POLK COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - A visiting judge sentenced a former Polk County constable to 10 years of deferred adjudication Monday after he pleaded guilty to trying to influence a witness during a Texas Rangers investigation into allegations that he had allowed family members to use his county gas card.
Pct. 4 Constable Dana G. “Bubba” Piper pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony witness tampering charge in the 411th Judicial District Court, according to a press release from the Polk County District Attorney’s Office. After he pleaded to the charge, visiting District Judge Joe Ned Dean sentenced Piper to 10 years of deferred adjudication, which is like probation.
As part of the plea agreement, Piper resigned his position as the Pct. 4 constable effective immediately and permanently surrendered his Texas peace officer’s license, the press release stated. Piper also agreed to pay a $3,444 fine along with $3,400 in restitution to Polk County.
“Piper’s guilty plea stemmed from a Texas Rangers investigation earlier this year which was requested by Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon after county auditors observed unusual and excessive activity on Piper’s county-issued fuel credit card,” the press release stated. “During the investigation, it was determined that Piper had allowed family members and friends to use the credit card for their own benefit.”
The Texas Rangers also determined that Piper had “improperly attempted to influence the testimony of a key witness during the course of the investigation.”
Other terms of the community supervision order issued by Dean include a requirement that Piper undergo to drug and alcohol abuse and psychological evaluations within 60 days, the press release stated. Piper is also forbidden from owning a gun during his 10-year deferred adjudication term.
“Although a hearing was scheduled for today on a civil lawsuit filed by the District Attorney’s Office against Piper seeking his immediate suspension and removal from office, prior to commencing the hearing, Hon and attorneys for Piper announced to the court that an agreement had been reached on both the civil trial as well as felony indictments recently returned against Piper by a Polk County Grand Jury,” the press release stated.
According to the press release, the decision about whether to appoint an interim constable to fill out the remainder of Piper’s term will be made by the Polk County Commissioners Court.