Scott Tidwell, Winkler County’s former county attorney, has lost both his bar card and his freedom after he was convicted in 2011 of four felonies and two misdemeanors—among them official oppression—according to his criminal defense lawyer.
While Tidwell’s sentence was probated for 10 years, a condition of that probation is that he spend 120 days in jail, according to Tidwell’s attorney, David Savoda. And recently, Savoda argued to a trial court that Tidwell should be allowed to leave the jail during that 120-day sentence for a specific reason: so the former attorney can run his steak restaurant in Winkler County.
“I made a request that he be … on a work release program,” said Savoda, an Odessa solo.
“That’s not unusual when a guy has a job and a family that he needs to take care of and stands a chance of losing that ability to prosper financially if he’s in a jail for a substantial amount of time. The state of Texas objected to that,” Savoda said, noting that Tidwell has to have some way to pay his fine and court costs, which are substantial.
David Glickler, an assistant Texas attorney general who prosecuted Tidwell, said the defendant did not deserve the leniency by the trial court, but the judge disagreed.
Glickler notes that as of July 21, Tidwell will spend 30 days and nights straight in jail, and will be let out of custody for alternating weeks over the next 90 days so he can run the restaurant.
“When you say someone is going to do 120 days in jail, it really mean nights,” said Glickler, noting that Tidwell’s head will hit the pillow in a jail cell consecutively throughout those 120 days.
Savoda notes that if Tidwell was forced to serve 120 days in jail, his restaurant would close for good.
“He would have had to close it down, and it would have been impossible to start it up again, and put 13 employees out of work,” Savoda said.