By Robbie Owens

RED BIRD (CBSDFW.COM) – Embattled Precinct One Constable Derick Evans wants to clear his name—and return to work.  But, for now, he’ll have to wait to do both.  State District Judge Tracy Holmes today suspended Evans from his position until the appeal of his criminal conviction is resolved.

“We consider this as halftime at this point,” says Evans’ defense attorney Michael Todd.  “We’re going to proceed with the appeal.  The appeal, we believe, is very substantial, and from that standpoint, we believe that we will be vindicated as it relates to this and at a worst case scenario, we’ll be looking at a retrial.”

In July, Evans was convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity for running an illegal raffle to raise money for his re-election campaign.  Prosecutors say Deputies were forced to become fund raisers.  Special Prosecutor Ted Lyons telling CBS 11:  “He forced his employees to do what he told them to do, or he’d penalize them or fire them.”

Defense attorneys countered that the Deputies raising the accusations had faced disciplinary action and had a grudge against Evans.  The jury sided with prosecutors, however, taking less than an hour to return a guilty verdict.  Still, defense attorneys contend that the whole story has not been told.

“We do feel confident that we have a substantial appeal that would lead to him receiving his job back,” says Todd.

Meanwhile, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins tells CBS 11 that County Commissioners have been tasked to compile a list of qualified applicants.  State District Judge Tracy Holmes will then appoint an interim Constable until Evans’ appeal is heard.  That appellate process could take several months.

Judge Jenkins acknowledged that importance of the issue.  The Precinct One constable’s office oversees approximately two dozen employees and has an annual budget of  $1.48 million dollars.

No word, yet, on when the list of potential applicants is due to be submitted to the court.

Also Check Out: