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KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

ACLU Sues Robertson County, DA

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

No criminal charges have been filed but a civil rights case against District Attorney John Paschall and Robertson County will proceed.

"It's like fighting a losing battle," says Hearne Resident Regina Kelly.

Kelly was arrested at work for a felony drug charge in November of 2000.

But she says not only is she innocent, the district attorney's office didn't have any evidence against her.

"They had no evidence against me. It's frustrating to fight the system," says Kelly.

Now the system is working for her and so is the ACLU.

After hearing Kelly and eight other plaintiff's stories, a Federal District Court Judge says a civil trial will be proceed next month.

During the trial, accusations will be investigated that Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall fabricated evidence against black residents arrested in the 2000 raid.

27 of the 28 people arrested in the raid were African American.

Seven pleaded guilty to felony drug charges, but the other cases were eventually dropped.

A year after the raid, Paschall publicly denied all allegations of wrong-doing.

"The task force is not attacking blacks, they arrest white people, hispanic people, they are arresting drug dealers," said Paschall.

Kelly says the mark left on her record will always haunt her, until she can get justice through the system.

"Now, finally I feel like there's hope. This is wrong and we're going to do something about it," says Kelly.

Paschall's Attorney Doug Becker says the plaintiffs just want money and his client will vindicated.

Becker also says most of the cases against those arrested in the raid were dropped because of credibility problems with the informant.

And if ACLU lawyers don't call the informant to the stand, he certainly will.

The trial begins May 9th with a pretrial hearing set for later this month.

The Texas Justice Network plans to hold a public meeting about the issue later this month.


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