On January 21, 2013, Leon Davis was indicted for evading arrest with a vehicle and organized retail theft. The organized retail theft charge stemmed from him the theft of 2 Apple Ipads, a Dell laptop computer, an HD webcam, 4 Kindle Fires, 3 sets of Boise headphones, 3 sets of Beats by Dre headphones. All reported taken from Best but the total value was between $1,500 and $20,000.
He then fled from the police.
The Grand Jury also added an enhancement paragraph to his indictment due to his prior criminal history. This enhancement could potentially put him behind bars for up to 99 years.
Through his attorney, on May 15, 2013, Davis filed a Change of Venue in the 9th District Court in Montgomery County. The motion stated that he felt he could not get a fair and impartial trial in this county because a proportionate number of people of African American descent are not included in jury panels in Montgomery County. The motion asked for the trial to be moved to Harris County where jury panels traditionally include a greater variety of ethnicity. Seven residents of Montgomery County agreed with this and signed statements to this effect. Those seven are defense attorneys here in Montgomery County, Robert Bartlett, Jose Mata, E. Tay Bond, Jerald Crow, Jay Wright, and Rick Brass.
On May 29, 2013, another motion was filed and granted by Judge Case for the appointment of an expert to assist in the preparation of the defense and to develop evidence to support the motion stating Davis could not get a fair trial.
Judge Case appointed Dr. Steven Murdock as a sociologist for Davis. He also ordered that at the conclusion of the expert investigation and trial preparation Murdock be paid $2,500.
Judge Case also appointed Max Beauregard to do the same thing. His payment is not to exceed $5,000.
According to Court records, Mr. Brass tells Judge Case, “ If you want to know if our jury summoning system has racial bias built into it, is for us to be given this data and have the experts that this court has authorized, given me a budget of $10,000 to develop, maybe half of which or a third of which at least has been used to complete the development of this issue.”
Both of these appointments were made after Judge Case was presented motions for both by Davis through his attorney Mr. Brass.
The motion filed by Davis through Brass is one that lifted eyebrows at the District Clerks Office, the County Attorney’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office.
After reviewing the motion Judge Case ruled that the District Clerk and the Montgomery County IT Department provide copies of the total number of criminal cases filed in 2012 and January 2013 to present., The total number of Black defendants in 2012 and January 2013 to present. The address of every juror summoned for jury duty from January 2013 to present in an electronic file. The address of all E-jurors from January 13 to present in an electronic file. Brass is also asking for information from a sample of 600 jury information sheets from all the courts from the most recent trials, the juror’s address, and race.
The motion states that if the motion is denied, that it would be a violation of Davis’ right to a fair and impartial jury of his peers,
The County Attorney’s Office has assigned M. Michael Meyer of the County Attorney’s Office to represent District Clerk Barbara Adamick in the matter.
The District Attorney’s Office has assigned Bill Delmore of the District Attorney’s Office to represent the residents of Montgomery County.
Both have filed an appeal in the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont.
Texas State Law prohibits the disclosure of juror information
The law states information collected by the court or by a prosecuting attorney during the jury selection process about a person who serves as a juror, including the juror’s home address, home telephone number, social security number, drivers license number, and other personal information, is confidential and may not be disclosed by the court, the prosecuting attorney, the defense counsel, or any court personnel excerpt on the application of a party in the trial on application by a bona fide member of the news media acting in such capacity to the court in which the person is serving or did serve as a juror. On a showing of a good cause, the court shall permit disclosure of the information sought.
There is case law providing that information provided by persons who actually as a juror may only be released by the District Court which summoned them for jury service.
State law also prohibits the trial court to produce a document that it does not already possess. It also states the trial court lacks jurisdiction to order a third party or an individual other than counsel for the State to perform any task in order to provide the defendant with information pursuant to pretrial discovery.
In this case the District Attorney’s Office says the defendant is proposing that the Court order the District Clerk and the Head of the IT Department to produce lists of information that do not already exist.
State law also prohibits the disclosure of juror information. TO which the District Attorney states in his appeal that the court has ordered the District Clerk to divulge to Davis the home addresses and declared race of thousands of Montgomery County prospective juror’s summoned over a period of 18 months.
The Texas Government Code prohibits the disclosure of information provided in response to the questionnaires which accompany jury summons to anyone other than a judge assigned to hear the case of action in which the respondent to the questionnaire is a potential witness court personnel or a litigant or litigants attorney in a cause of action in which the respondent to the questionnaire is a potential juror.
If the motion to move the trial to Harris County is granted, the burden of the expense would be on the taxpayers of Montgomery County. It would include the cost of the court-appointed attorney having the extra travel time and expense of going to Harris County. The prosecutors having to drive to commute to Harris County and Judge Case and his staff to commute to Harris County.
Leon Davis who lives at 3015 Mansfield in the Acres Homes area of North Houston is 35-years-old. He has an extensive history of the legal system.
Leon Davis Criminal History
6/5/95-CONVICTED ASSAULT BODILY INJURY
3/7/96-CONVICTED OF AUTO THEFT
3/27/96-CONVICTED UNLAWFULLY CARRYING A WEAPON
7/23/98-CONVICTED THEFT $50 TO $500
3/9/99-THEFT UNDER $1500 THIRD OFFENSE
8/2000-POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE
9/11/2001- CONVICTED OF FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM
12/8/2008-CONVICTED ASSAULT-BODILY INJURY