Waller County DA Elton Mathis TX

A month ago, Waller County Texas officials raised eyebrows by using the power of the County to sue an individual citizen. The citizen, Terry Holcomb Sr., threatened to report Waller County to the Texas Attorney General, as is required by the procedure set up by the Texas Legislature last session.

The individual being sued: Terry Holcomb, a Second Amendment activist working to force local Texas governments follow the law passed by the Texas legislature last year. The law limits where local governments can ban the carry of firearms by people with carry licenses. From khou.com:

Eleven months ago, he and Texas Carry members sent letters to 76 county governments threatening to get the Texas attorney general on their case for banning open carry in offices allowed by law.

Some changed.

Waller County district attorney hit back.

He claims the law’s courthouse gun ban covers his entire building, which includes several other offices considered fair game by open-carry activists, and this December opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

So, Waller County sued.

Off camera, the district attorney says it’s not about money.

It’s a plea for a judge to decide who’s right and who’s wrong.

He calls Holcomb’s claims “a bunch of dribble.”

It probably is not about money.  The threatened judgement only uses money as a tool to suppress the activism that Elton Mathis and other Waller County officials dislike.  The Waller County DA says the monetary damages were included as “boilerplate language.” From beaumontenterprise.com:

It’s a controversial issue, with strong feelings on both sides. That’s OK; in a democracy that will happen. What’s not OK is Waller County officials suing Holcomb to reinforce their belief that they have the right to ban guns from the entire courthouse building. The lawsuit seeks $100,000 in damages from Holcomb, but the Waller County DA says that was merely included as boilerplate language.

From ap.org:

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said Friday that Holcomb misunderstands the county’s intentions. Mathis said he’s simply seeking a ruling by a state judge that the county had the legal right to ban guns from the entire courthouse building.

The county’s suit seeks up to $100,000 in damages from Holcomb but Mathis said that was included as boilerplate language and he promised that the county would not pursue any monetary damages.

Is Mathis’ promise part of damage control, now that his heavy-handed tactics are being exposed, and his own money may be on the line.? (I’m not certain that the extensive immunity granted to prosecutors by the courts extends to filing lawsuits against private citizens.)

Texas Law Shield independent attorney, Edwin Walker, has taken up the defense against the suit:

“This lawsuit is an unconscionable act that is nothing more than government officials using the judicial system to harass and silence the people. If the courts, the attorney general, and ultimately perhaps the Texas Legislature, does not stop Waller County, it will be open season for local governments to intimidate LTC holders.”

Walker is working to get the case dismissed, make Waller County take down its sign, and even sanction the assistant district attorneys involved for this tactic. Are you glad to have attorneys like Edwin on your side?

Using government resources to sue citizens that complain about government actions, who threaten to use legal mechanisms to report government officials for oversight by higher level authorities, is a novel development indeed. And unwelcome.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

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35 Responses to Waller County Texas Files Lawsuit against Second Amendment Activist for Filing Complaint

  1. Weren’t we notified in earlier discussions that California and other places decided the most successful means to remove gun rights would be states and localities? Should we be surprised at this?

      • I don’t think we are on the same continent. Looks like his stuff comes out of Denmark or Germany.

        Or maybe you are thinking about 2Asux sucks. Wouldn’t it be funny if he is both, arguing with himself?

    • He already has another profession: Politician! This will be the next guy you see running for higher office on a Democrat ticket. This is how he establishes his bonifiedes. As far as the county having to pay the legal fees of the other party, hy should he care? Not like the money comes out of his pocket, and it is a way to establish himself within the Democrat party since they admire using tax payer money to harrass people they disagree with.

  2. Holy crap! That’s one hell of an abuse of power. If the county disagreed with the claim, then they should refuse and then take it up with the State AG. Taking legal action against the citizen pointing out non-compliance with a State law is textbook tyranny – and probably grounds for a Civil Rights suit.

  3. If he wanted a ruling on the law, would he not wait for the AG to side for or against him, and if against him, challenge the interpretation in court? None of that requires suing a private individual.

    • There is an actual term for that. It is called Lawfare, using the legal system to combat an opponent when other avenues are unavailable or less certain to provide victory.

      It is used internationally quite a bit actually.

  4. So tyranical he violates the OTHER part of the first amendment (The right to petition for a redress of greavences).

  5. It’s called a SLAPP Suit — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Texas adopted HB 2935 in 2013 to strengthen the Texas Citizen Participation Act, giving SLAPP victims a faster dismissal.

    The Walker County DA’s office needs to be taken over by the state.

    • I agree that it is a SLAPP, but really only because they seek damages. They could have simply filed a complaint for declaratory relief, asking the local superior court to declare whether their position of Holcomb’s was correct. Happens all the time, and does not invoke the civil rights issue that they opened themselves up to. Moreover, a party successfully defeating a SLAPP claim is generally entitled to attorney’s fees.

      • Exactly. A $100,000 ad damnum changes this from a declaratory to a SLAPP Suit. Which is exactly what this renegade DA wanted.

  6. A plug for Texas Law Shield (or any similar org): a small monthly payment ensures you have reliable and competent legal representation should something stupid like this happen.

    In a civil suit his year, I learned the hard way that a good attorney makes all the difference. We won the case (and I still get to target practice on my land), but only after I fired the first attorney for incompetence and hired a good one. I ended up paying two attorneys for one win. Ouch.

  7. Mathis is the DA who last year decided to treat Sandra Bland’s death as a murder investigation despite autopsy reports indicating suicide.

