From time to time, we all encounter stories about a corrupt institution of local government, and we wonder at the mindset that must lie behind the corruption. As it turns out, in my own area here in Central Texas, there is at least one corrupt institution of government, and if there is any justice on Earth, the demons who have used their authority to demolish a lady’s life will be made to pay. Sadly, the system is rigged against her, and naturally, the authorities involved have a corrupt media in their pockets. What makes this story all the more frightening for me, personally, is the fact that I know the lady involved who has been the ceaseless victim of an attack by cronyism between a few private interests and a local government. I will now share with you this story, in the hope that you will find a way to help her cause. We mustn’t leave government or justice to the corrupt sorts who use it for personal vendettas or personal gain, but in Coryell County Texas, the law has become the servant of criminals.
You should know that in Central Texas, one of the counties in the region is Coryell. Its seat is the city of Gatesville, and its largest town, Copperas Cove, is on the Western edge of the Fort Hood military reservation. To travel from Copperas Cove to Gatesville entails a thirty minute drive on Highway 116, a roadway that runs parallel to the Western boundary of the military reservation. It is along this rural Texas highway that this controversy was initiated, and it was enacted by parties in the Copperas Cove vicinity, and otherwise assisted by officialdom in Gatesville. Before telling you the details of the case, let me tell you about its primary victim, a lady I have known for a dozen years, who is remarkable both in her person, but also in her personal history. Her name is Marijeta Medverec, and if there is any justice in Heaven or on Earth, Coryell County will come to bear her name.
Marijeta is an immigrant to the United States. She was born and raised in what had been Yugoslavia, when it was a part of the Soviet Bloc. She was among the first handful of female fighter jet pilots in her country, being one of the first women in her country, and indeed in the world, to exceed the speed of sound. She was also the first female pilot in her home country’s “commercial” air service. She was trained in martial arts. When her son had a congenital heart condition, the government would not allow her to travel to the West to get it fixed, so she did something astonishing and courageous: She defected. She left behind everything, including her family, and defected to the West.
She went to the United States. She joined the United States Army as a private. She did so because she knew that it would increase her odds of being stationed in Germany, from where she would eventually smuggle her family out. She had seen the villainy of socialism, and as one of that system’s premier examples of what a human could do, she went on to do even more. She became a physician’s assistant, and she went on to retire from the U.S. Army as a Lt. Colonel, a disabled veteran and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who has seen and done more in her life than most of us would ever imagine.
Marijeta was not yet finished, however, as she decided she would have a horse farm and riding school in order to work with disabled children and anybody at all who wished to learn the rigors of horsemanship and good animal husbandry. She bought a small piece of land just North of Copperas Cove, Texas, where our case begins, and on her small sixty-acre parcel, she began to bring the horses she had already acquired, and began to add to this with more animals, including charity cases, such as an old blind horse, nearly 30 years old, and some others, whose owners could no longer afford to feed them in our current economic travails. She worked at least two, but usually three full-time jobs as a medical professional in order to pay the feed bills, the hay bills, the vet bills, and still keep everything else going.
To say Marijeta is a driven person is to understate the matter. She is the sort of person whose life is a refutation to all who say “life is hard, it’s not my fault,” and she is the very picture of human achievement. I am a person who thrives on work, and I disparage readily those who lay about and complain about their situation, but truly, I am a mere shadow of the sort of person Marijeta has been across the whole span of her fruitful life. She is clever, engaging, disciplined, and compassionate almost to a fault. In the dozen years I have known Marijeta, I have never known her to do wrong by any living thing, except perhaps herself.
More is the irony that in July of 2012, Sheriff’s deputies arrived on her property and seized all of her livestock. The oafs trailered out her old blind horse, her mares, her gelding, her prized breeding stallion, as well as her cattle(ten head) and her goats(45) and donkeys. They left behind her guinea hens, her dogs, and her cats. All of this was done in a highly-publicized media circus orchestrated by the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office. The claim was that some of the animals were in imminent danger of death from some sort of neglect or mistreatment. That claim is an utter lie, but one might wonder how it could be that such a claim would come to be made in the first place.
Marijeta had a brief marriage to a person of local notoriety in the Copperas Cove vicinity, and that man has friends. That man actually introduced Marijeta some years ago to the Sheriff’s deputy, one of his buddies, and the man who turned out to be the officer who initiated the investigation that resulted in this seizure. The warrant for the seizure was issued by Justice of the Peace Coy Lathan, an elected JP who has served in Coryell County, but who is neither an attorney nor a scholar, as defined by the standard meaning of those terms. The warrant would never have passed muster in a real court, which is presumably the reason it was sought in the JP court. I suppose that if you want to do something really ugly to somebody, you ought to begin in a Kangaroo Court where the authority is on your side, and easily swayed to your cause.
More, the JP Court is limited in law to issues in controversy not to exceed $10,000. Any dozen of her animals would cross that threshold, and yet to the Kangaroo court this went without delay, a County Attorney playing hatchet-man and pulling stunts in open court that might have gotten him a contempt charge in a civilized county. Why could he get away with it? Because Coy Lathan is apparently unfamiliar with the rules of civil procedure governing the conduct of a hearing or trial in a court in the State of Texas.
