HOUSTON, TX. February 27, 2013
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office today dismissed the criminal charge of barratry against Dr. Tony Ha, a Bellaire chiropractor, and two others, State Representative Ron Reynolds and Adriene Anderson. While Dr. Ha is certainly relieved that this part of the process is behind him, the dismissal of the charges is only the beginning of additional actions and decisions that Dr. Ha faces in the near future.
First and foremost is to pursue having the criminal and arrest records expunged. Texas Law permits someone such as Dr. Ha, who has been arrested and has the case disposed in his favor, to file a court proceeding that essentially requires the District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement officials to seal and otherwise destroy records of the criminal case and arrest, effectively eliminating any record of the criminal case and arrest. Both Dr. Ha and his attorney, Bob Bennett, are confident they will receive the full cooperation and support of the District Attorney’s Office in seeing to it the criminal and arrest records of Dr. Ha, Ron Reynolds, and Adriene Anderson are promptly and properly expunged.
Dr. Ha and Mr. Bennett will also be discussing whether complaints should be made to proper authorities about the actions of Wendy Baker, and her role as the head of the Barratry Task Force, including her lead investigator, Lonnie Blevins, and whether an investigation by the Texas Rangers or FBI is warranted.
Possible Civil Suit
Dr. Ha and Mr. Bennett must also consider whether the conduct of the District Attorney’s Office and its investigator give rise to claims that Dr. Ha’s civil rights were violated. Part of that decision process will include reviewing the conduct of Wendy Baker and Lonnie Blevins, and whether their failure to follow procedures by failing to return seized evidence timely, failing to provide an inventory of all items seized during the execution of the search warrant, failing to provide copies of the search warrant and related affidavit in support of search warrant timely, failing to maintain the affidavit for search warrant in the court file as required, failing to timely provide Brady material timely, including recorded statements that were exculpatory, and other related conduct and misconduct by Baker amount to violation of Dr. Ha’s civil rights.
Possible Grievance Proceeding
Dr. Ha and Mr. Bennett will also and consider whether the actions that may give rise to a civil rights claim also implicate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. When reviewing all matters to determine the propriety of filing a civil rights claim, Baker’s conduct will also be reviewed to determine whether a reasonable person would conclude that Baker engaged in professional misconduct in her handling of the Dr. Ha case, and other related cases of the Barratry Task Force. Her questionable conduct includes the items referenced above, but also her conduct in a related civil proceeding and her conduct in a grand jury proceeding. All of these actions will be reviewed to determine whether it is appropriate to report Baker’s conduct to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, State Bar of Texas. The TDRPC have specific rules relating to prosecutors and their conduct carrying out their duties.
Possible Prosecutorial Misconduct
Attorney Bennett will be discussing with Ha avenues to pursue relating to possible prosecutorial misconduct by Baker and Blevins in connection with the handling of Ha’s case. Mr. Bennett has more than 10 years of experience in dealing with issues of prosecutorial misconduct, including playing a prominent role in ferreting out prosecutorial misconduct in the Anthony Graves matter.
Despite all of these issues and decisions facing Dr. Ha at this point, Mr. Bennett insists that no decisions have been made on how to proceed, or even if to proceed at this time. Bennett reiterates that he and Dr. Ha are pleased with the decision by the District Attorney’s Office to dismiss these charges, and notes that the concerns expressed about the conduct of the District Attorney’s Office are not levied against Mike Anderson’s administration, but rather the administration of his predecessor.
Bob Bennett and Jeff Wagnon, an attorney who worked closely with Mr. Bennett on the Dr. Ha case, have already been contacted by other attorneys charged with barratry whose cases were investigated by Baker and Blevins, and have asked that attorneys, Bennett and Wagnon, assist them in getting their charges dismissed as well. These two lawyers, Ali Mokaram and Peyman Momeni, firmly believe that Blevins’ involvement in the investigation of their cases, including the execution of the search warrant at their offices, calls into question the veracity of any sworn statements and testimony made by Blevins in their proceedings, and in turn, every action taken as a result of any sworn statements made by Blevins. Both attorneys also question the motives of Baker and the District Attorney’s Office in pursuing criminal barratry charges against them, when barratry could not even be proven using the lesser civil standard of a preponderance of the evidence in a related civil proceeding. Attorneys Bennett and Wagnon hope that they can effect the same result for Mokaram and Momeni.
Bob Bennett & Associates is a Houston based law firm that maintains a statewide practice that specializes in the area of Professional Discipline Defense for doctors, lawyers and judges, and Professional Licensing Issues before the respective Medical and Law Examiner Boards. Mr. Bennett has been engaged in this specialized area for more than 15 years, and has enjoyed overwhelming success in the defense of his clients. For more information, contact Bob Bennett at 855.973.3906. See client and attorney recommendations at www.avvo.com.