BEAUMONT — In a unanimous Feb. 22 decision, the Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of all charges against Sgt. Chad Kolander, a long-time Jefferson County Sheriff’s department investigator.
The ruling upheld visiting trial judge Stephen Ables’ finding that the prosecution failed to show how the search warrant affidavit at issue was in any way false.
“I feel unimaginable relief after being put through more than six months of hell,” said Kolander. “I will be eternally grateful for the support of my family, the Sheriff’s office, my attorneys, and the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.”
Kolander’s local attorney, Marsha Normand, thanked justices for “ending the nonsense that put this honorable man’s freedom in jeopardy.”
Normand’s co-counsel, David Schleicher of Waco, described the case as one in which “the law and facts saved a career officer from falling victim to a political grudge match in which he was an innocent bystander.”
The Kolander case arose from a search warrant he obtained to review the contents of a pen recorder, worn by a process server who tried to serve a lawsuit during court on former Jefferson County District Judge Layne Walker.
Kolander had presented the affidavit requesting the search warrant to then-Judge Bob Wortham, now the Jefferson County district attorney. The prosecution had argued that it was misleading not to include in the affidavit the fact that someone else in the Sheriff’s office already had attempted to examine the contents of the pen recorder.
A related criminal case remains pending against former district judge Layne Walker, with the trial currently set for June.
Houston attorney Josh Schaffer was appointed as prosecutor on these cases after District Attorney Wortham recused himself.
It is not yet known how much the prosecution of Kolander will have cost Jefferson County taxpayers or if Schaffer will appeal the decision to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.