline, the department terminated his employment.

CLEAT Assistant General Counsel Bob Leonard immediately filed an appeal on Michael’s behalf. Following a lengthy criminal review by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, a four-day arbitration was held in January of this year. Read More »

Posted by July 29, 2015

Legal victory puts wrongly fired Port Arthur officer back to work

Officer George Clark with CLEAT"S Bob Thomas.

Officer George Clark with CLEAT”S Bob Thomas.

Port Arthur Police Officer George Clark was wrongly fired in November 2014.

CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas appealed to a hearing examiner and conducted a hotly contested arbitration hearing, and then he submitted post hearing briefs.

Bottom line: The arbitrator reversed the termination and reinstated Officer Clark with all back pay and benefits.

Posted by June 23, 2015

San Angelo officers cleared in shooting of armed domestic violence suspect

Officers Roger Spearman and Michael Peterson

Officers Roger Spearman and Michael Peterson

The two San Angelo police officers who opened fire on an armed man who presented a grave threat to both police and the public last year have been cleared by a grand jury.

The officers, Roger Spearman and Michael Peterson, were among the respondents to a domestic call on Sept. 11, 2014. A woman complained that her estranged husband had come to the office and assaulted her and pointed a gun at her head.

The officers made sure that the woman’s children were safe, monitored the area and looked for the attacker to make sure he could not return to harm the victim or her co-workers.  Read More »

Posted by June 22, 2015