Page 29 Continued
A. I don't have that information with me.
Q. Did you terminate Mr. Ligon?
A. Yes.
Q. When did you terminate him approximately if you can't remember exactly?
A. A month ago.
Q. A month. What was the reason for the termination?
A. He had sex with one of the prisoners.
Q. And who was that prisoner?
A. Jeannie Lee Rowley.
Q. And when did you find out about that incident?
A. From a Texas Ranger.
Q. Who is that Texas Ranger?
A. Joey Gordon.
Q. Joey --
A. Gordon.
Q. -- Gordon, G-o-r-d-o-n?
A. Yes, ma'am.
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Q. And when did Joey Gordon tell you that Holland Ligon had sex with Jeannie Lee Rowley?
A. The day I fired him.
Q. About a month ago?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you aware that this information came out during the time that the Grand Jury met in January of 1998?
A. What -- I don't understand.
Q. Maybe -- let me make my --
A. Okay.
Q. I can clarify. Were you aware that the information relating to Holland Ligon having sex with Jeannie Lee Rowley came out in the open in January, 1998 when the Grand Jury met?
A. I had heard some rumors.
Q. Sam Oatman didn't tell you about that in January?
A. I read the statement.
Q. In January?
A. Yes.
Q. Was that statement provided to you by Sam Oatman?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you please tell us what the duties of a
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jailer are? What does a jailer do? What is a jailer hired to do an a day-to-day basis?
A. I have a qualified chief jailer that takes care of those duties, to make sure that the duties are done.
Q. All right, sir. Who is your chief jailer? What is he supposed to do?
A. He's a supervisor.
Q. Supervisor. Supervisor of the jailers?
A. Yes, in the jail.
Q. All right. What duties must a jailer carry out on a day-to-day basis?
A. They make sure that the prisoners are fed. They do their paper work, booking and releasing prisoners. They do bonds.
Q. Okay. Anything else?
A. Oh, I'm sure there's other things, but, I mean, that's all I can recall right now.
Q. So right now you have -- with the absence of Mr. Ligon, you have five jailers; is that correct?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. Are you advertising to hire another jailer at this time?
A. No, ma'am.
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Q. Are you planning to hire another jailer?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. How many female jailers -- and I count one, but I just want for the record for you to tell me how many female jailers you currently have.
A. One.
Q. Have you ever had more than one since you've been sheriff?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. And when was that that you had more than one female jailer?
A. I can't give you the date. She retired here because of health reasons.
Q. And what was her name?
A. Betty Graham.
Q. What is your understanding of how many -- well, let me ask you this way: What is your understanding of the requirement of having female jailers on staff?
A. I don't have that knowledge. I --
Q. Do you have --
A. I --
Q. Excuse me.
A. I don't know of any state jail standards that says that you have to have any females on staff.
Q. Do your male jailers have the responsibility of
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strip-searching females?
A. No, ma'am.
Q. And how is that conducted and by whom?
A. If we do strip-search a female, then we have a female jailer come in and do that. I have several female dispatchers, and, in fact, there's two of them there certified jailers.
Q. And what are their names?
A. Nila Roberts.
Q. I'm sorry?
A. Nila Roberts.
Q. And how long has she worked for you?
A. She was working for the former sheriff.
Q. And she's still there today?
A. Yes.
Q. Ane what is the name of the other dispatcher?
A. Pam Cowan, C-o-w-a-n.
Q. And how long has Pam Cowan been there?
A. Three years approximately.
Q. Would you please explain to me what you mean by they're certified jailers? Is that the term that you used --
A. Yes.
Q. They've been to jail school, 40 hours of
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Q. And what does that mean in terms of what they can do, what duties they can perform as a result of having attended jail school?
A. They can perform any -- any duties that they need to up in the jail.
Q. Do you know where this jail school is?
A. We have sent them to, in fact, Austin, I believe. They're all over the state.
Q. Do you know if that's the official title, jail school, or is it -- is there something else? I understand what you mean. But is there another description for the training that's received?
A. I'm not -- not sure what you mean.
Q. What does their certificate say, the certificate that they receive after fulfilling their training obligation?
A. Texas State Jail Commission.
Q. Now, are these dispatch -- female dispatchers called on to perform duties in the jail in Jackie Dahl's absence?
A. They can be.
Q. Have they ever been?
A. Yes.
Q. How often are they asked to perform duties in
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Jackie"s absence?
