AUSTIN, Texas–A Democratic member of the Texas House facing 10 felony charges of barratry (aka ambulance chasing) will be tried in a Montgomery County court in August.
Missouri City’s Ron Reynolds, first elected to the Texas Legislature in 2010, was arrested in 2013 as part of a raid on the offices of several law offices and chiropractic clinics. Houston’s CBS affiliate reported at the time that Reynolds and eight others were charged with barratry, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
It is alleged that Reynolds and his co-defendants are accused of paying kickbacks to a convicted felon who would persuade accident victims to sign up with participating lawyers. News reports indicate that prosecutors claim “Reynolds delivered cash in envelopes” for the kickbacks.
Reynolds told the Houston Chronicle last year he was “wrongfully accused, personally and professionally embarrassed by the unfortunate allegations against me… I have not committed barratry.”
In addition to incarceration, Texas law provides for fines of up to $10,000. The crime most often involves attorneys pursuing clients in a practice sometimes referred to as ambulance chasing.
Messages left with Mr. Reynolds office from Breitbart Texas were not returned.
Reynolds is being challenged in the November general election by Republican David Hamilton.
“I think his record disqualifies him from service,” Hamilton told Breitbart News. “There are some very serious ethical questions with Reynolds. What he says on policy issues is discredited.”
Hamilton, who works in sales for the oil and gas industry, said that if the barratry charges are true, Reynolds “was responsible for driving up health care costs.”
Democratic members of the Texas Legislature have had a variety of legal problems in recent years.
Former State Rep. Terri Hodge (D-Dallas) got a year in federal prison for what the Dallas Morning News described as her “role in Dallas City Hall bribery case.” She resigned her seat in advance of beginning her prison time.
Last year, State Rep. Naomi Gonzales (D-El Paso) was arrested for drunk driving in Austin, after an accident involving another car and a bicyclist. Two days after the incident, Gonzales received standing applause on the House floor after delivering an apology to the body. She was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and lost her re-election bid in March’s Democratic primary.
Follow Michael Quinn Sullivan on Twitter @MQSullivan.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team.