Felony count axed for 1st black woman elected Texas sheriff

February 22, 2019

ANAHUAC, Texas (AP) — A judge has thrown out a felony record-tampering indictment against the first black woman elected sheriff in Texas.

Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens had been indicted last April on a state jail felony indictment of record tampering, along with two misdemeanor campaign finance violations. However, state District Judge Randy McDonald of neighboring Chambers County noted Thursday that Stephens’ two 2016 campaign opponents were charged only with misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

McDonald wondered aloud “why one is being charged with a felony when the other two aren’t.” So he granted a defense motion for dismissal of the felony count against Stephens.

All three still face trial on the misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office, which has been prosecuting the case, says it may appeal.