Jenkins: Dallas County Deputy Constables Faked Visits to Serve Notice of Evictions, Civil Suits

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CountyCommissioners_sorry.jpg
Patrick Michels
Sorry, from all your friends at the Dallas County Commissioners Court
If you've been evicted without a heads-up in the last two years or so, Dallas County would like to apologize.

This morning, County Judge Clay Jenkins and commissioners John Wiley Price and Maureen Dickey did so in person at the County Administration Building, where they announced the findings of a five-month internal audit. It appears as through at least 25 deputy constables have been finessing records of civil service papers -- specifically by skipping the part where they actually try to serve the papers.

Commissioners didn't offer too many details -- they'll discuss this further in closed session on Tuesday -- but did say the biggest effect this likely had was on eviction notices. Instead of making three attempts to serve an advance warning to folks about to be evicted, the investigation suggests some deputy constables simply signed an affidavit saying they gave it their best shot, which resulted in people being tossed from their homes without time to rustle up some money or make other plans.

The county was able to investigate the deliveries thanks to GPS units in the deputies' cars, which, Price said, were installed "almost two years ago -- to the chagrin of a lot of the constables." Jenkins said they'd be turning over their report to the Dallas County District Attorney's office, but they won't be able to double-check any service records before those GPS units were installed.

Commissioners offered somber apologies; Dickey and Jenkins especially looked as though they might have just run over your puppy. The county sent out four media releases prior to this morning's event, including one close to midnight, offering no details but making it clear this was a big deal. Today, Jenkins said they wanted to be as upfront with the public as possible, especially after the events of last year.

"This is doubly disappointing," Dickey said, "kind of like another black eye."

Jenkins also stressed that there's no evidence that any elected officials -- constables or others -- knew deputies had been falsifying the records. "We're not complicit," Price insisted.

"What this is going to reveal is that this is throughout the system," he said. "The public is going to be extremely surprised at where the lion's share of this occurred."

Jenkins said the 25 deputies spotted in the audit so far will be placed on immediate administrative leave with pay. If the D.A.'s office prosecutes them, Jenkins said, the most serious offense they'd face would likely be aggravated perjury. Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who rushed back from Austin to be there, said she'd help make sure her deputies help share the burden.

Price said Constable Derick Evans helped kick off the investigation last December after hundreds of constables were let go. Price said Evans "brought this to your attention," while the court administrator and the auditor's office investigated as well. "To his credit," Price said, Evans "had some concerns about the rest of his workforce that was left. He began to look in and made some discoveries that were unsettling to him."
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36 comments
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Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Is that the three stooges (Moe in the middle there)?    Perhaps they should take crying lessons for the speaker of the house Bayner.   Ohhhhhh I am soooooo sorry because our employees are crooks and should be in jail.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Commissioner need to put elimination of Constables office on ballot for next election. What is wrong with this picture,Dickey looks like she is asleep,County Judge Price has command of floor,as Commissioner Jenkins talks as if no one explain to him what was happening. Goodness Dallas County is in trouble. 

Facts
Facts

What about the Sheriff Deputy who wears a house arrest ankle bracelet while on duty....guess Price and Jenkins have a way of balancing the budget now. 

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

The gross incompetence started with the DISD and spread swiftly to the Dallas City Council and to the county government.  It seems like they all want to emulate this gross incompetence.  This is a disgrace (one of a long list of many).   What is happening to our local government?    There seems to be a class of people who are with out shame or with out moral ethics.  They are the ones in office and those who are their direct working associates.     

Jerry Minkins
Jerry Minkins

that's what happens when incompetents vote for incompetents 

Travissimpkins
Travissimpkins

I would like to know who to contact regarding this. I lost my house in September November last year after 5 years. My notice was broken window, changed locks, and almost half of my possessions being stolen/trashed.... I tried to even report this to the Dallas pD and was told I couldn't even file a complaint.

Jay
Jay

This is a very big deal folks. Dallas County could be looking at almost unlimited lawsuit liability here. Has anyone else about had enough of these rogue JP's, Constables, and their deputies?

scottindallas
scottindallas

What are the damages?

Timmy
Timmy

Pay your rent and you don't get evicted - probably didn't come as a mystery to to many of the folks kicked to the curb.  Having said that, the constables need to be put in jail. 

