46 people were convicted and jailed because of the 1999 Tulia drug busts. Governor Rick Perry later pardoned 35 who were prosecuted solely on Tom Coleman's word. Coleman now faces three counts of perjury for allegedly lying under oath during an appeals hearing in march of 2003. His trial is scheduled to start Monday, but on Friday Coleman's lead council made a bold motion to remove the special prosecutors.
Lead Council, John H. Read II from Dallas, made the motion based on grounds proper legal procedure is not being followed. He says the prosecution was never sworn in as required by statutory law. Read says, "It's a constitutional issue that has to be raised before trial so we filed the motions and want to have a hearing on it."
Tulia Residents Try to Bury the Hatchet
Read planned for that hearing to happen Friday morning. His team filed the motion on Thursday. He says they informed Randall County Judge David Gleason in advance. However, the judge did not attend. He was on the bench in Canyon. That means the hearing will be held Monday morning at 8:30, just 30 minutes before Coleman's trial is scheduled to begin. Read says, "If the judge reads the case law, he ought to dismiss this, but if he doesn't, it's his call and we'll take care of it on the backside."
Meaning appeals. Read hopes it doesn't come to that, but he's confident his client has been done an injustice, that the truth was not heard in the last Tulia trial. Read says, "You think someone was asleep or something was going on politically? You think someone was protecting someone politically in this deal and was afraid to raise too many issues and find out there was some poor police work going on. It had nothing to do with Tom Coleman. It had to do with who trained him. That's why they paid $5.5 million. It had nothing to do with Tom Coleman. They had to point the finger at somebody."
NewsChannel 11 spoke to special prosecutor Rod Hobson on Friday. He declined to interview on camera, but says the latest motion by Coleman's lawyer is a tactic taken out of desperation in an attempt to delay the case. He says he looks forward to the hearing on Monday.
Despite these recent developments no delay in the trial is expected. Even the defense admits the special prosecutors are unlikely to be removed from the case. They expect the trial will go on as scheduled, but if the prosecution was removed, it would likely delay the trial significantly.