Judge Goodwin's Court Weighs Hardships of Probation on Sex Offender
SAN ANGELO, TX — Samuel Hal Wade, 39, pleaded not true to three counts of violating his probation during a long plea hearing at the Tom Green County Courthouse Monday afternoon.
After nine hours of testimony, defense attorney J.W. Johnson called Wade to the witness stand. Maintaining his innocence, Wade told the court that his previous attorney told him to take a plea deal for six years deferred adjudication. Wade said, “I pled because that’s what I was advised to do at the time.”
Wade was placed on six years deferred adjudication in 2009 in lieu of a trial on two of six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. Four of the counts were dropped in a plea deal with prosecutors. Wade's probation was extended three years for a previous motion to revoke probation ruling in 2014, extending his probation through this year. This motion to revoke probation was issued in July 2016, less than a year before his probation would have ended.
In court today, defense attorney Johnson led Wade through the timeline of his probation. Wade violated his probation several times in Washington State where he said he moved with his then wife for a job. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail there. Texas officials learned of the violations and extradited Wade back to Texas. He spent six months in the Tom Green County Jail before his Motion to revoke hearing. During the hearing, the motion to revoke probation was dismissed.
Wade testified today that he had two daughters from his first marriage. He told the court his ex-wife made the original accusations of aggravated sexual assault of a child with his two daughters. He also says he has a son and a daughter with his second wife.
Wade also testified he spent seven years in the United States Air Force and left with the rank of E5, a staff sergeant, then spent six years as a civilian contractor for the military. Wade then went to work in the oil field for $70,000 to $80,000 per year but was fired because of having to comply with court-ordered sex offender treatment. He told Judge Brad Goodwin he now works for $9 per hour in Tom Green County.
Johnson led his client through a litany of questions about the sex offender treatment program run by Emelia Orosco for the Tom Green County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. Wade and almost a dozen other witnesses, detailed the treatment program and the financial hardships. Witnesses also detailed that they were humiliated and chastised regularly and were threatened with going back to prison if they did not pay Orosco on time or if they failed to participate fully in the program.
Johnson approached the bench before Wade’s testimony and asked Goodwin for a continuance because he learned Monday afternoon that Orosco was not going to be present for Monday’s hearing. Johnson said he issued a subpoena for Orosco at 2 p.m. Monday after learning, while she was on the State’s witness list, she was not able to appear on Monday.
Wade pleaded guilty in 2009 to seven counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Tom Green County. He was sentenced to six years deferred adjudication. Since then, prosecutors allege Wade violated the terms of his probation numerous times.
Community Supervision and Corrections Department probation officer Maggie Smith was the State’s first witness Monday. Assistant District Attorney Jason Ferguson had Smith detail the probation violations outlined in the State’s motion to revoke Wade’s deferred adjudication.
Smith detailed the 12 violations from Wade’s probation file. According to Smith, Wade failed to make payments ordered by the court three months in 2014, seven months in 2015, and four months in 2016.
Count two alleges that Wade violated probation by consuming alcohol. Count three alleges that Wade left Tom Green County without permission in January of 2016 and count four alleges that Wade was out of the county in February of 2016.
Count five indicates Wade failed to pay for a urinalysis on six separate occasions. Count six and seven lists Wade as violating his curfew. Count eight details Wade's failure to attend a sex offender treatment program six times.
Count nine alleges Wade admitted to attending a funeral where children were present.
Count ten alleges Wade urinated outdoors at work at an oil rig. Count eleven indicates Wade failed to pay required fees on seven occasions in 2015, and Count 12 alleges Wade failed to participate in the sex offender treatment program by not bringing all required materials to sessions in April and June of 2015.
District Judge Brad Goodwin on Monday swore in over a dozen witnesses for the defense and was taking testimony from witnesses throughout the day. Goodwin admonished the witnesses not to talk to anyone about the case or their testimony.
As a result of earlier probation violations, Wade’s deferred adjudication was extended an additional three years plus 10 days in jail in 2014.
Defense Attorney J.W. Johnson then cross examined Smith. Johnson’s line of questioning focused on Smith’s qualifications and the sex offender treatment program Wade was ordered to attend. When Johnson asked Smith why she filed to motion to revoke deferred adjudication Smith said, “I filed the motion to revoke because Wade left the county and consumed alcohol.”
Johnson called a dozen witnesses to present testimony about the sex offender treatment program, Wade’s employment, and the hardships the conditions of probation places on probationers.
Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison.
Judge Goodwin recessed the proceeding at 6 p.m. Monday evening. The hearing will resume at 2 p.m. Tuesday.