Jailed Ellis County Observer publisher continues activism behind bars, faces new indictment

A copy of Joey Dauben's inmate grievance against Navarro County Justice of the Peace Vicki Gray. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

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.”

—  admin