Friday, January 12, 2007

Betty Holland can't find a lawyer.

Paper: Houston ChronicleDate: Tue 01/17/2006
Woman can't find lawyer to fight DA / She wants the Panhandle official ousted for a drunken driving collision

A woman who wants a Panhandle district attorney to pay with his job for a drunken driving collision with her daughter can't persuade any lawyers to help, and her complaint could get tossed out next month, she said Monday.
Since last fall, Betty Holland has been trying to unseat District Attorney Clay Ballman through a seldom-used Texas statute that allows jurors to remove county officials for intoxication.
Ballman is the top prosecutor for Hutchinson County and its northern neighbor, Hansford County.
"You call the attorney, and they want your name and a receptionist wants to know what you need, and you tell them," said Holland, of Borger. "Basically, they don't want the case, or they say the lawyer's (schedule is) full and can't take the case."
Holland said she has tried to hire more than 15 lawyers in the region.
One attorney acknowledged fear of reprisals the next time he worked in the courthouse, she said.
Others complained it would take too much of their time to bone up on Chapter 87 of the Local Government Code.
The four-page section allows jurors to decide whether a county official should be removed for incompetency, official misconduct or "intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage."
Neither Ballman nor his Amarillo attorney, Mike Sheffield, returned calls to the Houston Chronicle on Monday.
The conflict began May 12, when Holland's 17-year-old daughter and Ballman were involved in a collision.
Holland said the district attorney tried to flee the scene, but her daughter chased him and called 911, resulting in his arrest.
Ballman pleaded guilty in July, receiving four days in jail and a $2,000 fine. He apologized to his constituents, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
"I apologize for my poor judgment and my poor actions back on May 12. I sincerely apologize to the persons of the counties of Hansford and Hutchinson," he said
That wasn't enough for Holland, who filed for Ballman's removal last fall.
However, Holland said she has 30 days from Jan. 6 - when Ballman filed a motion to dismiss - to find a lawyer who can fight back.
"Why am I running into a problem with this?" Holland said. "They're treating this man like he's something special."

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