WAXAHACHIE — Due to the actions of Mike Jones, the City of Midlothian has chosen to evict Ellis County — its court and offices — from the Midlothian Police Department.
Dallas County District Court Judge Jim Jordan has also approved a suit to remove Ellis County Pct. 4 Constable Mike Jones. The petition for removal moves forward on Wednesday.
The Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office brought the suit forward, for a second time, due to pending criminal charges against Jones.
Court documents show an Ellis County Grand Jury indicted Jones Wednesday, Aug. 23 on two charges of misuse of official information, one charge of retaliation and one charge of deadly conduct. The first three charges are third-degree felonies and the fourth is a Class A misdemeanor.
“The defendant (Jones) is a corrupt public servant. The defendant has used his badge and the resources of his office for personal gain, and also to intimidate, harass, alarm, torment and embarrass prospective witnesses against him,” Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office Chief Investigator Jeff Ward wrote in the petition for removal document.
“Further, as a direct result of his crimes and official misconduct while in office, vital law enforcement and judicial operations of Ellis County in Midlothian are being shut down. Specifically, the Constable of Precinct 4 and the Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct 4, are both being evicted from their leased official places of business in Midlothian because of threats and other intemperate misconduct by the defendant.”
In an Aug. 25 letter addressed to Ellis County Judge Carol Bush, Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick outlines the conditions that led to the eviction from the facilities at the Midlothian Police Department, located at 1150 N. U.S. Highway 67.
“As you are aware, the lease space houses the Ellis County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4, his deputies and staff,” Dick wrote in the letter. “As a result of several incidents, including threats made against a city staff member by Constable Mike Jones, it is in the city’s best interest, as well as the best interest of city employees, to immediately terminate the lease agreement.”
Petition for Removal
In the petition for removal, Ward requests a motion for temporary suspension of Jones, pending the final resolution of the matter in the form of a jury trial. If granted, Ward asks for a temporary replacement to serve as constable.
The Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office filed a civil case that sought to remove Jones from office on Feb. 27. A motion for nonsuit was lodged with the 40th Judicial District Court on May 15. Dallas County District Court Judge Jim Jordan also presided over that suit.
Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson said the case was nonsuited due to the trial date for the lawsuit being so close to the date of the criminal proceedings.
“In a nutshell, the civil action had been pending going on three months now, and we were still at the status quo. The intent in filing the removal action was to try to get him removed from office as quickly as possible because of the nature of the charges against him. The statute allows a judge to remove the subject of a lawsuit, the office holder; while the civil lawsuit is pending before the determination is made regarding the permanent removal,” Wilson said previously.
Wilson stated his office is moving forward with the new suit after learning of the new evidence in the new charges against Jones. The petition of non-suit was filed with the Ellis County District Clerk's Office on Aug. 31.
“The judge has authorized the lawsuit to proceed in our attempt to remove Jones from office for the second time. It means that we will continue to work on this case,” Wilson said. “We have also asked the judge, and it is reflected in the filings, just as we have done with the previous suit, to immediately remove Jones from office pending the ultimate outcome of the lawsuit, which could result in his permanent removal from office. We have also asked the judge to temporarily remove Jones from office, pending the outcome of the lawsuit. We have not received a ruling on that request yet.
Wilson said Jones, at this time, still has the full authority of his office.
The Daily Light reached out to Jones’ attorney, Mark Griffith, for comment, but messages went unreturned as of press time.
Ward explained that the current criminal investigation of Jones began in April when a witness came forward with a new complaint and additional evidence to support the charge of abuse of official capacity.
Ward adds that the witness gave a statement to the county and district attorneys office that further implicated Jones for abuse of office. Following the written statement, Jones began to harass and intimidate her.
“Because of this statement, the defendant conspired with his wife, Melva Jones, and deputy constable, Kenneth Singleton, to create, maintain and enhance a hostile work environment directed towards (the witness),” Ward explained. “These actions were intentionally or knowingly undertaken against (the witness) by the defendant, by the defendant’s wife and by the deputy constable in retaliation for, on account of her service or status as a witness to prevent or delay (her) from serving as a witness against defendant.”
Ward noted in the petition for removal that the witness quit her job as a clerk with the Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Court. She took a position as the court clerk with another municipality, but the harassment continued.
In an Aug. 8 letter, Midlothian City Secretary Tammy Varner asked the county’s director of human resources, Theresa Taylor, for the hostility to stop against its employee.
“It appears that Melva Jones is complicit in enabling and encouraging such inappropriate and offensive behavior. In addition to the workplace, this hostile behavior of the harassment has migrated outside of the workplace by Ellis County Constable Mike Jones and Kenny Singleton,” Varner wrote. “Therefore, it is requested that immediate action be taken to stop all harassment from Ellis County employees, both in the workplace and outside.”
In an Aug. 24 letter from Taylor to Jones, she tells Jones to cease this behavior.
“The law specifically prohibits any conduct which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an affected person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. You can be held personally liable for such actions, along with the county,” Taylor wrote. “Ellis County Human Resources recently offered training regarding harassment and diversity in the workplace to ensure you were aware of your personal liability in such matters. This training was refused by both you and Mr. Singleton. It is the expectation of the county that these behaviors, both in and outside of the workplace, cease immediately.”
Ward noted in the petition that other actions allegedly taken by Jones found during the investigation include reckless driving towards the witness while she was walking across a parking lot, photographing her, driving by her home and recording video of her on a smartphone. The petition states that Jones allegedly used a law enforcement database to obtain information about the witness, an acquaintance of the witness, people working on the criminal investigation against him, staff with the county and district attorneys office, other witnesses, a county commissioner and Midlothian Police officers.
“These data searches were conducted by the defendant using his own unique database identifier from his office and also from his home," Ward wrote. “None of these data searches were conducted in support of legitimate official inquiries or criminal investigations. Rather, all of these data searches were conducted for the defendant’s own personal and nefarious use.”
Earlier in the year, Jones was indicted by an Ellis County Grand Jury on Feb. 8 for tampering with physical evidence, which is also a third-degree felony. The indictment came after he was alleged to have remotely purged his iCloud associated with a county-issued iPhone and two computers after the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office confiscated the devices as part of an investigation.
Before that, Jones was indicted for allegedly abusing his official capacity on May 11, 2016. This charge stemmed from his alleged misuse of government property for his personal for-profit business and during his re-election campaign. According to previously obtained court documents, the property included an Ellis County issued smartphone, computer, email service, and vehicle, along with the services of county employees.