HOUSTON, Texas – A black Texas state representative says that his conviction for ambulance chasing by a Montgomery County, Texas, jury was a “modern day lynching.”
Texas State Representative, Ron Reynold (D-Missouri City) spoke with ABC13 and the Houston media outlet reported that Reynolds said Conroe “prosecutors attacked his character because he is an African American democrat.”
“And these are some strong words, I believe that this was a modern day lynching,” Reynolds said. “I believe that this was so severe in the way that they went after me, and the way that they went after me, and the way they went out to attack my character. They wanted nothing more than to paint me as a bad, bad black politician.”
The Missouri City, Texas, lawmaker was sentenced by a Montgomery County, Texas, jury in Conroe, Texas, to five counts of Class A misdemeanor barratry.
Reynold’s brother, Omar Reynolds, reportedly said “Every drop would spell racism in Conroe.”
ABC13 also reported that another Texas state representative Harold Dutton (D-Houston) told them, “This is typical Conroe justice. And I don’t think I have to say anything else.” Dutton is representing Reynolds on appeal.
ABC13 reported that representatives from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said the racism allegations were “ridiculous.”
Reynolds received one year in jail for each count, to run concurrently. He was also fined $4,000.
Breitbart Texas reported in September of 2014 that the embattled Texas state representative had made Texas Monthly magazine’s list of Worst Representatives of 2013. At that time, he had been arrested on 10 counts of barratry (“ambulance chasing”) in Montgomery County. He faced similar charges in 2012 in Harris County.
Reynolds’ barratry activities were discovered in Montgomery County after a confidential informant notified authorities of the kickback scheme involving the perusal of accident reports and calls to potential clients. Reynolds allegedly paid a runner to try to get accident victims to contract with Reynolds for legal services. Reynolds said he paid the man $50 only to fill-out paperwork for him.
As reported by Texas Lawyer magazine, “He left the courtroom in handcuffs,” said Joel Daniels, assistant district attorney in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. “We are ecstatic with it; we think it’s appropriate. We are really gratified at the speed in which the jury reached its verdict.”
The legal publication reported that it took the jury only one hour and fifteen minutes to find Reynolds guilty. It also took them only an hour to sentence him “to the max,” Daniels reportedly said.
Reynolds was also charged with barratry in Harris County in 2012 but the case was dismissed after one of the case investigators was accused of tampering with evidence in an unrelated case.
In February of 2014, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline brought suit against Reynolds in Harris County for his part in the ambulance chasing scheme. Law360 reported that the State Bar of Texas sued Reynolds over his part in a “criminal client solicitation scheme that involved paying kickbacks to a chiropractor who referred customers to Reynold’s personal injury law firm.”
The State Bar Commission also alleged that Robert Valdez, Sr., a convicted felon, would solicit personal injury clients for Reynolds. Reynolds allegedly provided Valdez with forms so he could sign-up legal clients for him.
Reynolds was also fined $10,000 in 2011 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance disclosures in 2008 and 2009. The Texas Attorney General sued to collect on the fine.
The State Bar of Texas has suspended him in the past for unprofessional conduct.
Texas Lawyer magazine reported that Reynolds represented himself in the criminal trial against him. His defense was reported to have consisted of Valdez testifying that Reynolds never told him to solicit clients. The six clients also testified that they never told Reynolds that Valdez solicited their business.
Reynolds has filed a notice of appeal in an attempt to overturn the convictions. He is out on bond during his appeal.
The Missouri City lawmaker is not required to resign his Texas House seat. Reynolds says he is still running for a fourth term.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2