BRAZORIA COUNTY – On Friday, the Brazoria County NAACP submitted an eight-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice.
“It is not over,” said criminal justice chair for the Brazoria County NAACP Robert Williams. “The only thing that is over is the Texas Rangers’ investigation.”
The letter asks the United States Department of Justice to independently investigate allegations that former district clerk Rhonda Barchak altered the jury pool by race for more than a decade.
The letter is signed by faith-based leaders, state leaders, The Rainbow Push Coalition, and a Harris County attorney.
“Everybody deserves a fair trial,” said whistleblower Tracey Read. “If you are dictating as a district clerk, chief deputy, and supervisors who’s sitting in what seat, where it’s no longer random.”
Read, who is a bailiff, blew the whistle in August 2021, sparking an investigation by the Texas Rangers.
“On Aug. 9, I was able to verify through another district clerk employee that they separated the voir dire panels by race and where they lived. I didn’t need to ask any more questions,” Read said. “At that point, I know it’s not legal.”
Lee Taing, a Brazoria County resident, said he wasn’t given a true jury of his peers when he was on trial ten years ago.
“It’s malicious,” he said. “It’s unjust and I honestly believe that if I was a different color, which is white, I would have had a better chance of getting a lesser sentence.”
He served eight years, including probation, for a charge of engaging in organized criminal activity.
The Texas Rangers wrapped up its investigation and the district attorney’s office closed the case after a grand jury chose not to indict Barchak.
Now, the NAACP vows to keep fighting for an independent investigation.
“This is simply about justice and seeking justice for those who have been offended,” said the state criminal justice committeeman for the Texas NAACP, Eugene Howard.
KPRC 2 reached out to the attorney representing Barchak for comment, but has not heard back.