One of Jefferson County’s more boisterous bloggers is suing one of its more outspoken judges over alleged civil rights violations.
On Nov. 27 Philip Klein, author of the Southeast Texas Political Review, filed a petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against Judge Layne Walker, 252nd District Court, in Jefferson County District Court.
In his suit, Klein accuses Judge Walker of retaliating against him for publishing undesirable stories featuring the criminal court judge.
The crux of the matter centers around Steve Hartman, an employee of Klein Investigations, another of Philip Klein's businesses. Hartman was arrested in May when he tried to serve Walker with a lawsuit while the judge has holding court.
According to the lawsuit, Walker then appointed an associate of his, Bryan attorney Shane Phelps, to serve as a special prosecutor in pursuit of an indictment against Klein for allegedly tampering with witnesses in Hartman’s criminal case.
The 27-page suit further accuses the defendants of violating Klein’s First Amendment right to be free from compelled expression.
Klein’s request for a temporary injunction to halt the indictment against him was denied Nov. 27 by Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, according to a courthouse clerk.
However, the case is officially assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, and will undergo further proceedings in the 136th District Court. Wortham was the only district judge on hand on Friday, the clerk said.
Missouri City attorney Larry Watts of Watts & Associates represents Klein.
Case No. D195-012