The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has refused to review state Rep. Ron Reynolds’ criminal conviction and one-year jail sentence, according to online court records.
The Missouri City Democrat had asked the court to overturn a 2015 misdemeanor conviction in Montgomery County for illegally soliciting clients for his personal injury practice. Reynolds still has 15 days to file a motion for a rehearing, according to a staffer at the court, but it is likely that Reynolds will soon serve his year-long jail sentence.
Joel Daniels, the main prosecutor in Reynolds’ trial and chief of the white collar division in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, said the court's next step would be to issue a mandate to the trial court to carry out the sentence.
“That will mean that Mr. Reynolds’ case will be put back on the docket, and he’ll be brought into court” and taken to jail, Daniels said.
Before then, Reynolds can request a rehearing, as the court staffer said, and, in theory, he could request time to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Daniels said. But that would be “extremely unusual and very rare.”
Reynolds, who has served in the Texas Legislature since 2011, won his primary election with more than 60 percent of the vote this March and faces no Republican opposition in November. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this article.
Even if Reynolds does end up in jail during the legislative session, which starts in January, he could still hold office. According to the Texas Election Code, only felony convictions require an elected official to resign, not misdemeanors.
Reynolds was first arrested in 2012 in Harris County after an undercover investigation revealed that a chiropractic firm was persuading patients to sign contracts that named Reynolds as their legal counsel before the patients had physical exams or even met him.
Those charges were ultimately dropped after investigators in the case were accused of stealing evidence in unrelated cases, but Reynolds was again arrested a year later after authorities raided his office and the offices of seven other area attorneys. The lawyers were allegedly involved in a $25 million kickback scheme with Robert Valdez, a co-owner of two chiropractic clinics.
He was tried in Montgomery County that time and convicted of a misdemeanor charge, but the verdict was overturned after a judge declared a mistrial for juror misconduct. Reynolds was finally found guilty on five misdemeanor charges in 2015, which is the conviction he appealed up to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
The court sentenced him to one year in jail and fined him $4,000, but he has been out of jail on an appellate bond. Reynolds maintains that he was uninvolved with Valdez’s scheme, saying Valdez contacted clients without his knowledge.
The four-term lawmaker also had his law license suspended after the conviction, and he filed for bankruptcy — though the filings weren’t completed. Reynolds has also racked up $52,000 in fines with the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance reports for two years.