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Old 07-18-08, 01:39 PM   #1
Greyhound
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Montgomery County Constable Harassing Cyclists

I'm new to the forum but thought I'd post this for whomever might be interested. I am involved in a cycling controversy with law enforcement in Montgomery County, where many area athletes and cyclists go to train.

The sum and substance of my particular episode is that a deputy from precinct 5 in Montgomery County attempted to bully me off the road in precinct 1, and I am now intentionally forcing the issue in court. (I'm a lawyer; it's what I do)

Back on April 19, Deputy Marshall Williams, Badge No. 5440, pulled out of the subdivision where he lives off FM149 in Precinct 1 of Montgomery County and basically decided to pick on me. He executed an unsafe pass too close to my position at a high rate of speed and honked at me while I was legally riding my bicycle between the right hand tire mark and the white line at the edge of the roadway. When I shouted my complaint, he slammed on his brakes, cut across my path and proceeded to hurl abuse at me from the safety of his pickup truck.

At that point, he contended he would ticket me if I failed to ride wholly to the right of the white line on a narrow and dangerous shoulder. He literally told me to "git off the road." This, of course, is not the law, so I told him as much, and invited him to cite me so that we could take the matter up with the court. At that time, he refused to do so but drove off in a temper instead.

I complained to his superiors, and only this Wednesday received a backdated citation in the mail for failing to ride as far as practicable to the right and obstructing traffic by riding two abreast. This last bit is especially curious, as I was riding alone. Not sure how I can ride two abreast by myself.

I have entered a plea of not guilty and will be taking the case to trial, as much as anything in an effort to bring some much needed education to law enforcement about how the traffic laws apply to cyclists.

If anyone is interested I'd be glad to send you my correspondence with the Constable's office and I will keep you apprised of court dates as they happen.
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Old 07-18-08, 01:54 PM   #2
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Wow- that sucks. Good luck at trial.
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Old 07-18-08, 08:53 PM   #3
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Keep this forum posted on developments in the case.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:54 PM   #4
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Good luck with it. Also, vent here if you need to...

http://ratemycop.com/
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Old 07-23-08, 05:33 PM   #5
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Hopefully you will prevail in both the battle and the war. Would hate to see this end up with you constantly being harrassed by this guy and some of his buddies (or superiors, since it looks like you got the mail citation after you called to complain).

Would his service record and any prior incidents of failure to control his temper, overstepping authority, excessive force, etc., be available/admissable?
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Old 07-23-08, 05:54 PM   #6
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Monty County is a wretched hive of scum and villainy...I can count my encounters with irate drivers on one hand, and 3 of those were on a single short ride through that area. The other two are spaced about a year apart and are completely mild. I got yelled at, honked at, stuff thrown at me, aggressively brushed too close...There is some sort of driver brain cancer going around there.
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Old 07-23-08, 06:49 PM   #7
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Very strange. I don't know if Mike McDougal is still the county district attorney there, but last year he testified with the Texas Bicycle Coalition before the Texas House Transportation Committee in support of HR 1790, the Safe Passing Bill, "as a tool for prosecutors to use to bolsster aggravated assault charges when a motorist intentionally runs down a cyclist."

http://www.biketexas.org/content/blo...y/13/72/11/22/

Edit: Lame duck, defeated in primary election. No help there, I guess.

Last edited by Platy; 07-23-08 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 07-23-08, 08:04 PM   #8
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I wonder, how in the world, they could send you a ticket after the fact. I would call that harassment, on top of everything else. Good luck.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yamura View Post
Hopefully you will prevail in both the battle and the war. Would hate to see this end up with you constantly being harrassed by this guy and some of his buddies (or superiors, since it looks like you got the mail citation after you called to complain).

Would his service record and any prior incidents of failure to control his temper, overstepping authority, excessive force, etc., be available/admissable?
Traffic court is usually pretty loose. JP's are not required to have law degrees...at least in the past...and some aren't too friendly if you start trying to make things, for them, overly complicated. The facts, just the facts Ma'am.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:55 PM   #10
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That is no good, did the Constable's office have anything positive to say? I bet that guy was probably thinking "great, the one cyclist I decide to mess with and he is a freaking lawyer."

-Nate
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Old 07-25-08, 03:01 AM   #11
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somehow this sort of thing doesnt surprise me anymore.

also what is with the police cars being parked in the bike lane down washington?

are they stupid or is that somehow deemed legal in Houston?
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Old 07-25-08, 03:17 AM   #12
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You did not mention which Montgomery county. The one in Alabama. / Harassing a lawyer-cyclist. Good luck to you. I hope Officier Muldoon screwed up on his choice of cyclists to harass. ( My apologies , I now see its a Texas thread.)
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Old 07-25-08, 01:10 PM   #13
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From one member of the bar to another, good luck Greyhound. I don't practice in Montgomery County and don't know anyone there, but if I can help out in any way, shoot me a note.
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Old 07-25-08, 01:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmart View Post
Monty County is a wretched hive of scum and villainy...I can count my encounters with irate drivers on one hand, and 3 of those were on a single short ride through that area. The other two are spaced about a year apart and are completely mild. I got yelled at, honked at, stuff thrown at me, aggressively brushed too close...There is some sort of driver brain cancer going around there.
They do have very nice asphalt on the county roads, however.
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Old 08-06-08, 08:18 PM   #15
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I ran across an ironic bit of Montgomery Co. Bicycle / Law Enforcement info. While the constables seem to be anti-cyclist, the sherrif's office has their own team in the BikeMS: Valero Bike to the Beach.

