Former Smith County Pct. 2 Constable Joshua Black has denied the right to appeal his recent conviction on a charge of official oppression in exchange for the dismissal of remaining charges.
Black was convicted of official oppression Sept. 16 and sentenced the next day to six months in the Smith County Jail. He also was fined $4,000 and removed from office.
The Smith County District Attorney’s Office said Friday that Black waived his right to appeal Wednesday.
He was found guilty of using the power of his office to request sexual favors from a woman seeking supervised visitation of her child.
Black also is charged with two counts of prostitution and another official oppression charge. The first prostitution charge was set to go to trial Monday.
In a statement, the DA’s office said the same facts in the recently resolved oppression case apply in the prostitution case against Black.
During the sentencing phase of Black’s trial, the jury heard evidence and testimony in connection to the prostitution and new official oppression charges.
The victim, who is a part of the new cases, testified during the punishment phase, and the jury based its punishment decision on the testimony and evidence from all four cases, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
After discussing options with the victims, the DA’s office said Friday that the victims are “relieved” to see Black was removed as constable and sentenced to jail.
“They have each expressed a desire to not be required to testify again and a desire to see that the verdict and judgment (in the first oppression case) become a final judgment,” the DA’s office said.
The DA’s office also believes it is in the interest of justice that the remaining charges should be dismissed since Black is waiving his right to a new trial and his right to appeal.
Requests for dismissal were filed Friday in the Smith County Court at Law No. 2, according to court records.
According to the statement, Black’s waiver of appeal makes his removal from office permanent and ensures the victims won’t have to testify again.
The move allows the Smith County Commissioners Court to appoint a permanent replacement as the interim constable in Smith County Pct. 2 so “public trust can be restored as soon as possible,” according to the DA’s office.
The Commissioners Court on Tuesday began discussions on the process of selecting an interim constable.
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the court has the authority to appoint an interim constable after Black’s conviction, but the decision would be made carefully.
“The appointment is too important for us to do it on three days’ notice, and we’re going to just take a deep breath and see what this week brings,” Moran said at the time.
Moran explained that state law allows a chief deputy to act as constable until an interim officeholder is selected. Tim Maloney is serving as chief deputy for the Pct. 2 constable’s office.
Pct. 1 Commissioner Neal Franklin, whose precinct covers the Pct. 2 constable area, will lead the effort in filling the vacancy. The appointee must live in the Pct. 2 constable area, which includes the Noonday, Flint and Bullard areas.
“I hate to see the situation we had in our county, and I hate the scenario that just developed down there. Our prayers are with the families that are involved,” Franklin said Tuesday. “We’re going to get past this. It’s a dark moment, but we’re going to get past this, and we’re going to come out well.”
Moran said the interim constable item will be on the commissioners’ agenda every week until the court is ready to make the appointment.