Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

DWI Hit and Run Arrest of District Attorney Clay Ballman.

Unedited Borger, Texas Police dash cam video showing the arrest of DA Ballman after hitting another vehicle driven by Gina Holland. The teenage girl followed the intoxicated DA while calling 911 until his car came to a stop. Count the number of times the police ask the "Boss" to get out of his car. Would the police be that patient with an ordinary citizen?

More Trouble for Troubled DA!

(7-10-06) New controversy concerning Hutchinson County District Attorney, Clay Ballman.
According to an incident report obtained by NewsChannel 10, Ballman was found intoxicated in the parking lot of the county courthouse in Stinnett back in May.
The report states Ballman and an unidentified attorney from Amarillo were drinking...and had to be driven home by a Stinnett police officer...
because Ballman was quote "intoxicated to a degree that he was a danger to himself and/or others."
It was July of last year when Ballman, who represents the 84th district, plead guilty in a Vega courtroom to a charge of driving while intoxicated. Ballman was taken into custody in May of 2005 following a hit and run incident in Borger after he hit a car driven by a teenage girl. Ballman was charged with the DWI which is a Class B Misdemeanor.
Then in September of 2005, the mother of the girl Ballman hit presented a petition to remove Ballman from office based on Section 87 of the local government code, which states a public official may be taken out of office for intoxication on or off duty.
That petition has been challanged by Ballman's attorney and the hearing on the matter was postponed in January of this year, no new date for that hearing has been set.
No new charges have been filed in the latest incident.

Channel 10 CBS Affilliate Amarillo, Texas

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ballman Petition Challenged

(01-20-06)A petition filed to remove 84th District Attorney Clay Ballman is facing a legal challenge.
Ballman's attorney is claiming that only the county attorney may file a petition to remove him from office.
D-A Ballman was convicted for driving-while intoxicated in a hit-and-run accident last spring.
Betty Holland, the mother of the accident victim, circulated the petition to remove Ballman from his position last September.

Channel 10 CBS Affilliate...Amarillo, Texas

Friday, January 12, 2007

Prosecutor sidesteps applying Texas law for removal.

Paper: Houston Chronicle Date: Tue 01/24/2006
By MARK BABINECKStaff

When special prosecutor Kent Birdsong won a guilty plea against Texas Panhandle district attorney Clay Ballman for drunken driving last summer, he promised not to pursue Ballman's removal from office.
However, because a Hutchinson County woman has petitioned to oust Ballman because of the DWI conviction last July, Birdsong is faced with a choice between potentially violating his word or the spirit of state law. "I need to let the court know that 's what I told the defense counsel," Birdsong, the county attorney in Oldham County, said Monday. "I'm trying to avoid the appearance of impropriety."
Birdsong initially was appointed to handle the criminal case against Ballman, who was arrested May 12 after a minor hit-and-run collision with the 17-year-old daughter of Borger resident Betty Holland. Ballman's conviction resulted in a $2,000 fine and a four-day jail sentence.
That wasn't enough for Holland, who insists that Ballman lose his job. Employing seldom-used Section 87 of the Texas Local Government Code - which prohibits intoxication by elected county officials - she sued for Ballman's removal.
Holland told the Houston Chronicle last week that she was unable to find a lawyer to represent her and feared the case could die next month because of a motion to dismiss filed by Ballman's attorney, Mike Sheffield.
However, Birdsong said Monday the next move is his, and there's no chance a procedural deadline will kill the lawsuit. "When I handled the criminal matter, I told the defense lawyer I would not pursue removal," Birdsong said. "A removal suit has been filed by a citizen, and I don't know that I can get off (the case)."
In a news release last week, Sheffield trumpeted Birdsong's initial promise, made before Holland sued. Sheffield also noted that Holland does not claim Ballman is incompetent or unfit for office, merely that he was intoxicated.
"He did what we attempt to instill in our children: After making a mistake, have the integrity to face the situation and admit it," Sheffield said in a statement. "Mr. Ballman did just that and was punished."
Holland, who says two Houston attorneys have offered their services, said she intends to keep seeking Ballman's ouster.
"It ain't over," she said.

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
By MARK BABINECK Staff

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."