Montgomery County TOMA case pushed back until Wednesday

Three Montgomery County commissioners are facing a trial about an open meetings act violation allegation. Three Montgomery County commissioners are facing a trial about an open meetings act violation allegation.[/caption]

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark and political consultant Marc Davenport attended the first Texas Open Meetings Act violation case hearing on Monday morning.

The case relates to allegations of a TOMA violation during negotiations for the $280 million Montgomery County road bond with members of the Texas Patriots Political Action Committee—a group opposed to the failed $350 million road bond initiative in May 2015. The $280 million bond was approved by voters in November 2015 after the proposed controversial Woodlands Parkway extension was removed from the list of bond projects.

During Monday’s hearing, the prosecutors asked presiding Judge Randy Clapp, of Wharton County’s 329th District Court, to postpone the first hearing date until Wednesday, March 29. There was no objection to the request and the judge agreed to postpone the start of the case.

On Wednesday, Doyal’s attorney Rusty Hardin said Clapp will consider a motion to dismiss the case. The motion relates to Texas Government Code 551.143, which states that members of a governmental body cannot knowingly conspire to circumvent the TOMA by meeting in numbers less than a quorum for the purpose of secret deliberations. Hardin said the motion challenges the statute, claiming it is unconstitutionally vague.

If Clapp denies the motion the case will proceed to a jury selection process, Hardin said.