• Sheriff Robert Chody

Shawn Dick’s Prosecution of Sheriff Chody Revealed to Be A Political Ploy

On Monday, October 5, 2020, Sheriff Robert Chody’s legal team sought immediate relief in court due to new information uncovered in the discovery process. 

Williamson County District Attorney, Shawn Dick, finally disclosed the basis of the evidence tampering charge he filed early last week against Sheriff Chody.

Dick’s case is not based upon any specific allegation of destruction, alteration, or suppression of evidence, as Dick led people to believe. Rather, it is based entirely on the fact that Sheriff Chody signed a contract with Live PD. This contract was reviewed by the County Attorney’s office, cleared by that office, and then voted on and approved by the Williamson County Commissioners Court.

“This is politics, pure and simple,” said Attorney E.G. Morris, who leads the Chody legal team. “Chody followed the contract process outlined by legal counsel, and then the agreement was approved by the Commissioners Court. Under Dick’s theory of prosecution, Dick could also charge any Commissioner who voted ‘yes’ on the contract.”

At issue is a provision of the contract with Big Fish Entertainment, the parent company for Live PD, that allows the company to delete footage it collects on its cameras after 30 days (absent any preservation request from law enforcement). The provision was cleared by the County Attorney in two separate agreements, and it was approved twice by the Commissioners Court.

“Sheriff Chody signed the agreement with Big Fish without making any alterations to language the Commissioners Court approved,” said Morris. “The theory of the prosecution seems to be that Chody made tampering possible because he signed this Court approved agreement. At no point does Dick allege that the Sheriff actually destroyed or altered or suppressed any evidence. This indictment is overly broad and shaky in its reasoning. We are now moving through the process of getting the charge dismissed.”

Chody Campaign spokesman, Craig Murphy, noted how unusual it is for a prosecutor to seek an indictment against a candidate this close to an election. “Most prosecutors respect the electoral process, but Shawn Dick obviously does not,” said Murphy. “Even in cases where there are serious charges, prosecutors are hesitant to bring a charge this close to an election because they know how prejudicial it can be for voters. In this instance, the District Attorney rushed a process under a flawed theory specifically so he could impact the election. He ought to be ashamed.”

After announcing the indictment early last week, Dick hosted a joint press conference with the Democrat DA of Travis County, Margaret Moore, on the steps of the Williamson County Court House. In July, Travis County voters rejected Moore at the ballot box after she failed to act on the Javier Ambler case for an astounding 16 months. 

“Unfortunately, Shawn Dick continues the sad Williamson County tradition of indicting and prosecuting people for crimes they did not commit,” said Sheriff Chody. “I wish Dick would pursue the actual crimes we send to his office with the same level of zeal. Williamson County would be a safer and more just place.”