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County judge’s dismissal of cases, disrespect is unnecessary
Mar 07, 2013 | 2094 views | 1 1 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Editor:

I had the privilege of serving in the law enforcement community in and around Karnes County for 10 of my 15 year law enforcement career.

During those years I met many people who I dealt with on a professional and personal level.

Not one time in my entire career was my integrity brought into question.

I left the Texas Department of Public Safety almost two years ago to pursue my own business venture but I still value the friendships of the county officials and citizens that I forged through my years of serving in Karnes and surrounding counties.

Earlier this week it was brought to my attention that Barbara Shaw commented in front of several witnesses that all of the old cases I had filed in Karnes County should be dismissed because I was no longer a credible witness.

At first I laughed it off but then began to think about who was making this comment.

The only thing laughable Barbara Shaw is the joke of a court you run.

I will not refer to you as Judge because in my opinion you do not deserve the respect that comes with that title.

I have not filed a case in Karnes County in over four years.

My question to you is, “What happened to a citizen’s right to a speedy trial?”

Do you even know what that is?

How do you expect any person who may have witnessed very important facts to prove another’s guilt or more importantly innocence to remember these facts over four years?

Do you even care?

Instead of making defamatory, untrue remarks about a former law enforcement officer who has not filed a case in Karnes County in over four years, why don’t you concentrate on doing the job you have been elected to do?

The comments you made about me are defamatory and are about the worst thing you can say about a person that swore a majority of their life to serving the citizens of the State of Texas and I will not sit back and take it like most of the people you try and walk over.

I do not get involved in politics and never have.

You however are a true politician that blames others for your shortcomings.

I have never had a conversation with you and do not feel as if I ever needed to.

You display your true color every day.

I will however defend myself from a completely baseless and false description and I truly do not care what your title says.

A title does not make a person and you have a long way to go before you deserve any respect for the one you place before your name.

The truth behind you dismissing the hundreds of cases you have been dismissing is that you do not care to see justice served.

If you truly cared about justice these cases would not be drug out over the four years it has taken you to finally call them to docket.

That, Barbara Shaw, is a fact unlike the deceptive description of me you are running around telling people both in and out of the courtroom.

That, Barbara Shaw, is a disgrace to me, to justice and to all law enforcement that worked long hard hours to keep the citizens of Karnes and surrounding counties safe at night.

