After I posted an item yesterday about Morgan Meyer’s 1997 arrest, more than a few people told me to go find out why one of Meyer’s opponents in the House District 108 race, Chart Westcott, has a probationary law license. The Texas Board of Law Examiners is prevented by statute from explaining why a lawyer has a probationary license. But here are the two reasons that a license would be probationary, from the BLE’s site:
1) when the Board determines that the Applicant suffers from chemical dependency or has been convicted of, or is on probation for, a first offense of driving while intoxicated under Texas Penal Code §49.04; or
2) in other circumstances in which, on the record before it, the Board determines that the protection of the public requires the temporary monitoring of the Applicant in question.
I emailed and called Westcott to find out which of those two reasons applied in his case, and I got no response. But, as luck would have it, our own Dan Koller, of Park Cities People fame, had a previously scheduled interview with Westcott this morning. Here’s a snippet of that interview:
DK: “Why is your law license on a probationary basis?”
CW: “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not, you know, big and juicy, and I’m not going to take any lawyer’s dodges. And I don’t have to get permission from the Dallas Morning News to lie about this. You know, I made a decision to abstain from alcohol four years ago. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. There was no specific incident — period — that led to that decision. Much like George W. Bush, I just decided that my life would be better off without it. The Board of Law Examiners asks you to disclose a decision like this on your bar application, and I happily disclosed it because it was the right thing to do.”
DK: “You disclosed that you had decided to abstain from alcohol?”
CW: “Correct. In response to this disclosure, they gave me a probationary bar license that will convert in two years to a regular license if I continued to abstain from alcohol [meaning it will convert in June]. I’m proud to say I have not had a drink in three years.”
After Dan transcribed the above, he called Westcott to ask about the discrepancy between making the decision four years ago and then not having had a drink for three years. Westcott said he lapsed after making the decision.
So there you have it. I would hope that the same lawyers who jumped into the comments on the Meyer post to discuss the difference between civil and criminal proceedings will help us out in this instance, too. Without an incident, would the BLE issue a probationary license if an applicant disclosed that he voluntarily quit drinking?
While we are pondering that question, Dan reports that in the Morning News’ endorsement of Meyer, they probably should have revealed that Meyer has done legal work for the paper.