Hockley County rests in the civil trial of former sheriff - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/30/10

Hockley County rests in the civil trial of former sheriff

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Hockley County has rested in the civil trial of the former sheriff who is fighting to get his job back.

David Kinney was suspended last year after two of his deputies were indicted for their role in a drug trafficking ring.

Tuesday's testimony came from three witnesses. First Levelland Municipal Judge Norma Garza took the stand. She testified she felt she was never taken seriously by former Sheriff David Kinney.

She claims that Kinney allowed prisoners to be released without going before a magistrate which is illegal.

Next to take the stand was David Opperman, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Opperman works in an evidence room with ATF and he testified that he has never seen a property room in as bad shape as the Hockley County evidence room.

He testified he knew items were missing. Interim Sheriff Kevin Davis called on Opperman for advice and the agent said that the needed to fix the property room.

Kinney's lawyer, Rod Hobson, argued that the agent didn't check Davis' current evidence logs, just Kinney's.

The last witness called to the stand by Hockley County was ATF agent Jim Luera.

Luera testified that he sensed something was wrong in Hockley County, while ATF was serving a warrant back in May of 2009.

He said ATF was listening on phone calls from Hockley County Chief Deputy Gordon Bohannon. That day, Bohannon called the man in the center of the warrant and told him "don't worry if ATF didn't find anything."

Luera went on to say he met with Kinney before the July drug bust and told him that Bohannon was spending way too much time with an informant and he didn't believe that was appropriate.

Hobson will start calling witnesses to the stand Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to wrap up on Thursday.

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