CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The list of law enforcement personnel with known credibility issues or misconduct allegations in the 97th Judicial District includes the name of the sheriff of Clay County.
The KFDX newsroom confirmed with 97th Judicial District Attorney Casey Hall by way of an open record request on Friday, December 9, 2022, that Clay County Sheriff Jeff Lyde is among the three names on the Brady list for the district.
Also included on the Brady list for the 97th Judicial District are former Archer County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Simon Dwyer and former Bowie Police Department Lieutenant Randy Hanson, who was released in September 2022, according to a report from The Bowie News.
Brady lists, named after the 1963 Supreme Court decision Brady v. Maryland, are compiled and maintained by prosecutors to monitor law enforcement misconduct and disclose information pertaining to the credibility of law enforcement personnel to counsel during the course of a trial.
Since he assumed the role of Clay County’s sheriff in 2020, Sheriff Lyde has been associated with multiple controversies, most recently involving his time serving on a Clay County hospital’s board.
A public hearing was held on October 14, 2022, at a special called session of the Clay County Commissioner’s Court at the Clay County Courthouse Annex in Henrietta. The hearing was prompted after the Clay County Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of removing Lyde from the Clay County Memorial Hospital Board of Directors on September 27, 2022.
After the vote was cast and the hearing was set, Lyde was given the opportunity to resign from the board, which he chose not to do prior to October 14’s public hearing.
A little over a week prior, on October 3, 2022, Sheriff Lyde was named a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed against Clay County alleging a Fourth Amendment violation in the termination of a former county employee.
The lawsuit alleges the plaintiff, Ashley Culley, who formerly served as the IT administrator for Clay County, was arrested by Sheriff Lyde on a warrant “based on a sham arrest affidavit, despite there actually being no probable cause that she had committed any crime.”
According to the lawsuit, Sheriff Lyde allegedly disliked Culley due to her sexual orientation, and her arrest for a “baseless criminal charge” led to her being relieved of her duties.
Sheriff Lyde was charged with two counts of official oppression in November of 2021. The indictment alleges that in July of 2021, the sheriff intentionally held two inmates in jail longer than 48 hours, without a finding of probable cause by a magistrate.
Following Sheriff Lyde’s indictment, in May of 2022, Special Prosecutor Staley Heatly was expected to file a notice that the prosecution planned to address past wrongdoings by Lyde prior to his time as the sheriff of Clay County.
Among the further allegations that could be introduced in court, possibly to try to prove Lyde has shown a pattern of wrong-doing and should be removed from office, is that Lyde submitted paperwork on multiple occasions with false information between April 2010 and April 2011 in Guadalupe County.
The notice states in June of 2011, Lyde improperly contacted a witness which was interpreted as an attempt to discourage the witness from cooperation with the investigator.
In July of that year, it said Lyde admitted to submitting multiple performance observation reports with false information.
And, it says during a news conference in December, Lyde claimed he resigned from DPS because he had an argument with a superior and then got a job paying double what he was making at the time, when in fact he was forced to resign or be terminated for submitted false reports and improperly contacting a witness to an investigation.
“I’ve got skeletons, I just don’t have a closet,” Lyde said in response to allegations. “These accusations, where they are partly true, are certainly not the entire story and this is DA Heatley trying to salvage a case where there isn’t one.”