An appointed Smith County constable is seeking election to the position he currently holds.
Bobby Garmon was appointed as the interim Precinct 1 constable in 2017, after the previous occupant of the office, Henry Phillip Jackson, was sentenced to six months in federal prison for income tax evasion.
Garmon has filed for the primary as a Democrat. Other candidates, Curtis Traylor Harris and Willie Mims Jr., have also filed for the seat as Democrats. No Republicans have filed, according to candidate filings for the March 3 primary.
The last day for primary voter registration for the March 3 election is Feb. 3. Early voting starts Feb. 18.
Garmon worked in the Smith County Sheriff’s Office 33 years, including nine as chief deputy, before retiring in 2012. He ran for sheriff in the 2012 Republican primary but lost to Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.
He had been running a business, Garmon Process and Consulting, since then. He served as an expert witness in cases and reviewed cases to consult on the evidence. He also has a private investigator license.
Harris, a Tyler native, said in a prepared statement that he has over 12 years of experience in the criminal justice field, beginning with his time as a Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections officer. He has also worked in county detention at different sheriff’s offices, including Smith County under former Sheriff J.B. Smith. He grew up in the Fun Forest neighborhood of Tyler and attended Ramey, Boulter and John Tyler, before graduating from Lee in 2006.
Mims is Precinct 1 deputy constable, according to the Smith County website.
Jackson, who was first elected Precinct 1 constable in 1999, was suspended as constable during a December 2017 court proceeding.
Jackson was sentenced to six months in federal prison, followed by a year of probation for failing to pay four years of income tax. Jackson completed his prison sentence in April 2018.
During a hearing, Jackson’s attorney said Jackson was running the constable’s office from federal prison by making a daily phone call to the office, and papers that needed his signature were being sent to the prison.
The attorney claimed state statutes for being physically incapable to perform the duties of the office were physical ailments, and being in prison was not a part of those legal definitions.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) in May 2018 said there should be a 10-year suspension on his peace officer license.
Jackson and the TCOLE did not come to an agreement on what the length his suspension should be. A TCOLE spokesperson said Jackson disagreed with the 10-year recommendation.
Jackson has requested a hearing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings, at which the length of the suspension could be decided.
Jackson’s hearing at the State Office of Administrative Hearings will be held in Austin on Dec. 18, a TCOLE spokesperson said.
Jackson’s Unpaid Taxes
and Other Past Issues
According to the court, Jackson and his wife, Meraland, failed to pay $157,489 in federal taxes from 2010 to 2013.
In 2010, the Jacksons had a gross income of $220,000, on which no taxes were paid. The IRS concludes $56,403 was owed, after deductions, adjustments and credits.
In 2011, the couple took in $115,000, and owed $19,026 in federal taxes. In 2012, they brought in $180,000, owing $32,825 in unpaid taxes. In 2013, the Jacksons earned $205,000, and owed $49,235 in federal taxes.
Prior to being constable, Jackson served with the Tyler Police Department from 1977 to 1983. From 1997 to 1998 he was a reserve deputy for the Constable Precinct 3 office.
In May 2008, Jackson was charged with seven felonies and three misdemeanors in Smith County.
The charges included seven second-degree felony counts of tampering with a governmental record as well as three misdemeanor counts of official oppression for alleged sexual harassment.
In the end, Jackson was offered a plea deal, pleading no contest to two misdemeanors, a class A and class C, and was sentenced to six months deferred adjudication probation. After the probation, the class A was to be dropped from Jackson’s record.