Prosecuting Law Enforcement - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/10/06 - East Texas

Prosecuting Law Enforcement

by Ramonica R. Jones

A former East Texas deputy accused of beating an inmate has a new job and that new job is in law enforcement.

Marshall Scott Taylor is now a deputy constable in Trinity County. The former sheriff's deputy was tried for nearly knocking a prisoner unconcious. The four-day trial ended with a hung jury.

The Trinity County Sheriff's Office fired him last spring after he was accused of the crime. If convicted of official oppression, Taylor would have faced two years in jail and permanent loss of his peace officer's license.

There's no word on whether he'll be re-tried, but he's one of several area peace officers accused of abusing their authority.

To protect and serve is an oath most troopers, deputies, and officers live by, but there are some law enforcment agents who don't take that promise seriously. East Texas prosecutors want to make sure they don't go unpunished if they commit crimes.

Joe Ned Dean, Trinity County district attorney., said, "I would hope we don't have officers that abuse their power and I think any good prosecutor is going to look at it in a case-by-case basis, and if he thinks his officer has violated the law I think he'll be prosecuted."

Not all authorities who break the law are prosecuted in a courtroom, but court officials don't take complaints against peace officers lightly.

"They should be held to the same standards as everyone else or a higher standard. A lot of times you have questions because not every arrest is easily made and it's a judgment call how much force to use. You're only supposed to use the amount of force necessary to effect the arrest."

Dean has been Trinity County's D.A. for two years. During that time he has prosecuted two sheriff's deputies. He said as long as he's on board, criminals who wear a badge won't get away with breaking the law.

Deputy Constable Marshall Scott Taylor now writes citations in Trinity County. He no longer has the same contact with inmates he had as deputy sheriff.

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