Craig Semlinger
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KarnesCountyCitizen
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June 23, 2013
I have lived in Karnes County my entire life w/ the exception of the 4 1/2 years I was away earning my Bachelor Degree of Science in Education. I have not heard the reasoning behind Shaw's comments about dismissing all cases filed involving Mr. Semlinger. While growing up in Karnes County I had the opportunity to meet Deputy Officer Semlinger & found him to be a very respectful, fair, & honest. As a teenager I would often visit with him while attending "The Dance" as we called it in Cestowha or Falls City as he was on duty protecting the safety & lives of many Karnes, Live Oak, Wilson, Atascosa, Dewitt, & other surrounding counties YOUTH. I'm not sure how these dances are nowadays but from 98-01 when I was attending these dances were huge with shoulder to shoulder people from all ages but majority being teens with 9 lives. Craig Semlinger had the obligation of being 1 of at most 4 law officers trying to control alcohol fueled adolescents and adults from fighting, driving, underage dring or being provided drinks. As a teacher I deal with 6th-12th grade students in a much more controlled environment but know first hand how difficult it can be to continuously watch a classful of students & ensure there safety while in my classroom. Kids in this age range feed off drama & I've seen first hand how violent it can become within seconds without any precursors or warning signs. Officer Semlinger's duties those nights is something I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. He not only was dealing with a much less controlled environment but he had up to 1,000 teenagers (many being under influence of alcohol or drugs) from rival schools & towns. Not to mention the drunk 30-40 year olds there checking out high school chicks & drinking as much beer as possible by midnight before having stumble out to there trucks for drive home. I admire & believe Officer Semlinger was a very positive role-model in my life. He would break up multiple fights each night but did so in such timely fashion that none I ever witnessed lasted more than a few seconds & never got out of control. He was able to maintain a safe environment with just his presences in the Hall & I'm sure the reason why was like my group of friends many others in attendance respected him like we did. Personally as a teenager growing up I didn't care much for law enforcement officers after receiving an MIP at age of 15 by Wilson County Deputy when I walked out of dance hall to meet my two buddies arriving in parking lot. I wasn't aware one of my friends had a beer (literally 1) with him in a car as I walked up to there car the deputy past by shining light inside vehicle & spotting can. He then cited us all MIP's even though I never was within 10 feet of can. I was devastated cause I turned 16 a month later but was unable to start driving for two months after birthday cause my license was suspended 3 months. Needless to say that left a bitter feeling in me towards law enforcement but Officer Semlinger taught me that majority of law enforcement officers are truly great individuals risking their life to protect & serve everyone. He did this by always saying hello & shaking my hand when we saw each other. Something I'm sure he did with the majority of others in attendance. This gave me the impression of him as not just a cop but also as a person. He obviously knew if I had been drinking or not & always asked if we all had a safe way of transportation home. He could of written as many tickets as he wanted those nights but instead he checked on our safety & only cited people acting unruly or those that presented themselves as a danger to others & themselves. I witnessed him arrest a friend of mine that actually had known him most his life but when my friend got involved in fight with another individual they both were treated the same. My point in all this is that in my opinion if Craig Semlinger wanted to Ms. Shaw he could easily have your job by running against you in next election. After a number of articles in countywide involved Ms. Shaw & someone else working or elected official having some kind of conflict going on I wanted to see for myself what was going on in the soap opera of Karnes County so I attended a court docket call one day which involved a person I knew who was on docket. I was shocked at had many cases were on docket that day but even more shocked in fashion of how each clients case was handled so thoughtlessly & without any structural basis. I couldn't believe it was actually a county court & not spin off Judge Joe Brown or People's Court. It started by Ms. Shaw arriving for us all to rise for a fashionably 30 minutes late start. Then multiple times Ms. Shaw sending county employee to find documents that were needed for certain cases or circumstances. At one point I believe 4 of the 6 or so county employees were sent to find something for you. I was able to sit there until Ms. Shaw recessed for lunch. I later decided that I must of picked a day that was unusually busy which caused so many issues of things not being readily on file for dockets or cases called so I planned to attend the following month for better idea of how our county court was ran. Needless to say I've attended 4 now none of which I felt were run in a professional manner & some nearly being as bad as the first one. Not to mention Ms. Shaw being fashionably late 50% of the time. Ms. Shaw saying every case involving Officer Semlinger being dismissed is just another one of her ways of carrying on her schoolgirl drama against someone that has probably questioned her authority appropriately. In my opinion if she's going to start throwing out cases involving certain former or current officers then she made need to start with the one that's actually plead no contest to a felony charge of tampering with evidence. Yes a highly ranked Karnes County law officer plead no contest & was convicted of felony offense for tampering or hindering evidence involving a fellow officer in Guadalupe County being arrested for DWI. Yes this officer's record is now clean & court documents of felony conviction have been sealed or abolished & details are no longer in court records because the number of years since this incident occurred has passed for its abolishment as agreed upon when officer plead no contest. I'm not even sure if this officer still works in Karnes County or if officer went some other place after Sheriff Jalufka lost election the newly elected sheriff replaced officers involved in investigating with someone who he knows. All I know is if Ms. Shaw is questioning the integrity of law enforcement officers involved in cases then that's where I'd start. I hate to think about the power some elected county officials have especially if their education level doesn't meet the position they've been elected to fill or if their education level isn't the level needed for knowledge to fulfill all the duties that certain elected county position requires then hopefully there work history isn't 20 years for the same employer & same supervisor. Hopefully they've worked 20 years in field area they've been elected for & it exposed them to many different situational experiences where they were able to see different effective ways to perform the job done by different individuals following same requirements though & having very different staring scenarios but very closely ending results or outcomes. know two jobs will every be exactly the same so treat each specific job like its something brand new & they've never seen or done before & if elected for powerful county position the ability of listening & understanding what occurred first & everything that's occurred from the believed starting point until the last & what has lead to it being unresolved this time & now needing an evaluation done by someone else & see if there's anything they can teach you that has happened once or twice in 20 years doing this job but is something that can & may have happened already to someone new & may not every occur again until the week before retirement. Finding others that work in same job field can be very helpful tool when trying to find correct resolution because you're knowledge base has only gotten so far in this field so but none of the previous steps used for resolution worked to resolve situation & after doing every possible from starting completely over to putting on final connection has worked & none of the other possible scenarios I've found to resolve problems have worked this time or at beginning but normally 9 times out of 10 the simply start over steps usually is resolution to the problem & goals set get reached with work completion load rising more money is made & more coriolis meters can be tested. I'm concerned that its reached needing my knowledge, experience, & expertise for evaluation of other reasons for this to occur & if there is way to prevent reoccurrence of this problem & preventive measures that can be done to reduce problems arising & get through 150 years of experience without anyone ever have this happen before & now it's been exposed to my steps & procedures as well as other steps & procedures done by several different individuals when similar problems occurred & how the decisions they make & judgement or decisions will impact the rest of another person's life & if that individual will ever get to choose what they feel like eating for dinner.

