by Dale Chappell
A Dallas County, Texas, judge who cops said would sign a blank warrant allowing them to do whatever they wanted was called into question by the District Attorney’s Office, which chose to drop the issue. But not before at least one case was dismissed because of the judge’s alleged actions.
Judge Steve Crane was mentioned on body-camera video during a 2016 traffic stop in Mesquite as a judge who would sign a blank warrant request letting the cops do whatever they wanted. One officer in the video told another that the judge signed a blank warrant. “No narrative. Signed it. Put whatever you need in there,” the officer was caught saying. “That’s not surprising,” the other officer said. “Crane, yeah.”
Crane denied there was a blank warrant. In a written statement, Mesquite Police Chief Charles Cato said the district attorney verified there is no active investigation and confirmed, according to the DA, “there was no validity to these claims.”
“The attitude of the two cops on the video leads me to believe this behavior is par-for-the-course for Crane,” Deandra Grant, a Dallas DUI and DWI defense attorney, said. She intends to file a complaint against Crane with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, which oversees Crane. “A judge is supposed to be an impartial magistrate,” she said. “They aren’t rubber stamps.”
A judge since 2010, Crane said he signs 35 to 40 warrants a month for DWI blood draws. The 2016 DWI case referencing Crane’s blank warrants was dismissed “in the interest of justice,” court records show.
This raises the issue of whether the integrity of other DWI cases involving warrants signed by Crane might be in question. Grant believes so and is subpoenaing documents to look into other cases. With potentially hundreds of cases in question, those affected should consider challenging their convictions based on warrants signed by Crane.
As a digital subscriber to Criminal Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login