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Former law enforcement official questions AG's decision not to prosecute Brown County Judge

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - The Texas Attorney General's Office chose not to prosecute Brown County Judge Ray West for bribery, abuse of official capacity, and securing execution of document by deception. 

For the last seven months KTXS has been fighting to obtain the investigation launched by the Brown County Sheriff's Office in 2013 against the county judge. 

But now those files have become public for the first time. 

"We were like two grown man that wanted to cry. This was just real hard for us to swallow," said Bobby Duvall, Brown County's former chief deputy sheriff. 

Duvall was one of three investigators on the case and he said he was disappointed by the AG's decision to not pursue charges despite the evidence deputies collected. 

In May KTXS submitted an open records request with the sheriff's office for the investigation and on Tuesday those files were made available.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office was looking into the sale of a county-owned building located on the 800 block of Old Coleman Road.

According to documents, West and former Brown County Probation Director JR Williams took three golf trips paid for by two private companies bidding to turn the building into a facility housing juvenile inmates. 

The sheriff's office spent several weeks collecting documents and recording interviews.

"We believed there was an outstanding case of public corruption," Duvall said. 

Among the files obtained by KTXS was an audio recording of the exchange when West was confronted by law enforcement about the sale in 2013. 

"Everything I've done is by the book, every damn thing," West said.

Investigators were notified by Commissioner Wayne Shaw of Precinct 3 that the company G4S had begun construction on the facility before the contract was even presented to commissioners, according to documents.

G4S was the Florida-based company that was eventually awarded the contract.

"[West] did everything he could to get us to stop the investigation," Duvall said.

West said in the audio recording the sheriff's office should have not gotten the attorney general's office involved.

"The problem is that if you get the AG in here, they start twisting that book around," West said.

The AG's office was contacted by former Sheriff Bobby Grubbs to take over the investigation in order "to avoid any appearances of impropriety," according to documents.

West asked investigators if they would consider dropping the criminal investigation if he started the bidding process.

"We can rebid it. There's nothing in the law that prohibits from going back and saying, 'guys we don't like the way this is going," West said.

The Texas Attorney General's Office didn't respond to KTXS' request for comment on why they chose not to prosecute.  

Judge Ray West agreed to speak with KTXS on Thursday. 

 

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