13 Undercover

Grand jury declines to indict Constable May Walker

Saturday, February 11, 2012

There's strong rection to a grand jury's refusal to indict a Harris County constable.

May Walker faced charges of violating state campaign laws and misusing using county equipment. It was a probe sparked by 13 Undercover reports.

May Walker is likely breathing a sigh of relief but many of her deputies are expressing shock to us, fearing retaliation after a grand jury let the constable off the hook.

The evidence was in black and white -- stacks of campaign records found in the constable's government office, donations solicited from employees based on their rank, political raffles. They are against the law. Not only did they hold them at Precinct 7, the constable reported them on campaign reports.

"Part of the problem when you come in as a new elected official is no one gives you a handbook, no one tells you, hey that raffle we used to hold you can't hold," said Walker's defense attorney, Chip Lewis.

But in 2010, two Dallas constables were indicted for holding raffles for campaign cash. We don't know how May Walker explained it all, but the grand jury declined to indict her.

"She has already made administrative changes to ensure that there is no question she is properly serving both the citizens of Precinct 7 and employees within the precinct," Lewis said.

It is unclear if the DA even tried to prosecute Sylvia Trevino, the lieutenant who reminded deputies often to pay up to the constable.

"We don't know what happened in here but one could surmise that the DA's office wasn't motivated to pursue the case," KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy said.

"Contrary to the opinion of our current district attorney, the grand juries of Harris County are very conscientious and considerate people; they take these matters seriously but they are not easily swayed or pushed around by the political wantings of the district attorney," Lewis said.

That was a clear shot at Pat Lykos. Eyewitness News caught her office probing members of another grand jury investigating her recently. Expect to hear that refrain a lot from defense lawyers as long as Lykos is still DA.

"I have little doubt that Pat Lykos sped up the presentation of this matter in an attempt to deflect from her own problems," Lewis said.

Prosecutors wouldn't talk to us, but Lykos did issued a statement: "We respect the integrity of the process and decision made by grand jurors."

It's unclear how all this will impact the much larger investigation of Constable Victor Trevino, but it will likely have a chilling effect on deputies who are willing to come forward.

It's the county attorney's job to enforce the county's ethics rules, but as you'll see Monday night at 10, that's not likely to happen.

Harris County DA's reaction to no-bill

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