The case of the two women firefighters who claimed that over the summer they discovered sexist and racist slurs written on the walls of their fire station is heating up again. And this time it involves accusations about a judge, an assistant district attorney, and a potentially improper secretive court proceeding.
Civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen claims that in July, Judge Susan Brown granted an assistant district attorney's request to allow the police take Jane Draycott, one of the women firefighters, into custody in order to get a handwriting sample as part of the investigation.
"There were a bunch of things wrong with that," says Kallinen.
He claims that neither the assistant district attorney, Jennifer Devine, nor the court alerted Draycott or her attorney about the court proceeding and only did tell them about it after Brown had signed the order, preventing Draycott from being heard. Kallinen says this violates "one of the most fundamental basic rules."
In addition, Kallinen claims that the court order does not contain a case number, party names or any of the other usual legal trappings contained in a legitimate court order.
"There's no cause number, no title, no date stamp showing it was filed with the court clerk, and it's not a search warrant or arrest warrant," says Kallinen. "The judge did not have the jurisdiction to enter the order."
Kallinen says he's filed a complaint against Brown on behalf of a number of civil rights groups with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and has asked DA Pat Lykos to remove Devine from the Governmental Integrity Bureau.
In response, the D.A.'s office issued a statement saying that the Governmental Integrity Bureau was "asked to obtain a court order for handwriting samples, in the furtherance of the City of Houston's investigation. This was carried out appropriately, as part of our responsibilities to assist law enforcement in their investigations."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.