A. When I'm having meetings -- department meetings, when I take all the jailers down and talk to them, then I'll have one of them go up and take care of the jail till we get through with the meeting.
Q. What do you mean by "take care of the jail"? What kinds of things would they be asked to do?
A. Well, they sit up there and listen to the monitors and various duties, make sure the prisoners are safely kept.
Q. Are they provided keys to the cells or access to the cells through having keys?
A. The --
Q. Dispatchers.
A. When they go up to the jail.
Q. Are they called upon to serve meals?
A. No.
Q. Have they ever been called upon to administer medication?
A. No.
Q. So it's basically sitting in close proximity and monitoring through the PA system that you have? Is that what you're talking about?
A. Yes.
(Off the Record)
Page 36
Questions By Ms. Jones:
Q. How many female lawyers -- excuse me -- female jailers did you inherit from Gale Ligon?
A. Two.
Q. And that's Betty and Jackie?
A. Yes, that I recall.
Q. Why didn't you replace Betty with another female jailer?
A. The candidates that came in when we did the interviews were more qualified, and I'm not sure -- I don't recall whether there were any females that came in and applied. I just -- I don't know.
Q. Do you know what the required qualifications are for your jailer staff? Are they sworn peace officers, your jailers?
A. I don't understand what you're saying.
Q. The jailers that you hire -- I'm trying to determine what the qualifications are for becoming a jailer in the sheriff's office.
A. They need to attend a 40-hour class.
Q. The same class that the other female dispatchers attended?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that prior to working at your jail or sometime during their employment?
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A. Sometime during their employment. They've usually got, I believe, a year.
Q. A year of what?
A. To get certified.
Q. Are all your jailers -- your current jailers certified?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. Which ones?
A. My chief jailer.
Q. Lawson?
A. Yes.
Q. Anyone else?
A. That's all at this time.
Q. Do you require -- in addition to the application that the applicant for a jailer position has to complete, do you require references?
A. Yes.
Q. Job references?
A. Yes.
Q. And who checks those job references?
A. Usually my chief deputy and possibly one of my investigators.
Q. And who are your investigators?
Page 38
A. Gary Hudgens and Jay Bauman.
Q. Do you conduct or have someone conduct criminal history checks for you when you're considering an applicant for a jailer position?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. And how is that conducted or through what means is the criminal history check conducted?
A. Usually my investigator or chief deputy checks the criminal history.
Q. Can you tell me -- does chief -- your Chief Deputy Lawson, does he have direct access to you? Is that how the line of supervision works?
A. Ma'am, Melvin Lawson is not the chief deputy. He's the chief jailer.
Q. Thank you for that clarification.
A. John Keith is my chief deputy.
Q. All right. Thank you for that clarification. Does your Chief Jailer Lawson have direct access to you? In other words, does he report directly to you, or is there somebody else that he reports to?
A. In regards to what?
Q. In regards to his responsibilities as chief jailer.
A. Yes, myself and usually the chief deputy.
Q. And the chief deputy's name again is?
Page 39
A. John Keith.
Q. K-e-i-t-h?
Yes, ma'am.
Q. Thank you. So you and John Keith share supervisory responsibilities over Lawson?
A. Yes.
Q. Other than the 40 hours of training that you indicated that the jailers must receive within one year of employment, what other training does each jailer receive?
A. Receive training from the chief jailer on how we do our business, what they're supposed to do, their job duties.
Q. And that chief jailer again is Lawson?
A. Yes.
Q. Any other training?
A. They have to attend certain schools to get information out of the computer and the teletype. They have to attend like a four-hour class.
Q. Is there a written record of the training that each of the jailers receives?
A. Yes.
Q. And where is that record for each jailer? Where is that maintained?
A. Personnel files.
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Q. Who is -- who actually establishes your policies and procedures for how your jail will operate?
A. Texas Jail Commission.
Q. Do you have any separate policies and procedures that you've established?
A. I'm sure that my chief jailer has probably got some different policies.
Q. Do you have any as sheriff?
A. No.
Q. Do you know if these policies that the chief jailer has are in writing?
A. No, Ma'am.
Q. No, you don't know or they're not in writing?
A. No, I don't know.
Q. So what I'm hearing you say is that Chief Lawson provides the in-house training to the jailers: is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. How do you know that he actually has carried out what you believe to be the case, that he has provided this in-house training to these jailers?
A. Because he's told me he has and I know that they have because they know what they're doing.
Q. Have you observed Mr. Lawson providing training to any of the jailers? Have you been present at the time
Page 41
he's done this?
