NOTE: After the original version of this article was published, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office relented and announced they would be releasing the video. The article has been updated.
Officials in Collin County were refusing to release video taken during a recent incident with a member of the Texas House.
Following a run-in with a Collin County Sheriff’s deputy on September 28, State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano) was charged with three violations: driving on the wrong side of the road, disregarding official traffic control device, and driving with an expired license. On December 12, Collin County prosecutors granted deferred disposition to Leach on the first two charges, while dropping the expired license charge.
The incident was unknown to the public until earlier this month. After the revelation that video footage of the incident exists, Leach told an Austin-based political website that he was “eager” for the public to view the footage. He made no public comments about the footage being withheld by Skinner’s office.
Even though the cases were no longer pending, the office of Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner was refusing to release footage of Leach’s incident.
After Texas Scorecard made a request through the Public Information Act for all records and video related to the incident, the sheriff appealed to the Office of the Attorney General to keep the records hidden. Late Wednesday afternoon, Skinner’s office withdrew their appeal to the OAG.
The office had claimed the case was “pending” and, therefore, was subject to an exemption from disclosure. Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, however, told Texas Scorecard that the exemption no longer applied.
“The AG’s office has previously ruled that a Class C misdemeanor case is no longer pending once someone is on deferred adjudication. This means the pending litigation exception no longer applies and the information is public,” said Willis.
Late Wednesday, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office informed the Office of the Attorney General that it would be releasing the video. Reportedly, the sheriff will not release the footage until Friday.