Pubdate: Tue, 30 Dec 2003
Source: Plainview Daily Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2003 Plainview Daily Herald
Author: Richard Orr
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


District Attorney Terry McEachern declined comment Monday on his
appearance before a State Bar Association committee last week over a
grievance filed against him in connection with the 4-year-old Tulia
drug cases.

McEachern, 54, acknowledged appearing before a 3-member grievance
committee in Amarillo on Dec. 19 but is precluded by law from
commenting on the proceedings.

The grievance was filed by an unidentified party in July over the 1999
Swisher County undercover drug operation by discredited freelance
officer Tom Coleman that ultimately led to 35 defendants being
pardoned by Gov. Rick Perry.

Most of the defendants were black and charges of racism permeated the
trials and their aftermath. Coleman is no longer in law enforcement
and remains under indictment for perjury in the case. McEachern is
reportedly being investigated for withholding evidence favorable to
the defense.

The grievance came to light July 31 when he unsuccessfully sought
$5,000 from Swisher County to help in fighting the complaint. County
Judge Harold Keeter said at the time that the denial was based on "the
financial situation (we're) in." Keeter added that the county normally
does help when an official is sued for monetary damages, but not in
"personal situations" like McEachern's.

Depending on the committee's findings, McEachern could face a
reprimand, temporary suspension or disbarment, which sources say isn't

He's being represented by Lubbock attorney Rick Wardroup, who served
as defense attorney in the 1994 capital murder case of Plainviewan Joe
Guy, who remains on death row for the killing of grocer Larry Howell.

Wardroup has been suspended on at least two occasions for misconduct
involving drugs and alcohol.

It's not known when the committee will make its recommendation.
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