UPSHUR COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – A petition has been submitted by attorneys to remove Karen Bunn, the Upshur County District Clerk, from office.
David B. Griffith, Mathew Patton and Brandon Winn have submitted the petition.
Bunn started working in this position in Jan. 1, 2019.
The petition states, Bunn failed to be in her office during most of her term and “neglected her duties as district clerk.”
Bunn said she tripped in the district clerk’s office on March 12, 2019 after her heel got caught in carpet. She also said her doctors have not released her to go back to work, and the incident caused her “traumatic and debilitating injuries.”
Bunn is accused of asking other district clerk office employees to help her with her duties, and they did not have the proper training to do so, said the petition. Bunn has “failed to perform her duties as required,” according to documents.
The plaintiffs’ said she has not successfully trained employees of the district clerk’s office so they can perform their duties.
According to the petition, Bunn has been unable to complete the following tasks:
- efficiently process filings
- write basic citations
- process civil and criminal filings
- process attorney’s fees vouchers for criminal cases and cases from the Texas Department of Family and Protective services for court appointed counsel
- properly process criminal filings and warrant information
- properly process invoices for attorneys appointed by the court for civil and child protective service cases
“Indeed, some of the most mundane and rudimentary tasks required are done in the most inefficient, negligent, and poorest level imaginable. The District Clerk’s office is in utter disarray,” said the petition.
The documents said, the district clerk had been delinquent while reporting to the state on items needed by the Texas Judicial Branch.
Grant funds from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission could be at risk if Upshur County through the district clerk’s office is not in compliance with reporting requisites and judicial council monthly court activity report requirements, according to the petition.
Bunn’s failure to complete this duty could cost Upshur County residents thousands of dollars, said the petition.
The plaintiff has also asked for a judge that is not from Upshur County to preside over this case. The plaintiff is also requesting that Bunn is suspended without pay and for another person to be appointed as district clerk.
According to an affidavit, Bunn was rarely at the office from Sept. 2021 through June 3, 2022.
She would come in at least once a week, but there would be times when she would not go to the office for days, said the affidavit.
Helana Krall, a former employee with the district clerk, said that due to her lack of training an inmate was kept in the Upshur County Jail for ten additional days than they should have because of paperwork issues. A different defendant was also arrested multiple times for the same charge, said Krall.
Bunn shared the following statement with KETK News:
“To the citizens of Upshur County, my family and friends at large. Most of you are aware of the accident in my office on March 12th 2019. I tripped when my heel was caught in the seam of rotten 30 year carpet that had been glued down in February by my clerk. The carpet had been there since Judge Ray. The carpet was finally replaced this past December of 2021. Thanks to Commissioners Dolle, Ashley and Judge Tefteller. This accident caused traumatic, debilitating injuries. I’m not going into my medical history (with) the public at this time as it may be used as evidence. Local attorneys… filed a petition to have me removed from my office immediately without pay as district clerk.
I have always been loyal to the citizens for the past 18 years. I do go to my office several days a week and help my clerks. The petition and exhibits say many things that are untrue. I do own property in Gregg County and Upshur County. I believe you can own property anywhere you can afford as the Honorable Judge Tefteller says. What these attorneys are unaware of is my doctors have not released me to go back to work. I have documents to prove this. I have sued no one. I live on my salary from the county. Workers comp pays my medical. I have and will always have life changing injuries I live with everyday that could have been avoided. I’m just trying to show up, help my clerks for the citizens of Upshur County who elected me to serve. I owe it to you to try to do my job. This blame game these attorneys are blaming on my office are coming from other offices too. Thank you to those who believed in me to serve as your Honorable District Clerk. My term will end in December of 2022. It’s been an honor serving you.”