Closing arguments were heard in the hearing to temporally remove constable Ellis County Pct. 4 Constable Mike Jones from office on Friday afternoon. Dallas Judge Jim Jordan will make a ruling whether to remove Jones from office this week.
The County and District Attorney’s office brought the civil suit against Jones for a second time, due to his pending criminal charges.
Jones was indicted Feb. 8 on a charge of tampering with physical evidence. He was indicted a second time on May 11, 2016 for the alleged abuse of official capacity, 2016. These indictments stem from alleged actions taken during his re-election campaign.
He was also indicted on two charges of misuse of official information, one charge of retaliation and one charge of deadly conduct on Aug. 23 for alleged actions against a witness.
Jones’ wife, Melva, was indicted Nov. 29 on a charge of retaliation.
Assistant County and District Attorney William Little told the court that Jones' actions were clear and were brought to light through the office's investigation.
Testimony and evidence presented to the court by Little alleged that Jones sold T-shirts and decals out of his county office for his reelection campaign. It also showed that Jones was allegedly engaged in a surveillance program against a witness, who filed a harassment complaint against Melva. Melva served as the court administrator for the Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 until being terminated in August.
“We believe that we have shown this criminal behavior has a basis in fact. A person with a badge and a gun should not be doing these things,” Little stated. “We have evidence that he went trolling for information on the computer, even against me. I don’t think that Melva Jones being a victim is relevant.”
Jones’ attorney, Dan Gus, told the court that the state has failed to prove its case against his client and that many things didn’t add up.
Gus stated that the witness alleged Jones and Melva had tried to run her down in the parking lot of justice of peace court. In a statement given to law enforcement, the witness stated that this incident happened at 11:56 a.m. on Aug. 15, 2017. Gus showed the court more than a dozen text messages indicating that Melva was involved in a conversation at the time and was not in the parking lot.
“These are lies upon lies,” Gus said. “There is no unlawful retaliation, and there is no deadly conduct. The law does not support it.”
Earlier in the proceedings, Melva testified about working conditions she faced at the Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Court.
The Ellis County Human Resources Department admonished Melva in December 2016 for allegedly creating a hostile work environment against the witness, who was her subordinate. The witness later resigned from her position to work for the City of Midlothian's municipal court located in the same building.
Gus asked Melva how she felt about not being able to function as a supervisor under this cloud.
“I felt like I could say absolutely nothing. I brought nothing to Judge (Steve) Egan because I felt like what the other person had said had my hands tied,” Melva explained.
Gus showed to the court private text messages that showed Melva’s feeling toward a new employee. These messages indicated the employee's poor work performance and Melva’s feeling that she couldn’t say anything for fear of losing her job.
Melva told the court the reason why she asked Mike to conduct surveillance on the witness was to have proof she was not a credible person and was lying about things in her life to show to her boss. Her hope was this documentation could return her work life back to what it used to be.
Under cross-examination, Little asked Melva why she didn’t use the photos and videos collected from the surveillance during her termination meeting.
Melva told the court that the meeting with human resources was so brief that it didn’t allow her to speak and noted no reason was provided for her termination. She was told to collect her things and leave the building. If she returned she would be arrested.
Little then asked if she filed a lawsuit against Egan seeking monetary damages. Melva replied that she had.
Mike Jones took the stand to answer one question from Gus.
Gus asked Jones if Kenneth Singleton, who had served as Mike’s chief deputy, was in the office when the argument between Jones and Egan took place. Jones told the court he was not.
In previous testimony, Singleton told the court that he was in the office when the argument took place, which was in the morning before he had a doctor’s appointment. Singleton informed the court Mike was standing in the doorway of Egan’s office asking why Melva was terminated.
Gus previously showed a video recorded by Egan where a clock on the wall listed the time a little after 2 p.m. In the video, Egan had entered Mike’s office to return personal items of Melva’s. The video also showed a view of Singleton’s office, which looked to be empty.
Under questioning by Little, Mike stated that he would not answer any questions regarding alleged criminal acts and would take the Fifth Amendment, which protects a person from self-incrimination.
Assistant County and District Attorney Vance Hinds presented two candidates to fill the constable’s position if the temporary removal was granted. These candidates include Mark Howard who has served 30 years with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office and is currently with the DeSoto Police Department and an instructor with the Navarro College Police Academy.
The second candidate was Kenneth Authier, who has served 33 years in law enforcement. Authier is currently a special ranger with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The hearing before a jury on the permanent removal is set to take place Jan. 29.