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House of Israel member's conviction overturned

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Judges in the Texas Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana ruled Wednesday to overturn the guilty verdict against 64-year-old Robert Fox, who was formerly linked to the infamous House of Israel extremist group.

Back in 2008, Jacksonville police arrested Fox for the first time on May 21 for illegal drug possession. Then, on June 9, it was practicing law without a license. Finally, on December 3, barratry.

But none of those charges managed to stick against Fox, which left him looking to get back at Jacksonville police.

Fox was one of several men identified as members of the House of Israel--an organization whose specific beliefs were never known. Police repeatedly identified Fox as a dangerous criminal who needed to be in prison.

"This man hates our government," Police Chief Reece Daniel said in 2008. "He advocates disobedience of our laws and has a track record of violating them over and over again."

At the time investigators said Fox's worst offense was filing legal documents on behalf of convicted American Taliban Member John Walker Lindh.

"Basically he's saying I would like to represent this terrorist who was caught in the service in a foreign country in a terrorist organization," Police Detective Jason Price said in 2008.

"If this man, in my opinion, is not a terrorist, I don't know what the definition of terrorist is," Daniel said.

Despite all the accusations, nothing seemed to stick to Fox in the courtroom.

He finally got fed up, filed papers in Smith County and then served Jacksonville Police and city leaders with his home-made threat of a lawsuit. Investigators were fed up too and ended up getting their conviction based on claims that by doing that, Fox was tampering with legal documents.

Justice J.J. Moseley of the Sixth Court of Appeals wrote that the evidence was "insufficient" to support the conviction.

Moseley's opinion highlights the difficulty in establishing the basic parts of a charge of tampering with a legal document--most importantly, in this case, that Fox knew his statements in the document delivered to Jacksonville city leaders were false."

"We are presented with allegedly false statements which cannot be classified as objectively verifiable statements of fact," Moseley wrote. "We reverse Fox's conviction for tampering with a government document and render a judgment of acquittal."

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