County officials cleared in open meeting lawsuit

Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

Released by Adrienne Graham with Smith County:

A jury verdict has been reached late this afternoon in the lawsuit filed by local attorney Ken W. Good against Smith County Judge Joel Baker and former Precinct 1 Commissioner JoAnn Fleming. The suit alleged that the two officials violated the Texas Open Meetings Act in a series of eight meetings concerning potential plans for a downtown jail in 2008. Visiting Judge John Nelms presided over the case that lasted five days.

The jury found that there were no open meetings violations when Judge Baker and Mrs. Fleming met with community leaders to develop a proposal to present to the full Commissioners Court regarding a jail bond to address jail overcrowding.

"We knew all along that the allegations had no merit and feel vindicated by the jury's decision. We are pleased for the taxpayers and are grateful for the jury's reaffirmation of the law," County Judge Joel Baker said.

The officials involved, as representatives of the county, are pleased to have this litigation resolved so that the important business of county government may proceed. These officials wish to thank the visiting Judge and the jurors for their service to the community.