DA responds to Belew’s claim, says felony conviction is valid

Pct. 1 Commissioner wants removal case tossed on technicality, but 198th DA Stephen Harpold says Belew’s conviction is valid.

In a court filing late Tuesday afternoon, 198th District Attorney Stephen Harpold said Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley David Belew’s argument that a quo warranto action wasn’t valid is false and that facts are that Belew is indeed a convicted felon.

Earlier this month, Belew’s attorney Patrick O’Fiel argued in a “plea in abatement” filing that the lack of a judge’s signature on Harpold’s evidence was proof there was no final conviction. However, Harpold dug into the legal procedures before 1981 and found that state law did not require a judge’s signature on a judgment.

In our weekly newsletter, we’ll send you our latests news, events and the best of our daily coverage.

Subscribe to The Kerr County Lead

“It further details a sentence of 10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections, probated for 10 years, then continues with the identities of the parties, dates, terms and conditions,” Harpold wrote of Belew’s conviction. “There is not a judge’s signature on that judgment and here’s why.


“Prior to 1981, Art. 42.01 did not require that a judgment be signed.”

Another reminder, felonies stay on your record for life, and the only way to remove them is through a process of applying to the state Board of Pardons and Parole. Belew never applied for a pardon.

The two sides meet Friday morning in the 198th District Court, with visiting Judge Sid Harle presiding, to discuss the plea in abatement argument. If Belew loses the bid to have the case thrown out, he could face expulsion from the Precinct 1 seat by Harle, but it’s not likely the judge will make that decision.

The way state law reads is that it places the removal decision on the shoulders of the district judge. While a jury can hear civil cases, the quo warranto action seems to rest with the judge and depends on a jury’s ruling from a previous court action — like a felony conviction.

In 1973, Belew and two others burglarized department stores, but his indictment was for a Haltom City residence — a class 2 felony. Belew waived his right for a jury trial, which a Tarrant County judge signed, and then pleaded guilty to one count of burglary to receive a 10-year probation. That felony has stayed on Belew’s Department of Public Safety records since 1973.

Empaneling a jury in Kerr County might be tricky for Belew, who was soliciting people to support him on social media and using his morning radio show to complain about the proceedings.

However, Friday’s action put Belew at the mercy of an unfamiliar judge, who Sixth Administrative Regional Judge Stephen Ables selected. Harle oversees the Fourth Administrative Region.

Leave a Reply

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top