By Sarah Scott Nacogdoches The good ol’ boys of the Nacogdoches law enforcement establishment are drawing their lips together a little more tightly these days as they await the outcome of three highly unusual civil lawsuits that could affect the deeply rooted traditions of East Texas justice. The proceedings are as complex as familial relationships in the Bible, but all involve Nacogdoches attorney Martha McCabe and the high officials of the city and county law-keeping force. McCabe, whose mother’s family has been in Texas since 1817, came to Nacogdoches two years ago after graduating from Northeastern Law School in Boston. McCabe, now 29, began accepting cases no one else in East Texas would touch. Before long she and legal worker Bill Zoske forged an alliance with Arthur Weaver, long-time president of the Nacogdoches County NAACP and unofficial mayor of the black community. McCabe’s most highly publicized case began in November of last year when Gladys Evans, a white woman living with a black man, came to Weaver and confided that she had been sexually assaulted by three men while in the Nacogdoches County jail \(see Obs., examination and bruses on Evans’ thighs substantiated her story. Weaver recommended that Evans see McCabe, who filed a federal lawsuit for her client in January of this year. Named as defendants in the suit were Chief of Police M. C. Roebuck, Sheriff John Lightfoot, deputy sheriff Sharon Skeen, lieutenant Don Barlow, and jail trusty Leamon Schoubroek, whom Evans said she recognized as one of her attackers. The suit accused Schoubroek of assault; sheriff Lightfoot was charged with negligence in allowing Schoubroek, in jail for aggravated assault, to be a trusty; and the rest were charged with violating Evans’ civil rights by conspiring to cover up the incident. Evans asked for a quarter of a million dollars in damages, and the suit was scheduled for Judge William Wayne Justice’s federal court in Tyler. As soon as the law enforcement officials had been served, harassment of Evans began. The police picked her up on a charge of “giving false information to a police officer.” The “false information” Evans al Scott is a student at the University of Houston law school. She worked as a law clerk for Martha McCabe during August. legedly gave was her report that she had been raped while in jail. Other incidents followed and Evans began drinking heavily. In May, Judge Justice dismissed the suit without prejudice, citing Evans’ failure to make herself available for depositions. Despite the dismissal, the cops were still smarting from the indignity of being hauled into federal court. On July 12, the same police officials whom Evans had sued struck back and filed a million-dollar lawsuit against McCabe, Evans, and Arthur Weaver. The cops charged that the three had “maliciously” filed suit in the Evans case, knowing that the allegations were untrue and intending to cause the police to endure the “humiliation, stress, and aggravation of a trial.” In addition, the suit charged that the three conspired to harass the officers with the aim of causing them mental suffering. Joe Tonahill, a Beaumont attorney who frequently represents the police of East Texas, filed the suit in state district court in Nacogdoches. \(Tonahill also represents a Beaumont anti-busing group called Freedom of Choice, which is seeking to influence a major civil rights case pending in The suit against McCabe, Weaver, and Evans is a legal novelty that could have serious consequences. McCabe is being sued for representing a client, a right guaranteed by the sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution and recognized since the beginning of the republic. If she is forced to testify about her dealings with Evans, it would abrogate the long-standing legal protection of the attorney-client relationship. Moreover, Arthur Weaver, who had no direct participation in the Evans suit, is being sued for recommending that a friend seek legal help. The pleadings in the suit filed by the police track the state bar’s disciplinary rules regarding the bringing of malicious lawsuits, leading McCabe to think that the police really would like to see her disbarred and Weaver deterred from his civil rights work. The word about the suit against McCabe, Evans, and Weaver spread throughout progressive Texas legal circles. On Aug. 12, McCabe and Weaver announced the formation of an all-star defense team. Charles E. Williams III, the executive director of the and black Fort Worth attorney Norman Bonner, as Texas counsel for the NAACP, will participate in Weaver’s defense. So will Larry Daves of Tyler and Dave Richards of Austin. The big news is that William Kunstler of New York will represent McCabe, along with Austin attorneys Cam Cunningham and Brady Coleman and Houston attorney Larry Sauer. And a last-minute addition to McCabe’s team is Odessa attorney Warren Burnett, one of the best spellbinders in Texas. McCabe has filed two other civil police misconduct suits. One, filed on behalf of 22-year-old Wayne Johnson, charges that Schoubroek beat, choked, and stomped on him while he was in jail a year ago on a burglary rap. Photos of Johnson taken after the assault show a five-inch diameter swelling under his left eye and lacerations on the underside of his lower lip. McCabe says Johnson also sustained injuries to his lower back and to his head, causing recurring headaches and occasional loss of memory. Schoubroek has already been found guilty in a criminal trial of assaulting Johnson and September 17, 1976 11 ANDERSON & COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES AUSTIN, TEXAS 78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. 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