Activists file complaint against judge, ADA

December 17, 2009 12:11:02 PM PST
Some civil rights groups held a press conference this morning, calling for the removal of a Harris County assistant district attorney. It's for actions allegedly taken in the case of one of two female Houston firefighters, who said they found racist and sexist graffiti at their fire station over the summer. This has to do with the handwriting samples taken from veteran firefighter Jane Draycott. Apparently a judge issued an order allowing law enforcement to take her into custody in order to get that handwriting sample. The civil rights advocates we talked to said it shouldn't have happened that way.

Jane Draycott was compelled to give a handwriting sample by investigators looking into charges of harassment made by her and a fellow female firefighter. The alleged sexual and racist workplace harassment happened at HFD station 54 earlier this year. Graffiti was found on the walls and a photo of Draycott and her deceased daughter was defaced.

A local civil rights attorney has filed a judicial complaint against Judge Susan Brown saying that without probable cause she ordered Draycott taken into custody by law enforcement for the sample.

"Criminal case pending, there was no search warrant involved. There was no arrest warrant involved," said Randall Kallinen with the American Rights Association. "The brightest legal minds I could dig up said that she had no jurisdiction to do this whatsoever."

Draycott did give that handwriting sample voluntarily. Judge Brown told Eyewitness News she is unaware of the complaint but is looking into it to provide a response. In addition, these activists have called for action against the assistant DA involved, Jennifer Devine. The DA's office has not given us an official response about Devine. Kallinen did provide a letter which appeared to be from the DA's office, addressing the issue, saying the DA's office did not think any laws or ethics violations had been made.


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