As Liberty Dispatch reported following the press release from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation is underway in the Liberty County’s County Attorney’s Office. As the Sheriff’s Department continues its investigation and we all await the results, it is informative to review a few of the areas of concern citizens may have about Liberty’s County Attorney and his fifty plus months in office.
Liberty Dispatch did not support Wes Hinch’s opponent in the election that took place nine months ago, but, despite being considered a friend before he took office by some at Liberty Dispatch, we all believe his inappropriate behavior has made him an ally of those who use the law and public office for their own purpose. Whether you are friend or foe, or even if you do not know Mr. Hinch, please look at just a few of the controversies he is linked to.
First, we all need to remember that there are two opposite ends of inappropriate actions taken by public officials who have the responsibility of prosecuting criminals which can both be swept under the rug and called “prosecutorial discretion”. But voters (and juries) do not have to sit quietly and allow a district attorney, a county attorney, or a pro tem to stretch or totally abuse the boundaries of discretion.
The law has remedies for prosecutors who drag citizens into court with malicious intent and the system has remedies for prosecutors who abuse their discretion and allow crimes to be committed without consequence. Though some may say Hinch has aided and abetted former D.A. Mike Little in a malicious prosecution by refusing to help correct the status of a citizen from records that indicate “guilt” rather than “case pending”, Hinch’s consistent inaction in prosecuting courthouse employees is what even those closest to him should be disappointed in.
Let’s just look at those things that have had the bright light of media shined on them in Hinch’s short time in office. This County attorney joined with the D.A. in booting former County Judge Phil Fitzgerald’s FEMA fraud case to the federal government. In addition, when it became obvious that the feds were not pursuing this case, Hinch showed zero interest in putting the case before the citizens who elected him to office. The Fitzgerald case involved over a million dollars and all kinds of inappropriate behavior which the voters weighed in on by voting Fitzgerald out of office in a landslide of criticism. District Attorney Mike Little declined to allow citizens to weigh in on his inaction and declared he was retiring (only to accept the appointment to a small judgeship that did not require voters input). Do these prosecutors believe we are too stupid to know that Liberty County citizens can still sit in judgment over this case?
Hinch also sat on his hands while former Assistant County Attorney Mark Beausoleil collected and shelled out huge sums of money as he nabbed a finder’s fee in a plant explosion lawsuit. Besides breaching the ethics set out by the State Bar of Texas, interrogatories between lawyers in that case reveal testimony that was taken under oath about money, and possibly a house, being used to pay off courthouse employee Lisa Fregia. Fregia is a key reputed witness in both Mark Beausoleil’s attorney ethic's problems and his wife, Elizabeth’s, legal problems concerning stolen Liberty County mail. In court documents, Hinch "TELLS FREGIA NOT TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT SHE DID". At that time, Fregia was a nice looking young lady who presumably just cashed in on referring a friend, whose common law husband had died in a plant explosion, to Mark Beausoliel. After reviewing the facts and the timeline, why Wes Hinch would tell her “not to worry” might or might not be of interest to his wife, but it should definitely be of interest to voters and the justice system. The mail fraud case was never brought before a grand jury by prosecutors as they allowed the statute of limitations to expire. Previous to the deadline for local prosecutors to start their case, they were informed that the courthouse mail room did not qualify as a federal post office and that the local prosecutors would have to prosecute the criminals in the case.
Let’s stop there. It should be obvious to all that Wes Hinch has a track record, for one reason or another, of acting like he has no responsibilities in ensuring the integrity and justice in the courthouse. He may be a very forgiving and helpful person, although his helpfulness seems very selective and not tied to innocence, but his role, as County Attorney, should not be allowed the type of discretion he has practiced. FOWH (friends of Wes Hinch) is no more a litmus tests than that of FOML (friend of Mike Little). FOWH should not be treated any differently in criminal matters than anyone reading this article. Voters would have rejected the FOML’s way of doing the public’s business if he had ever run against an opponent and his actions had been held up to public scrutiny. Hinch will be no different…