Brazoria County District Clerk's Office under investigation over 'irregularities' in jury process

The DA's office has received information that leads them to believe jury panels may have been assembled improperly.
BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Rangers are being called in to investigate after the Brazoria County District Attorney's Office found out about potential "irregularities" in the district clerk's office, specifically regarding the jury assembly process.

On Wednesday, Aug. 25, the Brazoria County District Attorney's Office announced it had received information that leads them to believe jury panels may have been assembled in a manner "inconsistent with applicable statutes and law."

The following day, the district clerk in question, retired.

In a statement sent to ABC13 on Friday, Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said, "The law requires jurors to be selected at random and it is this process that is alleged to have been conducted improperly."

Selleck also announced that he requested the assistance of the Texas Rangers Public Integrity Unit to help investigate the matter.

Meanwhile, community activist Quanell X is now working with families who say their loved ones trials were impacted by how these juries were assembled.

"We have identified four families whose loved ones were tried by all white juries," said Quanell X. "There are cases, I believe, will have to be overturned because of purposed racial bias, on purpose, against those defendants."

As ABC13 works to learn more about the nature of the alleged "irregularities," another question remaining has to do with what this could mean for the people tried by juries who may have been assembled improperly.

"If it was something where these were truly, not-randomly-drawn perspective jurors, that could mean that every single jury that was put together, every panel for every defendant or plaintiff, whoever it may be, under the watch of this district clerk when it was done improperly, would probably, almost assuredly, would be entitled to a new trial," explained Steve Shellist, ABC13's legal analyst.

According to the Brazoria County website, the clerk in question was elected in 2010.

At this point, we do not know how long these alleged irregularities may have been going on.

"What is important about this whole thing is that juries and jury selection is the bedrock of our justice system," said Shellist. "When that system has been corrupted, or affected in any way, my God, may God help everybody because that is what stands between a person potentially going to prison for life or getting the death penalty."
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