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Officials deny meeting in judge’s office
by Joe Baker
Aug 15, 2013 | 1292 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KARNES CITY – During an interview with The Karnes Countywide last week, Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva asked for the opportunity to clarify certain details regarding a meeting that was held to discuss a complaint submitted against former Chief Deputy Russell Swize.

According to Villanueva, the meeting took place on the afternoon of July 16 in the office of County Attorney Herb Hancock, not in the office of County Judge Barbara Shaw as was stated by Maurice Yarter during public comments made during the July 31 meeting of Commissioners Court.

Yarter told The Karnes Countywide that his statement was based on information he had received from a county employee who saw several individuals involved with the complaint walk into the county judge’s office immediately following the meeting which took place in the county attorney’s office.

According to a county employee who was in the hallway outside County Judge Barbara Shaw’s office around 2 p.m. on July 16, Shaw was in her office when Sheriff Villanueva and County Attorney Herb Hancock met at the doorway and walked into the county judge’s office together. About two minutes later, according to the employee, the county judge’s husband, Kyle Shaw, accompanied by his lawyer, also walked into the county judge’s office.

Villanueva said it was possible he might have walked into the judge’s office about the same time, but if so, it would have been to discuss a different, unrelated matter.

County Judge Barbara Shaw responded by email to a question asking if any meeting related to the complaint was held in her office.

“I do not represent Premier,” Shaw said. “I have not talked to the sheriff or (County Attorney) Herb (Hancock) about the incident/complaint as this has nothing to do with my capacity as county judge. No one has met in my office to discuss the complaint. Again, this has nothing to do with me as county judge.”

County Attorney Herb Hancock also told The Karnes Countywide during an interview last week that the meeting about the complaint was held in his office, not in the county judge’s office.

“We never did discuss this with (Judge) Shaw under any circumstances,” Hancock said. “We have kept her out of it because it was not any of her business. We did not meet in her office.”

The Karnes Countywide has requested a copy of a video surveillance recording taken just outside the judge’s office on July 16. Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva agreed to release the video, but as of Aug. 12, the video had not yet been released.

Villanueva said he and Sergeant Mike Cantu worked together on the investigation into the allegations of misconduct brought forward by Premier Vacuum Service and Barbara Shaw. The sheriff’s office investigation has concluded, Villanueva explained, but the matter has been referred to the district attorney’s office for possible criminal charges related to the incident.

When asked what was the outcome of his department’s investigation, Villanueva referred all comment on the matter to Casey Cullen, an attorney representing the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office in regard to this investigation.

The Karnes Countywide reached out to Cullen Monday for comment regarding the outcome of the department’s internal investigation but messages sent were not immediately returned.
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