The Deputy who initiated and conducted the investigation was one of only two witnesses for the prosecution, a prosecution for which no actual charge existed at the time of the hearing-turned-trial, although one was subsequently concocted to fill in the blank on the form. The other witness was a “friend of a neighbor” who had been in the vicinity of Medverec’s property twice in the period of a half-dozen years. On Medverec’s side were a number of witnesses, including a licensed, practicing veterinarian, who had examined the animals only a few days before the seizure(when Medverec got suspicious about the poking-around by the Deputy in question.) Other witnesses included a skilled farrier, who is also a police chief and animal control officer in another jurisdiction. There were roughly two hands-full of witnesses on Medverec’s behalf. Medverec’s attorney actually asked what sort of plea he should be entering, since he didn’t understand whether this legal farce was hearing or a trial, and what were the charges if it was the latter. She was not accorded the ability to request a jury trial. She was deprived of all the ordinary civil liberties accorded to the accused, because upon the commencement of the procedure(?), she hadn’t been charged with anything. There was not even a court-reporter present to make a permanent legal record of the hearing/trial/farce.
Yes, this is the state of justice in Coryell County, Texas. You may have had your own dealings with the “good ol’ boys” where you live, but these are prototypes for the worst of the breed.
In the end, after hearing all the testimony, Justice of the Peace Lathan(a damnable heresy that he should hold such a title) said he would retire to consider the case, and that he would issue his decision the following morning. His decision defied all law, all equity, and all logic. He ordered Medverec’s horses returned to her, but ordered that the county would keep her goats and cows in order to satisfy the cost of the care of her animals. He ordered that a veterinarian must monitor her animals regularly. (As if this wasn’t already the case???) What he did was to steal from Medverec. That’s it. It was official oppression, and when she lawyered-up, they got a bit worried, so they backed-off but they could not help it: Lathan had to try to hide his idiocy or corruption(coin toss?) in issuing such a warrant, and in issuing such a seizure order, and if he didn’t do this, the county would be stuck with the bill for the animals’ care, that should never have occurred in the first place.
Of course, if you think this ended the controversy, you’d be mistaken. Medverec knows a thing or two about government oppression, and she’s fought worse thugs than these. She instructed her lawyer to file a suit, and she is currently figuring out if she is able to file an appeal at present, since it turns out that in the rush to get her horses home, she may have waived the ability to appeal. The rush to get her horses home was caused by the fact that her thirty-nine head were sharing a one-hundred gallon water trough that remained empty most of the time, and in this mass environment, her horses were becoming injured. They also had injured her stallion, at one point during the seizure process, threatening to shoot him, and actually drawing their guns on her when she attempted to intervene. I want you to consider the picture of a woman of slight build, stepping between armed official thugs and a horse, and the thugs drawing their guns on her. That’s what Marijeta is up against. These people who were there to seize her animals from alleged “imminent danger of death” ran over one of her goats, killing it, and injured her prized stallion, subsequently turning out a herd of horses into a barren pasture with insufficient feed, hay, water, and shade. Who was the imminent danger to her animals?
Now come the stories of threats. The rumor is that the veterinarian who had examined her animals and who testified on her behalf in the show trial has been told that he will get no more contracts with the county, particularly if he continues to testify on her behalf in any future court actions. A neighbor shot one of her guinea hens, on her property. During the hearing, she had windows smashed and tires slashed. There is no point in reporting it to the authorities since it seems the authorities may be in collusion with the criminals. I have begun to fear for Marijeta’s life, as the sort of thugs who clearly run that backwards county are the very sort who would kill to silence the truth. The media is not covering this, since they would now look like idiots, having trumpeted the phony story from the outset. The relation between local media and local authorities is incestuous, at best. How did the media know to be at some remote property in Coryell County for the seizure pictures and footage? They were tipped, but who tipped them? There is only one answer: A person or persons within the County government were seeking a propaganda decapitation strike. The media has many relationships with local government, and in our vicinity, it is clear one can trust neither.
I will be updating this story as more information becomes available. In the mean time, I need your help. We need to bring severe scrutiny upon Coryell County. The cattleman’s association there has already seen the danger implicit in this action, and is agitating for the ouster of the Sheriff. Others in the community have had similar things done to them, and they are now beginning to tell their stories to the slim degree the media will cover it.
I’ve had the distinct privilege to know Col. Medverec for more than a decade. She’s a first-rate horseman, and she’s a talented, dedicated medical professional. She’s a workaholic, and she doesn’t deserve this treatment here in her adopted home. This travesty should never be permitted, and it’s clear that so long as the current government of Coryell County, Texas is left in place, there can be no justice for its residents, and there can be no safety for their rights either. I am absolutely floored by the corruption implicit in this entire case, and that it seems to have been concocted by cronies only makes it worse. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Coryell County, Texas, where crooks wear badges and black robes while retired veterans with livestock are understandably nervous.
I would ask readers to contact the Texas Attorney General’s office on Col. Medverec’s behalf.
You can also attempt to contact Coryell County Judge John Firth, chief administrator of Coryell County, not that it will do any good.
For my part, I am going to use every resource I can in the area to battle on Medverec’s behalf. This is a crime being enacted under color of law, a.k.a. “Official Oppression.” Marijeta is a proud woman, and she has not solicited any sort of financial support, but I am going to ask her how people can donate to her defense against this outrageous act of corrupt government.