San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 28th, 2009
Judge recuses self from retrial hearing


District Judge Jack Robison recused himself from hearing a motion for a new trial in a steroids case Tuesday after a Hays County assistant district attorney gave testimony that could open criminal charges against an officer of the court.

David S. Watts, legal counsel for defendant Shawn Nathan Shipman, presented the motion for a new trial on April 7, arguing that “evidence presented previously to the Honorable Court was to say the very least suspect, if not in fact, a fraud.”

Shipman, 29, has been jailed on steroid charges since 2007. Shipman pleaded guilty to two counts in March.

Wrote Watts in his motion, “This evidence is of the nature of Brady material and also may violate several rules of the ethical and disciplinary responsibility of the rules of our profession.”

Watts said in the motion that Assistant District Attorney Lynn Peach notified him of the “suspect” evidence previously presented to the court by Assistant District Attorney Chris Johnson and San Marcos Police Detective Laray Taylor. The Hays County District Attorney’s office hired Peach in February to assist Johnson with the prosecution against Shipman.

After Peach testified at the Tuesday hearing, Robison recused himself.

San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams told Newstreamz in an email that he had no comment on the hearing.

“I do not have anything to say,” Williams said. “No one has told me what the allegations are. No one has filed a complaint. And no has presented any evidence of any misconduct.”

Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe put out a news release saying that her office conducts itself in a “fair and ethical manner.” Tibbe’s office said it is standing by its case against Shipman.

“We have investigated the allegations made by Ms. Peach and feel strongly that the law and the facts show no misconduct in the prosecution of this case,” Tibbe said. “Our office and our prosecutors are held to the highest ethical standard. We are confident that, at the conclusion of this hearing, the Court will agree that there was no misconduct.”

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