Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate (pictured above) is scheduled to go on trial in June. He has been charged with accepting bribes from a vendor to keep the contract for the jail commissary. The vendor, who has also been charged, gave the sheriff cash, a computer, trips, and other gifts. The sheriff is also charged with violating campaign finance laws.
Now it looks like the trial may not take place in Potter County. The trial is being prosecuted by the Texas Attorney General's Office. Last Monday, the AG's office filed a motion for a change of venue. They want to hold the trial in a different county.
David Glickler, the prosecutor from the AG's office, wrote in the motion "The state believes that there exists combinations or influences in favor of the accused, Michael C. Shumate." After seeing the outcome of a recent trial involving the sheriff's office, I would agree with the prosecutor.
The chief deputy in the sheriff's office had been accused of using inmates of the county jail as his own personal "slave labor" to do work on his private property. This was clearly against the law, but a Potter County jury turned him loose. It was basically an act of jury nullification. They didn't think the crime was all that bad.
The AG's office had prosecuted that case also, so it's easy to see why they would be leery of a Potter County jury in a second trial involving the sheriff's office.
I hope the judge grants thheir request. Moving the trial to a different county would assure a fair trial for both sides.