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/si...team_id=127909

I've been lucky enough to only be harrassed by rednecks in pickups in Montgomery Co. - no cops. Hope your trial goes well.
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Old 08-10-08, 09:06 AM   #16
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Being a long time rider in Montgomery County I find this sort of thing NOT to be the norm. I've always been teated with great respect, especially by the officers of Montgomery.

Riding on FM-149, (I'm assuming you're talking the area of 149 North of Montgomery HWY-105) the Montgomery police and State Troopers have always watch out for us by keeping the speed limits enforced. They always seem to have time for a friendly wave as well.

As far as the Constables go I've never have any dealings with them. I've worked with Cheif Hutchins of the Montgomery County Police Department and even the Grimes County Sheriff Department on numerous charity rides, (Continental Classic) and they always acted very professional.

I'm curious as to the outcome of your case. Please keep us informed.
Sgt. Spillco

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Old 09-17-08, 09:25 PM   #17
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When is the court date?
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Old 09-21-08, 08:42 PM   #18
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Yeah, I was wondering about an update.

-Nate
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Old 09-22-08, 09:38 AM   #19
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Update: In advance of the preliminary hearing, I contacted the assistant DA who was handling my case to let her know this was not a run of the mill traffic ticket. To her credit, her office took a look at the road and concluded (as the officer should have) that the lane and shoulder were much too narrow for his ticket to hold up under the statute. I showed up for the preliminary hearing and the ticket was dismissed.

Now the funny part: knowing I was a cyclist, she asks me about local cycling clubs and routes because she wants to take up the sport.
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Old 09-22-08, 06:46 PM   #20
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Very glad to hear the ticket was dismissed. Hopefully they'll provide the errant deputy with....guidance and counsel.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:23 PM   #21
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Very glad to hear the ticket was dismissed. Hopefully they'll provide the errant deputy with....guidance and counsel.
Nope, the incident is closed. The cop can go on being a turd. The D.A.'s office isn't going to get into a pissing match with the sheriff over road rights for cyclists and the sheriff doesn't give a damn as its not a matter of import in the coming election.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:28 PM   #22
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You can be rest assured that this deputy "looked bad" in the eyes of the court with his poor judgement and hopefully his behavior was mentioned. In these small town remote areas, sometimes the judges hearing the case will end up giving a deputy like this a good talking to. Generally speaking, judges don't like cops that use bad judgement and waste their tme - and now he'll have to work on regaining his credibility with the court, if he had any to begin with. If Greyhound's complaint was in writing, then it's in the deputy's permanent file also. Sounds to me like he doesn't need to be in law emforcement, but hopefully he'll clean up his act, grow up, and act more responsibly in the future. Nobody needs a deputy like that out on the street.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:40 PM   #23
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You can be rest assured that this deputy "looked bad" in the eyes of the court with his poor judgement and hopefully his behavior was mentioned. In these small town remote areas, sometimes the judges hearing the case will end up giving a deputy like this a good talking to. Generally speaking, judges don't like cops that use bad judgement and waste their tme - and now he'll have to work on regaining his credibility with the court, if he had any to begin with. If Greyhound's complaint was in writing, then it's in the deputy's permanent file also. Sounds to me like he doesn't need to be in law emforcement, but hopefully he'll clean up his act, grow up, and act more responsibly in the future. Nobody needs a deputy like that out on the street.
Greyhound would have to answer, but I'm betting the deputy was NOT in the courtroom, the judge just heard a recommendation for dismissal from the ass't D.A., and everyone went on their merry way. Nothing in the case would indicate anything but maybe a mild scolding, at best, of the deputy. He most likely never heard anything about the case, probably had no plans to show anyway.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:55 PM   #24
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Perhaps. I've seen it happen both ways. Either way, I'm just hoping he's held accountable for the sake of all of us.
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Old 09-23-08, 07:28 AM   #25
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Red face

Quote:
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Update: In advance of the preliminary hearing, I contacted the assistant DA who was handling my case to let her know this was not a run of the mill traffic ticket. To her credit, her office took a look at the road and concluded (as the officer should have) that the lane and shoulder were much too narrow for his ticket to hold up under the statute. I showed up for the preliminary hearing and the ticket was dismissed.

Now the funny part: knowing I was a cyclist, she asks me about local cycling clubs and routes because she wants to take up the sport.
How cool, introducing another to the great sport of cycling If you haven't yet given her any names to local clubs might I suggest the Woodlands Cycling Club? Most of their rides are in that vicinity and they promote rides each week for all levels and abilities.

Good job!
Sarge
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