Politics

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal Suspended

The move by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct follows Judge Doyal’s indictment on a charge of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.

County Judge Craig Doyal
County Judge Craig Doyal

The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has suspended Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal without pay, effective immediately. The move follows Judge Doyal’s indictment by a grand jury last week.

Doyal is one of four men charged with holding secret negotiations last year over Montgomery County’s $280 million road bond. Voters approved the bond in last November’s election. The grand jury also indicted County Commissioners Charlie Riley and Jim Clark, as well as political consultant Marc Davenport. He’s the husband of Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport.

Houston attorney Christopher Downey has been appointed special prosecutor in the case. “The allegations contained in the indictment allege that the parties conducted negotiations over a specific matter of public policy, namely the 2015 Montgomery County road bond, that they met in numbers less than a quorum, with the intention to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act,” Downey says.

The act requires that governmental bodies make their meetings open to the public when deciding matters of public policy. It also requires them to notify the public in advance regarding the time and place of the meetings.

Conroe attorney John Choate is representing Judge Doyal. “We don’t believe the state has sufficient evidence, nor do I think my client’s guilty of anything,” Choate says.

Violating the Open Meetings Act is a misdemeanor offense. However, if convicted, Judge Doyal and Commissioners Riley and Clark would be removed from office.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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