Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liberty County State Rep. John Otto Recognized With Appointments

Press release:

State Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton), a CPA serving in his fifth term in the Texas Legislature, has been appointed by Speaker of the House Joe Straus to serve on two powerful House committees: the House Committee on Appropriations, which sets the budget for all state programs and agencies, and as vice chair on the House Committee on Ways and Means, which hears issues affecting tax policy in the state.

Both committee assignments are considered high profile and have a significant impact on Texans.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on these committees and will focus on the important budget issues facing this state while ensuring taxes remain low,” said Otto.

“Representative Otto's invaluable experience and leadership on these committees will help the Legislature address some of the state's most pressing challenges,” said Straus.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Recent media reports included a description of the latest special prosecutor as a “Runaway Prosecutor” in reference to Larry Eastepp’s questionable work with July 2012 term Liberty County grand jury.  According to jurors, appointed pro-tem DA Eastepp only met with the jury twice and one of those times he was uninvited, but his lack of frequency did not mean there was a lack of effort and intensity on his part.  Apparently from local reports Eastepp stopped the grand jury from even hearing any evidence related to some high profile cases via his Machiavellian moves.

The first time the jury set eyes on pro-tem Eastepp he was rude, arrogant and lied to jurors according to all accounts.  When Eastepp came in he immediately extinguished everything the jury had done under the previous special prosecutor.  By all accounts Eastepp acted like ‘the defender of those the grand jury wanted to investigate and a prosecutor of grand jurors’.

At the second meeting with the grand jury Eastepp showed up uninvited and rather than pursue the matters that concerned the grand jury, he emptied the room of everyone except the foreman, Dr. James Smith, and the alternate foreman.  Eastepp then laid out a phoney bologna case for the removal of foreman Dr. Smith.  Eastepp was told his facts were wrong and that all twelve of the jurors would be witnesses and that he should drop the issue.  At issue was a false allegation initiated by Eastepp that Dr. Smith had a “personal” case before the grand jury, which was a complete fabrication.

Eventually Dr. Smith looked at the rules and practices governing grand juries and decided Eastepp was illegally overstepping his boundaries, all jurors agreed.  Dr. Smith was re-instated and the grand jury called Judge Gists and he agreed to remove Eastepp.  The collective jury told Judge Gist: “Eastepp’s services are no longer needed.”

But Eastepp did not leave quietly…  He told Judge Gists something contrived that persuaded the judge to seal everything and dismiss the grand jury.  Liberty Dispatch has been unable to find anyone in the legal community who has ever observed actions like these by Eastepp.

We can all speculate about why Larry Eastepp did not want the grand jury to look into certain high profile cases and why he was so rude.  And we can only speculate about Eastepp’s relationship to any of the players in certain high profile cases.  Whatever answers readers arrive at, one thing is for sure... Eastepp’s behavior is not typical in any Texas grand jury history.

Liberty Dispatch has uncovered other odd behavior by Larry Eastepp – almost six weeks after his dismissal, Larry Eastepp has not billed Liberty County one red cent.  LD asked Liberty County Auditor Harold Seay about any request for payment from Eastepp, Seay stated: “I have never received a bill from Eastepp”.

Eastepp has redefined what it means for a grand jury to “no bill”.  Maybe his lack of concern for being paid ought to concern us all.  Is he just a poor businessman and way behind on his billing or is he doing someone a favor?

Whichever option you believe, it appears Eastepp overstepped his authority and tried to bully a Liberty grand jury into submission.  It also appears the end result was just what Eastepp and whoever he is working with wanted. The grand jury was sent home and multiple serious high profile cases continue to languish.

Who was Eastepp really taking his orders from to block indictments of multiple public officials?  We have our suspicions, time will tell and the conspirators will be revealed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Local Liberty County Radio Station Weighs in On Questionable Grand Jury Dismissal


"Grand Jury Dismissed: There has been some big city publicity about a Liberty County Grand Jury dismissed late last year by a vesting judge from Jefferson County. That was in response to a sealed motion from a special prosecutor who was hired following a request by that very grand jury. That dismissal came, according to some of their members, without any explanation. It has left many of the 12 local members scratching their head and even expressing anger. In most cases, grand juries hear information presented to them by the district attorney’s office. However, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure says that grand juries “shall inquire into all offices liable to indictment of which any member may have knowledge, or of which they shall be informed by the attorney representing the state, or an other credible person.” End Quote. With out divulging anything from their secret proceedings, the six members of the grand jury said they were merely being responsive to information provided to them by credible local sources. Jury members emphasized their complaints are with the former office holders at the sheriff’s and district attorney’s office, not those elected officials who took office in 2013."

LD NOTE: This news story was apparently produced by Mr. Brad Harrington a local respected news reporter.