A. They're on the third floor; we're on the second floor. But I have been on the third floor when he was telling the jailers what they needed to do.
Q. Are you saying what they need to do as far as what they need to do with carrying out their duties day-to-day or training them to effectively carry out those duties?
A. Well, can you rephrase?
Q. Sure. You stated in your testimony that you have been on the third floor when Melvin Lawson has told jailers what to do. You've observed that. My question was, have you observed him providing training to these jailers, not just giving them directives?
A. Oh, I consider this to be on-the-job training when he's giving them directives, what they need to do.
Q. That's what you consider to be training for Mr. Lawson?
A. Yes. That's on-the-job training.
Q. Do you know if Mr. Lawson has provided anything more formal to the jailers regarding how they should do their jobs or how they should carry out their duties?
A. I'm sure that he's got some written directives, what they need to do, specific trustee rules.
Q. And how are you sure about that?
Page 42
A. I've seen some of them. I've looked over them.
Q. And who drafted them?
A. A lot of them come from the Texas Jail Commission.
Q. Okay. Who drafted the internal policies and procedures?
A. Chief Jailer Lawson.
Q. Did you have any input in drafting those procedures and policies?
A. I don't recall.
Q. Do you know if the jailers are tested on their understanding of what their duties are or their understanding of what the policies are?
A. I don't know.
Q. Have you ever tested the jailers to determine whether or not they have an adequate understanding of what their duties are?
A. No.
Q. Can you please tell me, Sheriff, what is the criteria for selecting a trustee in your jail?
A. First of all, my chief jailer, that is his job, to pick the trustee. That's his responsibility.
Q. All right. And he -- how did he get that authority to select trustees? Did you give him that authority?
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A. I'm sure that it's -- was probably passed on from the former sheriff.
Q. Well, you're the sheriff now, correct?
A. I understand that.
Q. Okay.
A. Yes.
Q. So how did he get that authority to select trustees? Did you give it to him?
A. Yes.
Q. So do you know what the criteria is that he uses for selecting trustees?
A. I know part of it.
Q. All right, sir. Can you please share that with me?
A. Yes. Part of it is, they check on the character of the individual that they're going to appoint trustee. They also check on his willingness to work, willingness to do the duties of the trustee.
Q. How do they determine the character of the inmate before deciding whether he or she can serve as a trustee?
A. Well, they talk to the other jailers. They make decisions on what -- you know, how cooperative they've been and things like that.
Q. Do they check on the criminal background of the
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trustee to determine whether or not this inmate may be the appropriate person to select as a trustee?
A. Ma'am, everyone in my jail has a criminal history.
Q. Do you distinguish between a misdemeanor and a felony when you select a trustee?
A. That's the job of my chief jailer. He makes that determination, who will make a good trustee and who won't.
Q. Do you think it's appropriate to put a known sexual deviate in contact with female inmates?
A. No.
Q. Do you think it's important to know someone's propensity to commit sexual crimes or crimes of a sexual nature before --
A. Yes.
Q. You think that's important?
A. Yes.
Q. What personal involvement do you have in determining who will be selected for a trustee position in your jail?
A. I don't understand what you're --
Q. What -- as the sheriff of Llano County, what role do you play, what input do you give in selecting trustees in your jail?
Page 45
A. I'm trying to think what I need to say.
Q. No problem.
A. And --
Q. Take all the time you need.
A. I have changed policy. I have more on hands with the jail than I did before. The trustees that are appointed trustees now, the chief jailer comes down to my office and we go over who needs to be trustee and who don't.
Q. So you do have input now?
A. Yes.
Q. And when did your policy change or your practice change relating to your involvement in selecting trustees?
A. When we had this incident in the jail.
Q. So can you give me a month? Are you talking about last month or last fall or what?
A. Probably in October of '97.
Mr. Crenshaw: Could we take a break for a few minutes?
Ms. Jones: Sure.
Mr. Crenshaw: We've been going an hour or a little over.
Page 46
Ms. Jones: Not quite. We started at 10:18, but we can certainly --
Mr. Crenshaw: Well, okay. Well, go ahead. Let's go ahead and go on.
Ms. Jones: We can certainly take a break.
Mr. Crenshaw: Okay. I just -- is that all right with everybody.
Ms. Jones: Sure, no problem.
The Videographer: Off the record at 11:04 a.m.
