What happens when the Texas Attorney General’s Office tries to drop the charges against a defendant for want of evidence and the presiding judge denies the motion?
The AG’s Office took over the case against Vergil Richardson and several family members when District Attorney Val Varley was recused from the case. Varley showed up at the scene of the drug bust (see details in the story below) brandishing a fire arm. This made him a potential fact witness and led to his recusal.
One gets the impression that Judge John Miller is behaving as if his good friend (and legal tag team partner) Val Varley is still prosecuting the case. But what is the special prosecutor supposed to do now? When you have established that you don’t have enough evidence to go to trial and the judge sets a trial date anyway how do you proceed?
Friends of Justice was asked to look into this case in November of 2008 and has stayed in touch with Vergil Richardson since that date. Richardson, a dedicated High School coach, has been unable to work in his chosen profession since the day the indictment came down.
Judge denies Attorney General’s motion
Published May 6, 2010
CLARKSVILLE — A ruling by 102nd District Court Judge John F. Miller Jr. in a Red River County drug case has brought a stir of concern all the way to the Texas capital.
Miller denied a motion by the state Attorney General’s office special prosecutor in the case. The special prosecutor has asked the charges against former coach Vergil Richardson be dismissed for lack of evidence.
It was the second time Miller had refused to drop the charges against Richardson, who is charged with drug possession, along with others at a home Richardson owns but does not reside in Clarksville.
Clarksville law enforcement officers found drugs in the home during a raid on Nov. 17, 2007.
Richardson and his brother, Mark, were visitors in the home at the time.
Vergil Richardson had allowed his half brother, Kevin Callaway, to live at the residence.
The Richardsons and Callaway were arrested.
Events leading up to the arrest began when the Red River Sheriff’s Department received a tip drugs were being sold at the home.
Deputies and others acted on a no-knock search warrant and burst into the home.
When they found the drugs, they arrested everyone there, even though the Richardsons claimed they did not live there and had no knowledge of drugs.
Callaway has been sentenced for his part in the drug case.
Red River County Attorney Val Varley was present during the drug raid and recused himself from the prosecution of the Richardsons.
That prosecution was turned over to the Texas Attorney General’s office, and a special prosecutor, Nicole Habersang, was assigned to the case.
It was after her investigation she filed a motion with the 102nd District Court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence against Vergil Richardson.
Miller denied the motion in January and on its refiling again this week, saying: “Dismissal is not in the interest of justice.”
He has set the trial for Vergil Richardson for Sept. 13.
When the order of denial came down, Vergil Richardson said: “I understand the justice system is slow, but I have been out of my profession, which is coaching, for more than three years. They have taken our reputation from us. They have hurt our families, and they have taken everything from me they can.”
The Richardson brothers have filed a lawsuit against Red River County, former Sheriff Terry Reed, the City of Clarksville, law enforcement officers Robert Bridges, Brandon Harbison and County Attorney Varley.
“I have refused to drop the lawsuit because I have lost so much,” Richardson said Wednesday. “I think that is why they are refusing to drop the charges against me.”
The Richardsons are asking for $2 million in compensatory damages in the suit filed in federal court in Texarkana. They also are seeking punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a jury.
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