Judge dismisses case against sheriff

February 25, 2008 3:07:39 PM PST
A state judge has shot down a Houston attorney's attempt to get the Harris County sheriff removed from office.Attorney Lloyd Kelley filed a lawsuit earlier this month, accusing Sheriff Tommy Thomas and former DA Chuck Rosenthal of breaking ethical rules and the law. That same day the lawsuit was filed, Rosenthal resigned from office. But Kelley pressed on with the lawsuit against the sheriff.

The court essentially said that Kelley did not back up his allegations. The law requires that Kelley do that if he wants to move a public official from office.

A visiting judge from another county says that the case had no merit, which means this case is over.

Houston Lawyer Lloyd Kelley filed a lawsuit on behalf of his clients, brothers Eric and Sean Ibarra, calling for the removal of DA Chuck Rosenthal and Harris County Sheriff Tommy Thomas. In the 10 page document, the sheriff is accused of accepting gifts and breaking the law. Even though Rosenthal is now gone from office, the lawsuit stayed alive.

Today's hearing brought Kelley to civil court to hear his case. The judge ruled quickly, saying the petition was not properly verified.

"This is very serious business, trying to remove an elected official from office and to do so -- you have to very specifically state facts on personal knowledge that you know are true and correct in order to go forward with the case," said Thomas' attorney John Keville. "Mr. Kelley's petition which he came in with this morning, 5 minutes before the hearing with an amended petition and the judge found that that was not sufficient. It did not state specific acts."

"The court denied the issuance of citation, saying it was not enough pleadings I guess to warrant even them having to answer but he permitted them to answer anyway and argue against the petition. So, I don't understand that," said Ibarra's attorney Lloyd Kelley.

The judge dismissed the case, ruling that it had no merit. Kelley says he does plan on refilling this case. As for Kelley's federal lawsuit against the Harris County Sheriff's Department that lawsuit remains ongoing.

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