Pubdate: Thu, 27 May 2004
Source: Plainview Daily Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Plainview Daily Herald
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


Officials from the State Bar of Texas took the next step in their
disciplinary action against Hale and Swisher Counties District
Attorney Terry McEachern, the prosecutor in the controversial 1999
Tulia drug bust.

The State Bar on Wednesday filed a disciplinary petition against
McEachern with the Texas Supreme Court, the next step in the process
of bringing the disciplinary action to trial. McEachern opted for a
public jury civil trial rather than an administrative hearing. The
trial would likely be held in Plainview before the end of the year. If
he loses the trial, McEachern will face punishment ranging from a
public reprimand to disbarment.

It will now be up to the Supreme Court to appoint a judge from outside
that judicial region to hear the case.

McEachern, who has served for 18 years but lost his bid for
re-election in the March Republican primary said that bar regulations
prevent him from commenting on the case.

He was the prosecutor for all the cases arising from the Tulia drug
bust, in which 46 people were arrested, 39 of them black. The arrests
led to accusations of racism and official misconduct, eventually
resulting in pardons for all the Tulia defendants and a $6 million
settlement in a civil lawsuit.

The petition accuses McEachern of failing to turn over incriminating
evidence about Tom Coleman, the undercover agent who conducted the

Coleman was arrested midway through the undercover operation on theft
and abuse of official capacity charges in Cochran County, where he
worked previously as a deputy.

The charges, related to using a county credit card to purchase gas for
a private vehicle, were dismissed after Coleman paid

The petition also alleges that McEachern allowed Coleman to lie on the stand
and made false statements to bolster the agentīs reputation.
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