(Brief Recess)
The Videographer: Back on the record at 11:21 a.m.
Questions By Ms. Jones:
Q. Sheriff, you talked about Chief Lawson, your supervisor over the jailers. Does Chief Lawson have responsibility for evaluating the jailers that he supervises?
A. Yes.
Q. What role do you play in evaluating the jailers?
A. I go on the recommendations of the chief jailer.
Page 47
Q. Is that because he has more contact than you do?
A. Yes. He's qualified.
Q. Can you tell me how often you frequent the jail? I know that's one floor above your office. How often do you get up there?
A. Twice a day, three times a day. I don't know.
Q. Two or three times a day?
A. Yes.
Q. And when you visit the jail or frequent the jail two to three times a day, what do you do when you're there?
A. Generally I'm delivering a message to one of the jailers or talking to a bondsman, numerous things.
Q. Do you walk back near the entry of the jail cells themselves during these two to three visits a day?
A. Sometimes, not all the time.
Q. And what would be the purpose in doing that?
A. Sometimes when you get a complaint from an inmate, they send me a letter or whatever, and I go back there and talk to them or they want to see me.
Q. How often do you get a complaint from an inmate -- or how often would you get a complaint from an inmate?
A. It's hard to say, not too many.
Page 48
Q. So do you have one complaint per week or one per month or two per year?
A. Well, let me say this: It's not always complaints. It's either they need to get out of jail to go to a wedding or go to this or go to that. And a lot of times it's just to give me information.
Q. And how often would you have that contact between yourself and the inmate?
A. When they send me a letter.
Q. That's the only time, is when you receive a letter, when you would have contact with an inmate?
A. Unless I'm booking in one.
Q. And how often do you book in inmates?
A. Well, it just depends. If I'm the arresting officer or someone comes and turns theirself in to jail, then lots of times I go up and book them in.
Q. And how many inmates have you booked in in the last 12 months?
A. I have no idea.
Q. More than 10?
A. I -- I don't know, ma'am. I'd just have to go back and look.
Q. All right. I know that it would be difficult to give an exact number, but I'm just trying to determine whether or not this is something that happens on a
Page 49
regular basis or infrequent basis that you are booking inmates. What percentage of your time do you think you spent in the last year booking inmates?
A. I don't know.
Q. More than 50 percent of your time?
A. No, huh-uh.
Q. That helps me.
A. Yes.
Q. More than 10 percent of your time?
A. No.
Q. Thank you. What was the need or what did you see as the need for a modification in the way in which trustees were selected?
A. I felt like the incident that we had, I wanted to have a little bit more control on who was going to be made trustee and who wasn't.
Q. And what incident are we referring to ?
A. The alleged rape.
Q. Of?
A. Tina Wisdom.
Q. Did you take issue with Chief Lawson selecting Johnny Pesina as a trustee?
A. Well, in light of what happened, I -- I just -- I felt like I need to look into the trustees a little bit more.
Page 50
Q. Can you tell us how a trustee is supervised?
A. Supervised on floor, jailers.
Q. And how is that conducted? I understand the jailers conduct -- the jailers are the supervisors of the trustee. But how do they supervise the trustee? What do they do?
A. They tell them what they can do and what they can't do.
Q. All right. Do they monitor or observe the duties of a trustee, or do they just let the trustees go off and do their duties?
A. Are you talking about in the jail?
Q. Yes, sir, within the confines of the jail.
A. No. they check on them, make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing.
Q. And how do they do that?
A. Ma'am?
Q. How do they do that?
A. They make a walk.
Q. So they're not there directly supervising at all times, are they?
A. No. They're not standing right over them.
Q. All right. Are your aware that Johnny Pesina was allowed to go outside the jail unsupervised --
A. Yes.
Page 51
Q. -- leave the building unsupervised?
A. Yes.
Q. And what duties did he carry out while unsupervised outside of the jail?
A. Taking trash out to the dumpsters --
Q. Any other --
A. -- and washing cars.
Q. The cars of the sheriff's department?
A. Yes.
Q. Are you aware that Johnny Pesina placed a note to Jada Simpson, a bank employee, on her car while he was outside either taking out trash or washing cars?
A. Ma'am, could you repeat the name?
Q. Sure, Jada Simpson, bank employee. The question was, are you aware or were you aware that Johnny Pesina placed a note, a personal, handwritten note, on Jada Simpson's car?
A. No, ma'am.
(Continued on Garrett Deposition V3)