Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that Richardson was indicted but never arrested, and he served the remainder of his term.
CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Former Randall County Sheriff Joel Richardson, who held the office for 20 years, saw the beginning of his jury trial Monday morning after a 2020 indictment on charges of “Abuse of Official Capacity.”
According to the 2020 indictment record of one of his charges, Richardson was accused of signing off on purchases for drones and API licenses for which he was not authorized. The charge orders he signed without authorization and that spent county money, said the document, classified as a second-degree felony valued between $150,000 and $300,000.
If found guilty, Richardson could face two to 20 years in prison, an up to $10,000 fine, or a combination of a fine and time in prison. However, it is unclear how the penalties may be impacted now that Richardson faces two charges of the abuse instead of only one, as previously reported.
When initially indicted, Richardson issued a statement on the Randall County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page:
I want to thank the residents of Randall County and surrounding communities for their recent poutpouring of support. I have been overwhelmed with hundreds of calls, texts, and emails from friends and colleagues across the region.
It has been my absolute honor to serve the citizens of Randall County for 44 years, 20 of those as Sheriff, and I will continue to do so with the utmost integrity alongside the great men and women of the Randall County Sheriff’s Office.
Although I am unable to share details at this time, I look forward to the facts of the case being released to the public and this bogus charge being dropped.Joel Richardson, May 2020
Richardson had announced he would not seek re-election to the Sheriff’s Office after his term ended in December 2020.