  8. Tyranny. Plain and simple.
    And the left think we are paranoid. Well guess what. They really are out to get us.

  9. I’ll see that $100,000 fine and raise you a felony, Mr. FLAME DELETD DA. Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law is a big effing deal.

  10. We DO NOT live in a democracy, we have a constitutional republic. I don’t care how many times these clowns keep saying it. It is not going to change the facts. Constitutional Republic.

  11. Here’s how you know it really is about the money and the city government “weaponizing” the judicial system to attack a citizen…If it truly was about getting the law clarified, they would have sued for a penny or some minimum amount and not $100K. A citizen raising issues and challenging the application of laws and then getting sued by the government that works for HIM is absolutely unconscionable!

    • These people aren’t even aware of the existence of actual pennies. To them $100K is the equivalent of a penny.

  12. I would think about initiating a federal suit immediately against Waller County, and subpoena all pertinent communiques between the DA and his staff. If two or more person have conspired to deny rights (in this case, the right to petition the government/expression) of Mr. Holcomb, then there are adequate grounds for a federal criminal suit directly against the DA per 18 USC 241.

    Pertinent text:

    If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

    If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

    They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

    I’m sure there is a TX state analog to this federal statute.

    • and subpoena all pertinent communiques

      I would subpoena every person in the county government, demanding they appear on the same day. I would have a bank of lawyers who question people for 72 straight hours. I would sue the county employees individually for violation of agency (no government employee or volunteer member of government can claim to act “within agency” (legitimate function) if those persons are not authorized to take the actions being challenged. There is no legitimate authority for any official to use the courts as a form of blackmail. Once government employees act outside agency, those people can be sued individually, and the government cannot legally defend or reimburse them. Let’s see how all those commissioners and flunkies like it when their personal assets are under attack.

      • Um, no. Just no. Scorched earth tactics are very expensive to both sides, and as you describe them, will require depositions of persons who have no connection to the issue. Depos run about $1000 a day just for the court reporter, plus what ever hourly rate you pay your attorneys. Further, I don’t think any court would allow you to take depos for 72 hours straight, or to allow you to schedule ten depos for the same time and place. Finally, until it is actually established that an employee acted outside the scope of his employment, that employee is entitled to a defense at taxpayer expense.

  13. It reminds me of the thuggish HUD “SLAP” suits of the ’90s when they were suing people for petitioning their local elected officials to limit the number of group homes in their neighborhoods.

    These animals need to have their reputations destroyed in the court of public opinion.

  14. This….. is the corporation….. expanding t’s grasp ever forward…. the billionaires….. wanting to make sure they stay in power….. wanting to make sure when they announce thay there will be a world government, that there isn’t too much of a protest…. not too much of a disturbance…. they have seized our communications, men……
    The tycoons have paid employees setting up Facebook accounts to try to steer us to one party or the other….. they call them trolls… or the other…. and theyre often green nowadays…..
    But the corporation doesn’t really care WHO is elected….. as long as they have him/her in their pocket….. there happens to be one candidate who doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s pocket…… but hopefully our armed forces can keep him safe…..
    What say you, men, that these villainous corporate shareholders shit upon our humanity, seek to divide us, civilian against officer, black against white,; what say you that the political parties (or the corporate money behind them, more accurately) hires hackers to go around fucking with people’s accounts…. and facebook seems to permit it……. comments disappear, etc, and it has been confirmed…. our men and women are SCARED when they witness first hand how thecorporation is bringing it’s political arena into our gates, to infringe on our free speech…. to scare us with one villain or another, so that we run to their conveniently provided “demExit” …. the corporately controlled green party…… thecorporation is shitting upon our doorstep and strippimg us of many rights….. but the war has already begun…… but this war must be fought with truth, and love and unity….. for their only tactics seem to be lies, and hate, and division…. oh and when those don’t work, they try hopelessness…..
    Show no fear men….. for the corporation will test you…… slay these beastly ghouls that wander our internet, posting every five minutes some new piece of shit turd to their corporate sites…. OPEN your EYES…… and SEE…. the great fight is already upon us! This may be the last fight…..
    Humanity vs the corporation…. planet earth…. our children’s world…… I need truth tellers men and women….. I need supporters of the constitution that understand the value of the lives that were sacrificed for our freedom…..
    They have legions…. sharpen your swords.. but never be afraid….. for these goblins live on two things…. lies and darkness, and your fear…… they are presently shaking in their boots because many men and women, just like you, all across the country and the globe are waking up to this unruly dog, we’ve let get out of control….. military men and women, police officers and civilians alike realize that we have already been invaded…. by an alien….. this alien to our world…. this thing that never dies….. never has to get a fresh conscience, unpolluted by greed, ….. this thing is coming for us all in the form of world government….. STAND MEN, WAKE UP, and realize this may be the last chance you get to do everything in your power, talk to everyone you can, about getting someone in office that has proven his or her allegiance to the people, and their freedom from corporate bribery….. the billionaires know PEOPLE are waking up…… but this enemy, is learning from us as we speak…. help us men….. help us wake people up….. we need all your help …. for the corporation seeks a place of untouchable, unending domination of the globe……

  15. “The Waller County DA says the monetary damages were included as “boilerplate language.”

    Yeah, who bothers reading the language when you’re suing someone.

    Just like Facebook probably claims a right to everything everyone puts on there for fun and doesn’t actually intend to ever do anything with it… right?

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