Jan 21, 2014
Almost a month after a Burleson County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot to death, it is not certain where the files describing the shooting are.
During telephone calls that a local newspaper placed in the last few weeks to several high-ranking Burleson County officials (the district clerk, the DPS, the district attorney, etc.), the message received was that none of them had the documents.
Adam Sowders was killed on December 19th in the process of issuing a warrant.
Henry Magee was captured later that evening and eventually accused of capital murder. He is currently being on a bond of one million dollars. His lawyers had obtained the returns for the search warrants on Wednesday evening.
The district attorney for Burleson County wrote via email that the search warrant returns, detailing the inventory discovered at the mobile home, were on file with the district clerk’s office within 72 hours of the search, and the statement of probable cause for Magee’s arrest was at Corbett’s office, the judge who initially signed off on the warrants, or that they are being held by the justice of the peace.
Even though the district clerk’s office released the search warrant affidavits for the home, the district clerk said that neither of the documents were on file at her office, and she added that she could get those documents if a Grand Jury was to indict him.
The Grand Jury juror choices are supposed to start on Monday.
An attorney who is involved with a public records group in Texas, said that prosecutors can often hold the returns held tightly to their chest, so to speak, since they often have important information to strengthen a case with.
However, page one of the report that police make and the probable cause affidavit are supposed to be public record.
The Burleson County authorities said that the judge who signs off on search warrants usually has the documents on file. However, the staff at the judge’s office was quoted as saying that they didn’t have the documents with them prior to requesting a written request, something that must be requested in person.
A local newspaper sent out a search warrant return records request, along with the affidavit for probable cause, to the district clerk, district attorney, and the office of the judge who signed off on the warrants.
Because of a Texas state law, government agencies in the state have ten days to give a response to an open records request.
On December 18th, Sowders acquired a search warrant for the home of Henry Magee, once an informant leaked it to investigators that he had witnessed several cannabis plants growing inside of the home, as well as stolen firearms.
In the search warrant affidavit, Sowders requested to go inside the home without knocking or declaring the presence of police officers because he thought that knocking would hinder the investigation.