An open letter from Reed Bates

(The following is posted in its entirety……….Ed)

Dear friends,

I am sorry for the long delay in updating you all about my legal status and situation. I have allowed myself to be distracted and I have neglected you. I shall aim to avoid allowing it to happen again. Thank you for your forbearance.

Reed Bates at a court appearance

As this is a long explanatory letter, if you are pressed for time, skip to the bottom for a summery of events at the end of this letter.

Near the end of April, I moved from Ennis to Dallas, where I was graciously sheltered by P. M. Summer. I found a job there and devoted myself to succeed at it, and in so doing I failed to keep close tabs on the courts.

Notice of that a trial date was set for May 7 and a plea bargain from the County DA were not forwarded to me, and were not sent to our attorney, Mr. Jones. Those are salient facts, and I now turn to filling in the picture.

I should have reported my address change to the courts at or before the time I moved, but I did not do so. I should have called the court clerk to inquire of the status of my cases, but I did not. My friend at my old address should have forwarded my mail, but he didn’t. The court should have sent notice to Mr. Jones, but they had no record of him being my council on this particular charge. In the end, I am solely to blame for missing the May 7 court date.

On June 5, I moved from Mr. Summer’s home to share a home with two other guys.

On May 7, a warrant was issued for my arrest for “failure to appear”. (FTA) On June 8, I was arrested in the city of Rockwall whilst applying for a solicitor’s permit, and held on a $5,000 bond in the Rockwall County jail.

Within a few days, when attempts to raise enough money for bail failed, Lee Wiltsey (my boss) hired an attorney (Mrs. Summers)to expedite my transfer to Ellis County.

On June 21, Ellis County transferred me to Ellis County jail in Waxahachie.

On June 23, a hearing was held in a Waxahachie courthouse. The Mrs. Summers was present but not Mr. Jones.

There were three issues at hand: Who did I want to represent me, what was the underlying charge to the warrant I was arrested on, (Was it the appeal of the Ennis City convictions, or the Ellis County arrest of January 16 –the reckless driving charge?) and consideration of reducing the bond I was being held on.

It was very muddled, and the judge put off any decision until Friday the 25th when both Mr. Jones and Mrs. Summers could both be there.

At that time, Ms. Summers showed me a copy of the trial date notice, and I found that the DA had made a plea bargain. If I paid a $200 fine and court costs, the matter would be dropped.
Mrs. Summers asked if that was what I wanted to do. I said I was not interested in pleading guilty to a crime I did not commit. She told me that I may have to remain in jail until the trial was held. I told her I was prepared to do that.

Mr. Jones came to the county jail on Thursday and had a long conference with me. He had suffered a bout of ill health, and without knowing his ailment, I had been concerned about his ability to represent me. With those fears laid to rest, I have great confidence in his ability to see these issues brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

On Friday, Mr. Jones appeared with me, and Mrs. Summers was not there, having agreed with my decision the night before to affirm my desire to be represented by Mr. Jones.

The judge questioned Mr. Jones about how long he thought presenting the case would take when we requested a trial before the court rather than a trial by jury. Less than two hours, he replied. Would he be able to defend me on this charge and the appeal if they were both held on the same day? Yes.

The Judge then set aside the morning of July 29, a Thursday, to hear the reckless driving charge (a class B misdemeanor) and then hear a procedural question the DA was requesting on the Ennis City appeal. If that question is decided in our favor, the appeal would be heard immediately. (Impeding traffic is a class C misdemeanor, a lesser charge than the other.)

There are some other details that I am not clear on, but I will inform all of you of them early this week.

The DA also made a new plea deal: Time served plus court costs and three months probation. Again I refused the offer.

Mr. Jones requested a bond reduction because his client was keen on having the matter adjudicated. The DA suggested a $500 bond. Mr. Jones suggest $200 as more reasonable. The judge reduced it to $300.

On Saturday June 26, a person on this mailing list (Who had traveled to Waxahachie to visit me.) put up the cash out of his own pocket to bail me out when he heard what the amount had been reduced to.

I am returning to my job, it has been held for me. My housing situations is not in peril either, so I have much to be thankful for.

Again, apologies to everyone for the long silence.


Summery of events:

May 7 I missed a court date for a trial on the Ellis county Charge (Reckless Driving)
First week of June, I was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.
19 days later I was released on a $300 bond (Last Saturday)

Starting at 9 AM July 29, I will be tried for reckless driving. Afterward, a procedural ruling will be made about the Ennis City appeal, and depending on the outcome of that question, there is a good chance that the court will proceed to hear the appeal that day.

(Please note that P.M. Summer and Reed Bates’ attorney, Ms. Summer, are not related in any way…..Ed)

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