State Rep Ron Reynolds arrested for barratry

By LeaAnne Klentzman

State Representative for District 27, Ron Reynolds, a Houston attorney and a resident of Missouri City, was arrested last week for the solicitation of clients, otherwise known as Barratry.

Reynolds has now had his first court appearance. The facts of the case only began to unfold after the initial shock of the charges settled down.

Barratry under Texas law is loosely defined as the solicitation of clients for professional service that are not legally authorized. In short, a personal injury attorney cannot call or contact an accident victim nor can they pay someone to contact an accident victim in order to represent them. The lawyer must wait for the victim to contact them.

The law states, “A person commits an offense if they are an attorney, chiropractor, physician, surgeon, or private investigator licensed to practice in this (Texas) state or any person licensed, certified, or registered by a health care regulatory agency of this state; … with the intent to obtain professional employment for himself or for another, sends or knowingly permits to be sent to an individual who has not sought the person’s employment, legal representation, advice.”

Last week Reynolds, and two associates, one a chiropractor, were arrested and charged with Barratry and related charges. The trio is alleged to have been soliciting business for Reynolds. In a statement Reynolds said, “In the early evening of Tuesday, April 24, 2012, I was arrested for the alleged violation of a law known as barratry, or the unlawful solicitation of clients by lawyers. While the facts of the case have yet to be disclosed to me, it is my intent to fully cooperate with the prosecutors who are pursuing the charges,” said Rep. Reynolds.

In a court appearance this Monday Reynolds, Chiropractor Ton Thanh Ha, and Adriene Anderson all claimed innocence. The three are accused of working together to get clients for Reynolds which in turn benefits them all.

Reynolds said, “I maintain my innocence and plan to vigorously defend myself against all allegations. Although it appears that the charges filed against me are politicized, I do not take the matter lightly. In fact, since becoming an elected official, I have voted for new laws holding lawyers guilty of barratry, more accountable to their victims. It is my hope that the truth regarding the allegations will soon be made clear. I have full confidence in our judicial system and look forward to a prompt resolution.”

More court dates have been set as the facts of the case slowly surface and it moves its way through the system. A charge of Barratry is uncommon; however it was made much stricter in 2011. It is especially notable that a sitting State Representative is charged with such a crime. Barratry in Texas can be a third degree felony. Conviction could result in fines and or the loss of the ability to practice law.

Ron Reynolds is a partner of the law firm of Brown, Brown, & Reynolds in Bellaire. That firm specializes in Family law, Social Security/Disability law and personal injury law. Reynolds is the first African-American elected to represent Fort Bend County in the State Legislature since the Re-Construction.

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