I've heard of instances where district judges in Karnes County dismissed a case cause of defendant or defendants rank, classification, wealth, job status, & power they have on securing reelection of current judge or security of definite employment without financial burden if & when their not reelected. All I know is the power given to some of these elected officials or other appointed county employees is disturbing & election years it becomes even more troublesome with power of current elected officials being abused to secure the reelection of certain positions without position ever having another individual contest for their positions & main source of income.

I can just see a bunch of judges drinking wine together discussing possible ways to influence an investigation by determining if indictments or prosecutions of certain individuals or groups would be beneficial for reelection or vise versa & the accuser or victims allegations against a defendant who if not indicted or not prosecuted has the ability to provide financial support & job security covers the current judge in case their not reelected & will need employment & new source of income but there work history involves only a few years of secretarial experience & it was many years ago when technology was message machines & typewriter's. The stuff used all the time today wasn't even imagined or thought of when her last job description or employer changed. Then having nothing more than high school diploma or associate degree as educational background pushes them right into the first round of elimination procedures even if their previous employment came with the ability to take a persons freedom away. Most of this elected county officials have money, married money, or did something for someone with money so if they reelection didn't occur they wouldn't lose all power at once so favors while elected may have occurred by promise of jobs with supervisor type power which they can only type of job they'll successfully maintain if needed for many years because as stable employment because the longer they had power only a judge has then the more they become obsessed with power & determining what outcome is going to happen even if a jury decides guilt or innocence a judge can do many things during the course of trial that persuades the jury to believe what is lawful & unlawful. After judge receives verdict or determines verdict then they have punishment or phase or reimbursement phase of trial & an elected judge whom before elected cleaned houses until they worked for previous district judge as secretary for three years until judge retired & secretary is elected by default cause nobody else wants job. After three years of answering the phone in a district judges municipal courtroom/office, writing messages for judge about missed calls, & keeping municipal court hours & recording upcoming hearings or possible retrials occurring the schedule is gone over at end of everyday copied & given to judge before she leaves work that day. The schedule should have concrete cases for next day & hopefully at least 3 or 4 days of concrete hearings with then allowing the last three or four days of any given week at that point to be written into schedule & if Judge starred anything in scheduling notes it is set in concrete also. So now the newly elected Judge who's knowledge of courtroom procedures and every type of law in the book can be heard in district court is a lady who has three years experience typing schedules of upcoming hearings but that are always seven days in advance, experience answering phone & writing name of callers with brief message. & some possible notifications of plea arrangement , case being dismissed, or case being delayed might have also been written in phone message especially in third year when she became more known around municipal office. The new Judge can prepare coffee & set up each side of the courtroom for a proper environment in which both sides have equally fair share of Judges view and if a jury is involved there provided notepad, pens, pencils , highlighter, bottle water, fresh brewed coffee in the jury break area. As far court proceedings the newly elected judge was unable to sit through any of the previous judges court hearings because she had to answer phone or greet any visitors whom may have come for trial or to pay a ticket, & possibly try to reschedule upcoming hearings by judge.