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Lawsuit dismissed by Federal Judge
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY — In a Federal Court on December 13, a civil lawsuit against Woody Wallace was dismissed. Wallace's attorney filed a motion to remove the case from State Court to a Federal Court in Lufkin. Stemming from incidents that occurred in 2011, the case involved a student of Trinity Independent School District (TISD) who had allegedly distributed drugs during a football game, in Trinity. During the game Wallace was approached by several citizens telling him they had been offered drugs, witnessed the same person offer drugs to others and wanted it stopped. Wallace, like any officer would, responded by approaching the accused. When approached by Wallace, the child, who was 11 years old at the time, stated his innocence. Accompanying the child was his grandfather who also stated the child's innocence. Wallace felt the child had ingested some type of drug, so, he encouraged the child's grandfather to seek medical attention for that child immediately. The petition states at that point the child was illegally searched and detained. Wallace, on the other hand, rejects that comment, stating there was never a search or detainment and the whole incident took no longer than 2-3 minutes. No arrests were made and the child and the child's guardian were free to leave. Wallace decided to call TISD and advise them of the circumstances surrounding the encounter. TISD conducted it's own investigation and concluded that the child be suspended. After several administration attempts by the child's guardian, it was recommended by TISD that the child attend the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, for committing a Level IV violation of the Student Code of Conduct. This decision was made regardless of the fact that the child was never found to be in possession of a drug, or under the influence of a drug. These actions from the school along with harassments made by Wallace during the appeals process are what initiated the lawsuit, according to the petition. Wallace commented, "All of the allegations stated in this case were false and frivolous. In my opinion this case was politically motivated to influence the 2012 Sheriff's election." "As a law enforcement officer, I will not knowingly allow the sale of dangerous drugs to any child and will make every reasonable attempt to protect children from these types of situations. As a parent, I hope that someone would likewise intervene if one of my own children were about to knowingly or unknowingly inflict harm on themselves." Wallace stated The Federal Judge presiding over this case determined Wallace immune from any claims of slander, stating, it is his legal obligation to inform the school of any illegal incidents he may be aware of.