Grand jury returns ‘no bill’ on DWI case involving Rockwall County Judge

Rockwall County Judge David Sweet

(ROCKWALL, TX – Nov. 4, 2016) The DWI case involving Rockwall County Judge David Sweet was dropped Wednesday after a Rockwall County grand jury returned a “no bill” decision.

In the grand jury process, a “no bill” is issued if the grand jury determines there is insufficient evidence to prosecute someone.

Judge Sweet was arrested in the early morning on Friday, June 24, for allegedly driving while intoxicated. He was taken into custody and booked at the Rockwall County Jail at 1:22 a.m., and was released four hours later after posting a $1,000 bond.

On July 25, Rockwall County Court at Law Judge Brian Williams filed a motion to recuse himself from the case.  The Presiding Judge of the 1st Administrative Judicial Region, Judge Mary Murphy from Dallas, appointed Judge Jane Roden, a former Dallas County judge, to preside over the case.

Within days after Judge Roden was appointed, Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper filed a motion to recuse the DA’s Office from the DWI case. “Although it wasn’t a legal conflict and we weren’t required to get a special prosecutor, I wanted to avoid even the perception of impropriety in the case,” she said.  “My office works with Judge Sweet every day.  It was important that our community know that the matter would be handled with complete objectivity. For this reason, I asked the judge to appoint an outside prosecutor.  I didn’t want it to look like Judge Sweet’s case would be prosecuted differently one way or another because of our working relationship with him.”

Heather Ragsdale with the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office was appointed by Judge Roden as the special prosecutor in the case on August 2nd.   The Kaufman County DA’s Office has handled all aspects of the case since that time.

“We are very pleased with the grand jury’s decision,” said Tim Hartley, Judge Sweet’s defense attorney. “It has always been our position that Judge Sweet had done nothing wrong. He looks forward to  focusing all of his attention on the business of the county and continuing to serve its citizens.”

Story by Austin Wells, editor / senior reporter.

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