Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 14, 2013

DA: Fletcher investigation began months ago

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — This past week began with the resignation of County-At-law Judge Craig Fletcher and ended with the disclosure that the criminal investigation that prompted his resignation dates as far back as early October — shortly after District Attorney Rachel Patton received a tip that Fletcher's professional behavior might not be on the up-and-up.

"I received information alleging some inappropriate behavior by Judge Fletcher that had the potential to have some criminal implications," Patton told the Jacksonville Daily Progress this week. "Upon being informed of these allegations, in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, I immediately contacted the Texas Rangers and the Attorney General's office to request an independent outside investigation, and prosecution, if that became necessary."

A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed Wednesday that the Texas Rangers recently were asked to investigate Fletcher through a special prosecutor with the district attorney's office.

Despite many of the rumors flying around the county, authorities continue to stay tight-lipped for the reasons behind the investigation. Despite her comments to the Progress, Patton did not specify what the alleged inappropriate behavior was alleged to have been, nor did she specify the name of the special prosecutor who was

appointed.

A Texas Attorney General's Office spokesman, Tom Kelley, said earlier this week, "there are no charges to be made here, no grand jury setting."

Fletcher also has not answered requests for comment made through both his office and his Facebook account.

After the former judge's resignation letter was read into the record Monday — Fletcher was not present — he was almost immediately replaced by Cherokee County Attorney Kelley Peacock.