Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia Hit Where It Hurts

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Photo by Chris Curry
Adrian Garcia -- Not so open?
John Denholm, a former Harris County sheriff's deputy turned lawyer, knows how to push buttons.

And he's done it again, filing a lawsuit that hits right at Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia's point of pride -- an open and transparent administration.

Denholm is seeking an injunction, saying Garcia has consistently refused to release public information in regards to two officers who are in court over their dismissals. Time-consuming requests by the sheriff to the state AG's office on whether stuff could be released were typical, the court documents say:

Various items have gone missing. Some requested items (audio CDs) were claimed to have not existed or were missing but were apparently found after this office's inquiry into the matter.

It would lead one to conclude somebody finally got serious about looking for the material after the AG inquired about it.

The filing says that Garcia's spokesman Alan Bernstein, identified as "a respected former reporter" for the Houston Chronicle, made statements that prove the department was hiding information.

Bernstein says the sheriff and county attorney have not seen the suit and therefore will not comment.

"I confirm that I am a former reporter," Bernstein tells Hair Balls.

Update:
From Bernstein, May 12:

One of the two former sheriff's officers listed as plaintiffs in last week's lawsuit against the sheriff over open records is former Lt. Louis Guthrie, fired for a 2008 incident in which he directed the application of crime tape to a busy car wash that his wife had accused of taking $17 from her vehicle.

Today the Sheriff's Civil Service Commission, an independent body whose members are selected by the DA, Commissioners Court and the sheriff, denied Guthrie's request for reinstatement after hearing from him and other witnesses.

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Bob
Bob

The practice of failing to follow state law continues to plague the Sheriff's Office with continuing to not conform to 614.023 of the Texas Government Code. For someone who claims transparency things are as clear as mud.

Harris County Deputy
Harris County Deputy

Sheriff Adrian Garcia and His Command Staff Are The Worst. As A Deputy at Harris County I know Adrian Garcia Hides And Lies To Everyone. Mr. Bernstein Spins All The Real Facts so the Media Never Knows The Real Truth.

Harris County Voters DO NOT VOTE FOR ADRIAN GARCIA

Ali4beach
Ali4beach

The story gets better and unravels. Louis Guthrie took action for the wrongful termination by suing, claiming that Adrian Garcia singled him out for unjust punishment and the Judge (Baker) hasnt issued a ruling after the case has essentially sat for a year, other than one prohibiting Guthrie from intoducing evidence. As the clock ticks, her campaign website from 2010 shows she's a member of the Mexican Bar Assn AND the Mexican Sheriff's Assn, funny. Adrian Garcia ia a Mexican Sheriff! He wrongfully terminated Guthrie on Cinco de Mayo no less, most likely to show him how he felt about Louis' immigration policy. Being Republican, what's Caroline Baker's immigration policy? This six degrees of separation thing is bizarre

Robert Goerlitz
Robert Goerlitz

There has been nothing said about this in a while. The Texas Attorney General disagreed with the Sheriff and told him to turn it over. Another stall tactic down the tubes for the Sheriff and Mr.Bernstein. This clearly shows the Sheriff is attempting to purposely withhold information.

More lawsuits have been filed against the Sheriff and more are in the works. Transparency? Just another broken promise.

Robert Goerlitz
Robert Goerlitz

There were several things brought out in that hearing. I was present, as Mr. Bernstein was, at the hearing. It was shown how the Sheriff's Office had kept records hidden and were caught lying of their existence. The investigator did not recall speaking with the County Attorney's Office during their investigation of the missing records which suddenly appeared when the Texas Attorney General's Office became involved. It was also shown how even though the Sheriff, Adrian Garcia, filed a motion saying he had no knowledge of the details of the incident and did not make the decision to fire him, there was testimony, under oath, of the Sheriff making the decision to fire Guthrie. The hearing raised more questions than answers.

It was a 2 to 1 vote to uphold the Sheriff's decision. With the appointments being made by the Sheriff, District Attorney and Commissioners Court, it is clear it is the fox watching the henhouse when it comes to righting the wrongs of the Sheriff. Who appoints the Civil Service Commissioners to be the advocate for the employees which is what the Civil Service Commission was designed for? No one does.

John C
John C

I think Mr. Bernstein was making a small, self-deprecating joke.

Reeseman
Reeseman

Meaning he is not confirming the 'respected' part.

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