It appears Joesph “Joey” G. Dauben, publisher of the now-defunct Ellis County Observer website, is becoming almost as big of a headache for public officials from behind bars as he was when he was loose on the streets muckraking. Dauben, 31, who is in the Navarro County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond on three charges related to alleged sexual activity with a 15-year-old male teenager four years ago, mailed us a copy of an inmate grievance he filed with the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office this week.
In the grievance, Dauben takes Navarro County Justice of the Peace Vicki Gray to task for allegedly threatening inmates with throwing away their requests for court-appointed attorneys if they dared to send her second or third requests. In the complaint, Dauben, who went for almost two months without legal representation after he declared he was indigent during his arraignment on Dec. 19 and requested a court-appointed attorney, claims he felt like her remarks were directed specifically at him, although she was addressing several inmates at once.
Dauben writes in the complaint, “Since one does not need to be a lawyer to be Justice of the Peace, and Gray was elected in 2010 for four years, she may think she is not going to be watched. However, not every inmate she arraigns, talks to or appoints counsel for is a newspaper publisher. Her comments are clearly unacceptable, and anything she or other public officials say can and will be used against them. It’s to correct, not punish. I am not filing this to exact revenge, but to teach public officials proper conduct.”
In another development, an Ellis County grand jury handed down an indictment against Dauben on Jan. 19 for “fraudulent use of identifying information.” The indictment alleges that Dauben reported on his blog on June 21 that an individual was accused of molesting children. Postings on the interactive blog allegedly encouraged violence against the accused individual. No action has been taken on the Ellis County indictment due to the pending prosecution by Navarro County.
Dauben said he is now waiting for the appointment of a court-appointed attorney in the new Ellis County case. A response is expected from him in connection with a motion by the Ellis County district attorney and the Red Oak Police Department to seize EllisCountyObserver.com, he said. The new indictment apparently arose from a raid on his home office in Henderson County last summer by law enforcement officials.
Other than to maintain his innocence, Dauben continues to decline comment on the sex abuse of a child charges that involve a teenager who is now 19, referring any questions to his lawyer, Ed Jendrzy, who was recently appointed to represent him.
In the meantime, Dauben writes that he is staying busy behind bars planning his future journalistic pursuits and learning from his experiences. He notes his “side issues erupting in the midst of my imprisonment are not solely for me, but for the other inmates (current, former, future) who need help fighting for their rights, or to simply keep public officials accountable.”
It would appear that anyone in public official-land who perhaps thought Dauben might be silenced by his imprisonment is now learning otherwise. Dauben might become more annoying to them than he ever was before if this drama continues as it has.