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2015-12-31

City warrant redux

Special to the Courier



(Editor's note: This narrative was written by Deputy Marshal Willie Smith and forwarded to the Courier by Marshal Will Dietrich in response to a series of questions posed by the Courier for last week's article, "Questions raised about city warrant." The narrative was edited for style and clarity.)

At approximately 9:45 pm, on Monday, Oct. 19, City of Bandera Deputy Marshal Willie stopped Ryan Baldwin, 30, for speeding in the 300 block of Old San Antonio Highway. Previously, Smith had arrested Baldwin, charging him with driving with an invalid license.
In his narrative, Smith noted that Baldwin was a neighbor (in the Oaks of Bandera apartment complex). Additionally, Smith wrote, "I had pleasant dealings with Mr. Baldwin before this date and had actually spoken to him earlier in the Oaks of Bandera parking lot as he was attempting to load a car onto a trailer."
After stopping Baldwin and discussing his "bad license," Smith said that Baldwin was aware that his license had been suspended and pleaded with Smith not to take him to jail. "Mr. Baldwin stated he would lose his job if he went to jail and that he was in the middle of moving and didn't want his wife to have to move their apartment by herself," Smith wrote.
As a consequence, Smith told Baldwin that he would "cut him a break" by not taking him to jail on this evening. Smith also advised Baldwin he would obtain a warrant for his arrest for Driving While License Invalid. Smith told Baldwin that he could come turn himself in at the city marshal's office during the day during the week. "I would see that he saw a judge and I would do my best to expedite the process and have him spend as little time in jail as possible," Smith wrote.
After thanking Smith, Baldwin agreed to come turn himself in the following week, according to the narrative. Smith then issued Baldwin a citation for speeding and allowed him to depart with his passenger behind the vehicle's wheel. The passenger possessed a valid license.
On Monday, Oct. 26, Smith obtained a warrant for Baldwin's arrest from the Bandera Municipal Judge Francis Kaiser. To facilitate Baldwin's booking when he turned himself in, Smith left it in the city marshal's office.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, Smith realized that Baldwin had yet to turn himself in as he had promised to do, so Smith attempted to locate him. After knocking on Baldwin's apartment door, Smith heard noises inside, but, after no one came to the door, he left the premises.
A short time later Bandera County emergency dispatch contracted Smith because Baldwin's wife was on the line wanting to know why he had been at their apartment. Smith advised the woman that he had been looking for her husband. When Baldwin took the phone, Smith told him he "was looking for him due to the warrant and that he had not held up his end of the deal."
For his part, Baldwin said he thought Smith was supposed to find him.
"I advised him this wasn't the deal and that I had cut him a break and he hadn't lived up to his agreement and that he now needed to be taken to jail on the warrant," Smith continued. Baldwin advised Smith he was in Boerne and would be heading to Bandera shortly. Smith told him to call dispatch when he arrived in Bandera so they could meet and he could take him (to jail) on the warrant.
"Mr. Baldwin agreed to call me when he came to town," Smith wrote. Smith then noted he wanted to meet with Baldwin and "possibly again give him an opportunity to turn himself in during the week. Due to it being a weekend I did not want him to be stuck in jail, but I wanted to meet with Mr. Baldwin face to face to get across the seriousness of the situation."
A short time later, Smith was again contacted by an emergency dispatch operator, who advised him that Baldwin was on the phone, wanting to know if he had a warrant. When they were connected over the phone, Smith advised Baldwin that he had just informed him he had a warrant and that there had been no need to contact dispatch.
To Baldwin's query about the "bond on the warrant," Smith said a magistrate sets the bond, which only occurs once he is jailed and magistrated.
"I advised him again to call me when he came to town and I would meet him and take him to jail. He again agreed to call me when he came to town so that we could meet," Smith wrote.
However, approximately four hours later, Precinct 1 Constable Phil Tobin contacted Smith and requested a meeting, saying "he could solve a problem I had." Smith apparently told Tobin, he "didn't have any problems."
Tobin advised Smith that Baldwin had contacted him and wanted to turn himself in to Smith at the jail. In turn, Smith told Tobin he had arranged to meet Baldwin when he arrived in Bandera. "Constable Tobin agreed that this should happen and we talked for some time before Constable Tobin received a phone call and left our location," Smith wrote.
However, about five minutes later Tobin contacted Smith again and said Baldwin was at the jail and wanted to turn himself in. "I advised Constable Tobin that Baldwin needed to come meet me in town as we had agreed and that I would not be going to the jail." After working long hours that day, Smith was about to go off duty. Tobin noted he would talk to Baldwin.
Before going off duty, Smith informed City Marshal Will Dietrich about the situation. While on his way home, Smith went back on duty to assist Deputy Marshal Earl Heidelberg with a pursuit. When this incident ended, Smith spoke with BCSO Sgt. Jose Hernandez about the situation with Baldwin.
As Smith was again going off duty, Tobin contacted him and told him that Baldwin would meet with him at the county courthouse. "I advised (Tobin) I was going off duty and that I would get with Mr. Baldwin on another day," Smith wrote.
After several days passed and Baldwin had still not contacted him, Smith entered the warrant into the TCIC system through Bandera County dispatch. Several days later, Baldwin was arrested in Boerne on the active warrant.