Almost four months have passed since Mike Jones was behind his constable's badge.
That all changed Friday, as Jones returned to the Ellis County Pct. 4 officers after Dallas judge Jim Jordan of the 160th district court, overturned a Jan. 3 motion that temporarily removed him from office.
Mark Howard, who was appointed as the interim constable while Jones was temporarily suspended, was immediately released from all responsibilities, according to the order of reinstatement issued by Jordan.
An Ellis County jury found four civil charges against Jones not to be “not true” on April 18. Following the verdict, the Dallas judge cleared Jones to return to his post as the constable of Ellis County Pct. 4.
Jones shared the verdict made him feel that his peers genuinely listened to all of the facts in the case.
“The jury foreman told me that it took the jury five minutes to find me not true on all accounts. That made me feel really good that finally my story is being heard,” Jones said. “I had to be quiet for so long. It just made me feel like I was guilty, but I was not.”
Jones faced civil charges for allegedly tampering with evidence, the misuse of official information, retaliation, and deadly conduct. These charges are related to alleged actions taken by Jones during his re-election campaign for the constable’s office.
Jones stated the past two years had taken a toll on him financially, physically, and mentally, which has created a strain on him that has been difficult at times. He noted that everyone has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty but felt it didn’t happen in his case.
“As police officers, we handle everybody as they are innocent until they are proven guilty. We can accuse somebody but still have to consider them innocent until they plea or a jury of their peers say otherwise. Unfortunately, it does not go that way for us or at least for me,” Jones said. “I was suspended without pay and benefits in January without ever being convicted of anything. I still haven’t been paid. Now they say they might have to go to the commissioner’s court to get that approved.”
Jones added the case has damaged his credit, his home faces foreclosure, and his daughter has helped with groceries. Personally, Jones has suffered the loss of his father and had a heart attack in November.
“I had been stressed for two years. This (stress) did not cause my veins to clog up, but the stress itself caused the heart to pump too fast. I had the widow maker believe it or not. I survived it and didn’t even lose consciousness,” Jones said. “They (originally) put in two stents. A week ago today they put in another stent.”
Jones explained since he could not prove to the Department of Veterans Affairs that the county canceled his health insurance, he had to take his rehabilitation into his hands — utilizing walking trails at various parks. Before his law enforcement career Jones served 20 years in the Marines, so the grit to self-motivate has long been instilled.
“I went out to the park every day. Started off walking one lap. I was scared if I had a heart attack I would die because I have nothing to monitor my heart. So my confidence was shaken,” Jones stated. “I am up to three miles running now. I knew what they wanted me to do in cardiac rehab. I could not afford that so I went out to the park. I had to do.”
Jones stated he plans to fight the pending criminal charges. He maintains his innocence in those, too.
Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson previously stated that – while his office was dissatisfied with the verdict – the DA’s office will continue forward with the criminal trial.
“The judges in both the civil and criminal cases have taken a dim view of either side making public comments. That issue has been addressed more than once,” Wilson said. “With that in mind, the only thing I will say is that we are disappointed with the verdict in last week’s civil trial, but we are moving forward with the criminal prosecution.”
The criminal prosecution is set to take place May 21. He claims the evidence possessed by the Ellis County District Attorney’s Office, in that case, will be shown not to be true, as well.
“If they continue with these criminal cases, I will go in there with a warrior’s spirit. The DA’s office has this evidence that they have lied and they are not dropping anything,” Jones stated. “They keep going forwarding knowing that, and it is criminal. It is criminal behavior. They want me to quit. They want me to resign, and it will all go away. That is what they told Dan (Gus; Jones’ attorney). I am not doing it. I will go in with my head up and look people in the eye. The jury of my peers will make that determination. Not the DA’s office.”
Jones stated his plans in the interim are to return to office back to its day-to-day functions. He noted he would have a better idea of where it stands by the end of the week.
Jones also expressed his thanks to the many people who have supported him during this time.
Ellis County Judge Carol Bush confirmed the reinstatement and added via email that "While the entry of final judgment is pending, Human Resources and the Treasurer have already taken action to effectuate his reinstatement, and Constable Jones has re-assumed his office."
The Daily Light reached out to Wilson for additional comments. Messages were left but were unreturned as of press time Tuesday.