To REVIEW. 50 FAR 1.4 SNU1311ED THE O.N. IGNORED “IIIE REP CROSS 114 AND “Ran TUE GENEVA CoNYENTioNS WE CALL IT OUR \(\(LEAVE EVERY INTERNATIONAL INsTITuTioN AND AGREEMENT 801IND defense attorney who himself had already been disciplined twice by the bar before botching his job as court-appointed counsel in the death penalty case of Joe Lee Guy. Federal affidavits show that Wardroup was abusing alcohol and drugs at the time he was representing Guy, who eventually received the death sentence for serving as an unarmed lookout in the robbery and murder of Plainview grocery store owner Larry Howell. \(Guy’s two accomplices, who according to court testimony, were the ones who actually shot and robbed Howell, received life roup has received nine disciplinary actions from the bar, including public reprimands and probated suspensions, during his 24-year career. Why McEachern chose the problem-plagued Wardroup to help him save his law license remains uncertain. McEachern was not available for comment, and calls to Wardroup’s office were not returned. McEachern has previously acknowledged that Guy did not receive adequate counsel during his trial. Last fall, according to the Plainview Daily Herald and other Panhandle papers, McEachern joined a number of Hale County law enforcement officials in signing a petition asking the Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Guy’s sentence to life, a request that the board unanimously accepted. “When you take all the facts into consideration;’ McEachern told the Plainview paper in January, “the petition was the right thing to do.” So far, Gov. Rick Perry has not acted on the clemency request. One Panhandle defense attorney who requested anonymity speculated that McEachern picked Wardroup because the two are friends. Another possible factor is economics: Last year, McEachern asked the Swisher County commissioners for $5,000 to help him hire a lawyer to fight the grievance filed against him by the bar. The commissioners rejected his request, citing the costly settlements with Tulia defendants already paid out by the county. And it appears that if anyone knows how to commit a variety of transgressions and still keep their law license, it’s Wardroup. “Rick is a good lawyer when he’s not misbehaving;’ says Lubbock-based criminal defense attorney Philip Wischkaemper, who is one of the lawyers representing Joe Lee Guy in his appeals. “The substance-abuse problems obviously affected his professional judgment!’ That could be another connection between Wardroup and McEachern. The former DA was convicted of a misdemeanor aggravated driving while intoxicated charge in New Mexico last year. A RINGING ENDORSEMENT On June 15, outbroke a 7-year truce in the U.S. House of Representatives by filing an ethics complaint against House Majority Leader Tom “the Hamthree components will sound familiar to regular Observer readers. It turns out, that’s no accident. The first allegation centers on memo involving a Kansas-based company called Westar Energy Corp. that gave $25,000 to DeLay’s political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority, allegedly in return for favorable consideration of an amendment in an energy bill. Bell charges that DeLay illegally solicited and accepted political contributions from Westar in return for official actiona violation of both House rules and federal law. A second charge details how DeLay’s congressional office improperly used the Federal Aviation Administration to track down Texas legislators who, in an attempt to stop a vote on redistricting in the Texas House, had fled to Ardmore, Oklahoma. Finally, Bell asserts that DeLay’s TRMPAC laundered illegal corporate contributions for the purpose of influencing Texas legislative races and failed to properly disclose its financial activity. “Tom DeLay has engaged in a pattern of corruption,” Bell told members of the media gathered for a press conference at the Texas Democratic State Convention in Houston. “In my opinion, [he] broke the law.” Reporters immediately asked Bell about DeLay’s charge that the complaint was just sour grapes. Bell, a freshman, lost his reelection bid in the primary in one of the new DeLay-fashioned congressional districts. “Nothing about this complaint is going to bring back my seat in Congress,” he responded. “This is not about retribution; it’s about facts.” Bell said that he began working on the complaint long before his election loss, although the defeat afforded him more time to focus on it. “It really started last September after reading “Rise of the Machine” in The Texas Observer,” he said. Bell appended the ethics complaint with two Observer stories”Rise of the Machine” from August 29, 2003, and “Scandal in the Speaker’s Office,” from February 27, 2004. On June 22, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct agreed to investigate the complaint. 7/2/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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