Justice in Collin County? Here’s a story that may have slipped through the cracks this past holiday weekend: soon-to-be former state district judge Suzanne Wooten, who was convicted last week in Collin County of felony bribery, got 10 years probation, a $10,000 fine and a whole lot of volunteer time Monday, says the Dallas Morning News (subscription required). The story is first page news today. Wooten, who is 43, was found guilty of six counts of bribery, one count of engaging in organized criminal activity, one count of money laundering and one count of tampering with a government record on November 22. Not only will the now former Judge have to do a heck of a lot of community service — try one thousand hours — she agreed to waive her right to appeal the convictions and will resign from the 380th District Court bench.
Wooten was indicted last year for bribery of accepting $150,000 in funds from a University Park couple, Stacy and David Cary, to rule in favor of an acrimonious child custody battle. She used the money for her campaign expenses, according to prosecutors. Full disclosure: we knew both David and Jennifer, David’s second wife, when they were married. There was speculation the charges against Wooten were politically motivated, since the investigation was launched by Collin County’s previous district attorney, John Roach, who Wooten claimed had a political vendetta against her, even though the two are Republicans. The Texas attorney general’s office took over the investigation in 2008 when Roach recused himself from his office last year. But then Wooten’s complaints of intimidation and harassment, even by a fellow Repub, spurred an FBI investigation that was later dropped. Wooten has said she never knew the Carys or their daughters. And $150,000 might get you a better judicial photo.
So. Justice in Collin County at long last? Some have cried that this is just the tip of the iceberg of dirty deals in a Collin County family law system that stinks. That maybe it’s time to change the system so these judges don’t have so much absolute power. In any case, not sure if this will influence anyone’s decision to buy or not buy in Collin County, or will it? At least one commenter on the Collin County Observer has said it’s stuff like this that steers buyers from McKinney. And then there’s this:
There is a small group of us within the community that are working at present, behind the scenes, quietly gathering information to finally bring to light, this connection to money laundering from outside our state from known criminals. Criminals who would not hesitate to make known concerned citizens look like they shot themselves, if they revealed their information. This explains why the tax load on the average McKinney homeowner sits in the highest levels in this county that exists in Texas. It also explains why our school system is broken. It also explains why Allen, Texas is now number one in the country as a great place to retire, and McKinney has completedly dropped from the rankings all together.
Trials for the Carys and James Stephen Spencer, Wooten’s campaign manager, are coming next. The Cary’s (Stacy and David) home is on Lovers in UP: built 1997, it is spacious, updated, about 3900 square feet with a Thermadore kitchen, granite, marble, wood, fine millwork, Anderson windows, a central vac, humidifer, and porte corchere. It was listed for $779,000 and sold to Stacy Stine Cary April 13, 2004 for $775,000. David’s name is not listed on DCAD as having ownership in the home.