Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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September 2, 2012

Judge quashes Bennett indictment

DA Burns to decide whether to appeal, seek new indictment or drop the matter into city councilman

By CHRIS AGEE | cagee@mineralwellsindex.com

PALO PINTO – The indictment charging Mineral Wells City Councilman Rick Bennett with abuse of official capacity was tossed out Friday.

Bennett’s attorney Jim Lane submitted a motion to quash the June indictment, which visiting State District Judge Monte Lawlis granted after hearing presentations from Lane and District Attorney Mike Burns.

That means Bennett presently does not face prosecution of the Class A misdemeanor charge. Burns is deciding whether to appeal the judge’s ruling, seek a new indictment or drop the matter entirely.

The charge stems from Bennett’s role last year in the events that led to the forced retirement of former police chief Mike McAllester.

In essence, Judge Lawlis agreed with Lane that the city charter and the city’s code of ordinances are separate, and that violations of a city charter are not punishable under the state’s criminal statutes.

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