Warrant issued for Heath's arrest in illegal voting case

By Jay R. Jordan, jjordan@hcnonline.com
Published 9:32 pm, Monday, February 6, 2017

Photo: Jason Fochtman, Staff Photographer

Adrian Heath speaks during Montgomery County Commissioners Court at Alan B. Sadler Commissioners Court Building Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Conroe.

The Woodlands resident Adrian Heath, whose 2014 felony conviction and three-year prison sentence for voting illegally was upheld by a Texas court in December, is one step closer to serving time in prison.

A judge signed a warrant for Heath's arrest, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office officials confirmed Monday. The Court of Criminal Appeals chose not to hear Heath's appeal Dec. 14, 2016.

Heath has been entangled in appeals ever since he and three others were convicted of voting illegally in a May 2010 Woodlands Road Utility District election. Ten individuals changed their voting address to that of a Woodlands hotel, checked into the hotel and ousted the RUD board incumbents in a 10-2 vote.

However, the three incumbents, Gene "Ed" Miller, Bill Neill and Winton Davenport, filed suit alleging the results were obtained by illegal votes. A visiting judge ruled that the 10 Montgomery County residents who changed their voting address to the hotel and voted in the RUD election did not reside within the WRUD boundaries and their votes were thrown out. Miller, Neill and Davenport were reinstated. to the board.

The 10, including Heath, claimed they consulted with state officials before changing their voter registration addresses to The Residence Inn in The Woodlands. Heath and three others were convicted of voter fraud, while voters Peter Goeddertz and Thomas Curry received pretrial probation in order to avoid prosecution. The other four were never charged.

In June 2014, Heath appealed his conviction to the 9th Court of Appeals in Beaumont, although his case was transferred to the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston about two weeks later. The 14th Court affirmed Heath's conviction and sentence in May 2016, which led Heath to file a petition for discretionary review to the Court of Criminal Appeals about two months later.

Then in December 2016, the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to review Heath's case.

Heath's attorney Jay Wright previously said he planned on filing for a writ of certiorari from the Supreme Court, although no writ of certiorari is shown to have been granted for Heath as of Monday, Supreme Court records show.

Montgomery County Tea Party
member John Wertz sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office Dec. 15, 2016, asking Paxton to commute Heath's sentence. It was the AG's Office, headed by then-AG Greg Abbott (now governor), that prosecuted Heath and the others in the RUD case.

"What the rent-a-voters, Heath and (other RUD voters) ... have all done is allowed under that law," Wertz said in a December 2016 article in The Courier. "The lawbreakers are the developers who are giving the cheap rent to those rent-a-voters in turn for their votes in the RUD elections."

More than 300 people have signed a Change.org petition urging the Court of Criminal Appeals to review Heath's case.

Heath and his attorney Jay Wright did not return phone calls by press time.

The Texas 14th Court of Appeals overturned the voter fraud conviction of James Alan Jenkins in June 2015 and remanded the case for retrial. The appeals court said the 359th state District Court made a mistake by not informing jurors of the possible legal defense of "mistake of law."

Sybil Doyle
and her daughter Roberta Cook also were convicted, sentenced to five years' probation and their convictions upheld. However, Doyle recently passed away.