Melissa
Melissa

Anyone who didn't get served and thus did not show up for a court date could have ended up with a default judgment against them.  They would be eligible for new trials and possible reversal of any actions that were taken because of the default.

RS1963
RS1963

 The Dallas County Constables (both elected and hired) continue to be a total embarrassment. You would think we lived in backwoods Kentucky (hell, backwoods Texas). Is this what we end up with because we don't pay enough to hire quality law enforcement personnel? Or is the corruption so inbred that pay doesn't matter, it's just "how we do things"?

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Its the coruption.   All levels of government! 

gothehelloutatejas
gothehelloutatejas

The Dallas County Constables are stretched too thin as it is, give them a break! They have to do all the dirty work harassing, excuse me, neutralizing, problem citizens, and of course, running a car theft ring takes time too.

FatFreddie
FatFreddie

They were too busy trying to raise revenue for the county by writing traffic tickets. If the constables had stuck to what they were originally designated for at least some would have been served.

As for " "We're not complicit," Price insisted", This is Bullshit! They are in charge of County Govenment and as such, are responsible for all actions of the County and County employees.

If some County Commisioners would do their jobs they were elected to do and paid for, instead of enrichening themselves via shakedowns (I wish I could drive a Bentley!) and other questionable activities, we might be able to have decent government.  

MattL1
MattL1

Who drives a Bentley?

rudekarl
rudekarl

JWP gots himself a Bentley, and no visable signs of support - like a regular job. 

Barney Gumble
Barney Gumble

Why did the Polyphonic Spree acolyte photobomb this pic?

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

So the commissioners forwarded the complaints to the district attorney... I suppose Watkins will sit on this one too, citing it would be a conflict of interest to prosecute the constables he is also sworn to defend.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 Hey JWP, when the troops screw up, the generals are culpable.  Can't have it both ways.

Rico
Rico

I thought we couldn't say "black eye" any more. 

Heywood U Buzzoff
Heywood U Buzzoff

 White people -- all going to Hell.

JWP complained about the use of the phrase 'black hole' as being a pejorative against African Americans and now clams carte blanche to white wash away any criticism.

Black Hole
Black Hole

Why does everything bad have to be black? 

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

 When a business is "in the black" it means it is making a profit.  That's good.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

 How did JWP let Dickey's "another black eye" statement pass without getting all uppity? 

Why's it gotta be a black eye? Why can't it be a pink eye?

Montemalone
Montemalone

 We need us some injuns on the couonty board, then they'd have red eye.

Rico
Rico

Beat me to it DR. 

Betty Botter
Betty Botter

 Hmm. Maybe they should put the deputy constables under investigation on leave WITHOUT pay. If found innocent, somebody could be sent out to hand them their back pay.

Montemalone
Montemalone

 But whomever was sent to deliver the back pay would probably just keep it and sign an affidavit saying they tried to deliver it but no one was home...

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Wonder if JWP has his hand up Howdy Doodys puppet hole in that pic ;)

All kidding aside, looks like the country is about to open themselves up to a major lawsuit, which in a way is deserved. Im not buying the "didn't know" argument. Also, maybe its time we start removing some of the country constables powers of enforcement and place that in the hands of the respected cities in the county, in particular when it comes to evictions.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

If I cant use the excuse that" I didnt know" when  I was breaking the law neither can the county.  Heads need to roll, lawsuits need to be filed and penalties enforced upon those who cheated the system.  If they claim to have made those attempts and charged time to the department then that is fraud in and of itself.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

But look at that picture! Can't you tell that they're extra super sorry! Don't you know that that makes it OK?

Nick R.
Nick R.

Best photo of Dallas officials of the year.

G_David
G_David

Looks like THE worst Peter, Paul and Mary tribute band you'll ever see. 

Guest
Guest

This is not a new problem. Almost 30 years ago, my Dad had a duplex in DeSoto that he rented out half of while my grandmother lived in the other half. The couple living in the rented half failed to pay for several months, so he attempted to evict them. According to all available evidence at the time, no one ever served the couple with the eviction notice (though, now that I think about it, I don't know how we knew that no attempt was ever made), but the County took the money just the same.

TimCov
TimCov

 This is further evidence that the deputy constables need higher standards and stricter supervision. What other duties did these people sign off on that were not done?

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