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Rep. Ron Reynolds to be tried again on barratry charges

Just a misdemeanor this time, for what it’s worth.

Rep. Ron Reynolds

Reynolds was originally charged in 2013 with felony barratry for an alleged “ambulance chasing for profit scheme,” but was convicted by a jury of six counts of a lesser misdemeanor charge “solicitation of professional employment” – essentially acquitting him of the felony charge, his attorney said at the time.

Prosecutors accused Reynolds and seven other Houston-area attorneys of paying thousands of dollars to Robert Ramirez Valdez of Conroe, a four-time felon now serving five years in prison, for his part in scouring Houston police records to recruit car accident victims to become the attorneys’ clients.

Texas law prohibits lawyers – as well as licensed chiropractors, physicians and private investigators – from seeking out and soliciting a client for personal injury, wrongful death, accident or disaster claims.

His conviction was then thrown out in November because a juror reported having been influenced by outside information. The case resumed after the legislative session concluded and was set to go to trial next week.

Prosecutors agreed with the defense that charging Reynolds again with felony barratry would have constituted double jeopardy. The allegations against Reynolds and facts of the case remain the same.

“After significant research on the issue we concluded going forward on the felony is barred by the double jeopardy,” said first assistant district attorney Phil Grant.

See here for all the past history. I’ll say what I said before: I’ve met Rep. Reynolds and I like him. He’s got a good voting record, and he’s been out front on issues like voting rights and reproductive freedom. On that score, we could do a lot worse. But this isn’t his first brush with barratry charges, and he’s got some baggage beyond that. I wish him well in his defense and regardless of what else happens I hope this is the last we ever hear of this sort of thing, but I think it’s time the voters in HD27 had another choice of who to represent them. Win or lose this particular fight, Rep. Reynolds needs to give some thought to calling it a career as a legislator. The Trib has more.

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