AlphaTex Kennels -The trial begins today, a new venue and a six-person jury

AlphaTex trial to be heard in Randall County

Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 11:37 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Mon Jan 9, 2012.

By KEVIN LEWIS Herald Editor | 0 comments

AlphaTex Kennels is getting a new trial, a new venue and a six-person jury.

As the result of a pretrial hearing Friday in Amarillo at which death threats were alleged against the kennel owners, the nearly 3-month-old case involving some 231 reportedly neglected dogs will be heard – for the second time – in front of a jury on Jan. 17 in Randall County.

State District Judge John Board made the ruling after hearing an afternoon of arguments from attorneys representing Mark and Sandra Smith, who own the kennel near Aiken, and Floyd County, whose officials seized the dogs Sept. 28 with help from the Humane Society of West Texas in Lubbock.

The case first went to trial Nov. 17 in front of Floyd County Justice of the Peace Tali Jackson, who sided with Floyd County. Jackson ruled the dogs, who have been kept in foster care throughout the state, would not be returned to the Smiths and ordered the couple to pay $236,530 to cover past expenses in caring for the animals. She also granted an additional $118,000 appeal bond.

However, the Smiths’ attorney, Paul Holloway of Plainview, filed a request asking that the Smiths be granted indigent status, which would waive the monetary rulings. He also requested that Jackson recuse herself from the indigent hearing because Holloway said Jackson would not give the Smiths a fair ruling.

On Nov. 28, after consulting with Ninth Administrative Judge Kelly Moore of Brownfield, it was decided that the Smiths would be allowed an appeal without bond in an effort to save time and money because the indigency process and possible appeal could take several months.

At Friday’s pretrial hearing, attorneys representing the Smiths asked for a change of venue, in part because the couple had received numerous death threats in Floyd County and feared for their lives. They also did not believe they could receive a fair trial in Floydada. Instead, they sought for the trial to be held in Silverton.

After extended debated, attorneys representing Floyd County agreed to the change of venue but suggested Lubbock instead of Silverton. However, Holloway said he was not comfortable having the trial in Lubbock due to extensive media coverage there.

Board then suggested moving the trial to Randall County, to which both sides agreed.

No appeal will be available following the Jan. 17 trial.

According to KCBD-TV, Holloway also asked that all of the key figures in the case be subject to a gag order, again due to extensive media coverage. Board, calling the request unusual for a non-criminal trial, decided to not make a ruling on the gag order before reviewing case law.

~ by topcatsroar on January 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “AlphaTex Kennels -The trial begins today, a new venue and a six-person jury”

  1. Just as a reminder, while the current hearing can not be appealed there is a federal case that addresses the civil liberty abuse.

  2. It’s a good strategy to raise such an issue in federal court, so that it can be heard. I don’t think that it really is a court of law when it operates under rules that deny an appeal, and that’s just one of the civil rights violations that has occurred during this mess.

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