Thursday, December 17, 2009







  Local man with tiny amount of meth gets 2 years
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–A Henderson County jury found Dylan Don Oliver, 29, of Mabank guilty of possession of a controlled substance charge, a state jail felony.
Oliver pled not guilty to the Nov. 27, 2008 charge, stemming from a traffic stop for not wearing a seat belt.
The jury sentenced him to two years, the maximum allowed for the drug charge. There is no parole for the state jail felony, so Oliver will serve the entire time.
Oliver was stopped by Texas Highway Patrol trooper Jose Gomez on State Highway 198 near Payne Springs, when the trooper passed him and noticed that he was not wearing a seat belt.
When the trooper had turned around, pulled Oliver over and approached the vehicle, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.
Oliver was ordered out of the car and patted down. During the pat-down, a syringe was found in Oliver’s pocket.
A search of the car turned up methamphetamine and marijuana.
The jury viewed the in-car video from the trooper’s patrol car showing the whole incident.
The jury also heard a DPS chemist testify that the amount of methamphetamine was weighed at .13 grams.
Under cross-examination by assistant district attorney Nancy Rumar, Oliver finally admitted it was his drugs.
“This certainly is not the biggest meth case of the year,” Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee said. “They are all important, and sometimes we have to fight this war on meth one gram at a time.”

Jeb Hensarling resigns from overseeing bailout
Monitor Staff Reports
WASHINGTON–A Dallas attorney has replaced U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling on the congressional panel that oversees the $700 billion financial bailout program.
The Dallas Morning News reported J. Mark McWatters was appointed this week by House Minority Leader John Boehner, who selects one of the group’s five members.
McWatters, 55, has been an advisor to Hensarling since May on matters related to the panel.
Hensarling recommended him as his replacement, the Dallas Morning News reported.
He called McWatters an accomplished lawyer who “wanted to spend some time of his life in public service.”
McWatters recently worked for Dallas-based investment firm HBK Services LLC and was a partner at the Patton Boggs law firm.
Since its creation this year, the panel has tried to track how the Treasury Department distributed its $700 billion bailout fund, also known as TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The fund was created by legislation in the fall of 2008.
The panel also tried to divine whether the monies helped the economy or not.
Hensarling often dissented with the panel’s findings.
He resigned after deciding the panel wasn’t a good use of his time. He said a special inspector general for TARP, Neil M. Barofsky, had accomplished more significant oversight than the panel could.
Barofsky charged the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with overpaying American International Group’s trading partners when it bailed out the insurance giant last year.
“I hope that Mark will continue to ask the tough questions, demand rigorous oversight and hopefully bring more attention to the matter than perhaps I did,” Hensarling said.
Hensarling, a Republican voice on fiscal matters and a critic of the bailout said a recent decision by the Treasury Department to extend the program for nine months and use some of the $200 billion in leftover funds to promote job creation showed that it was a “program that defies oversight”
“An emergency piece of legislation designed for financial stability is now $700 billion of walking-around money for the administration,” he said.

Court costs going up in 2010
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–The cost of going through probate, filing civil cases and being convicted of a crime are going up in the new year.
The Texas State Legislature passed a number of bills into law increasing or adding fees to the cost of going to court.
Henderson County Commissioners found themselves directed to set fees, within certain parameters, see they are collected, recorded and forwarded to the state.
Commissioners were so offended Tuesday by the mandates that three of the action items died for lack of a motion.
Of course that doesn’t mean that the citizens of Henderson County get to ignore the new fees or increases. The fees will be collected by the court clerks regardless of the commissioners’ action or inaction.
For each civil case filed with the County or District Clerk:
• a Court Records Preservation fee of $5 will be collected, also
• $5 as a Court of Appeals filing fee (this applies to every court in the county), also
• $10 for the Indigent Legal Services fee, an increase of $5, and
• $42 fee for Judicial Support, up from $37.
These changes, in addition to other fees that have not been changed, such as a $5 fee for Records Preservation, Records Management and Archiving, totaling another $15.
For all criminal cases filed after Jan. 1, 2010, an additional $4 fee for educational or technology purchases by the district or county clerks, $6 fee upon conviction, (an increase of $2) with 60 cents retained by the county and $2 court cost on all criminal convictions for Indigent Defense, which goes into effect immediately.
Indigent Defense fees are retained by the county and are never enough to cover the expenses involved, County Auditor Ann Marie Lee said.
To help the County Clerk’s Office keep up with the collection of fines and court costs, commissioners authorized the County Attorney’s Office to assist by performing the collection duties in coordination with the clerk’s staff.
In other business, commissioners:
• accepted a contract with Sprint for two air cards for the Sheriff’s Office. The $119-monthly cost was designated from the Law Enforcement Fund.
The service will allow investigators on the scene of a crime to access the Law Enforcement Database, Maj. Kevin Hanes explained.
• awarded a bid to Seven Points company K.K. Maintenance to demolish the Stowe Building, opposite the courthouse at 103 E. Tyler St.
The work is expected to begin early next week and take seven to 10 days. K.K. offered the lowest bid of $7,800, purchasing agent Sherrie Carmichael said.
• awarded the bridge construction contract to Leyland Construction.
• awarded the culverts supply contract to Morris Supply, with S and S Sales and Municipal Waterworks as backup.
• extended the fuel contract to Beckat Oil out of Tyler.
• paid two sets of bills, totaling $127,816.71 and $17,135.50.

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