Judge Ralph Strother, a state district judge for 20 years and a former prosecutor, thought he had seen about everything one could see in a court of law.
But when a Houston-area man walked into court wearing one shoe on Friday, took it off when he stood before the judge and later told deputies he left his Cadillac SUV with the engine running in the McLennan County Courthouse parking lot with his German shepherd inside, that left the judge, courthouse deputies and others in court scratching their heads.
Travis Layton Spivey, 37, of Spring, who is charged with possession of methamphetamine, missed a court appearance July 7, and Strother revoked his $100,000 bond and ordered his arrest.
On Friday morning, Spivey, wearing only one shoe described by a deputy as a “black, slip-on Florsheim,” hobbled into Strother’s court with his attorney, Rob Swanton. Once he got in front of the judge, he slipped the shoe off and stood there wearing black socks, black pants and a shiny purple shirt.
Strother declined Swanton’s request to recall the bond forfeiture, set Spivey’s bond at $250,000 and ordered him jailed. As deputies were processing him for transfer to the jail, Spivey told them that he left his dog in his vehicle with the motor running. As deputies pondered how to handle the situation, including the possibility of taking the dog to the animal shelter, Swanton stepped in.
He called Spivey’s mother, who drove from Denton to take care of the dog and Spivey’s Cadillac, authorities said.
Spivey told deputies he came to court with only one shoe because he could not find his other one.
To make matters worse for Spivey, jailers discovered drugs in his possession when he got to jail and he was charged with another offense, possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility.
Spivey was arrested by Mart police in July 2017. He was at a convenience store on Texas Avenue and was “visibly nervous” and acting suspiciously, according to the officer’s report.
“When I approached the vehicle, I identified the subject as Travis Spivey,” the officer states in reports. “I observed Spivey was sweating profusely and was making furtive movements.”
The officer saw a paramedic uniform in the car, and Spivey said he was a paramedic and an emergency room nurse when the officer asked what he did for a living, according to court records.
Spivey denied the officer’s request to search his BMW, so the officer called for a drug dog to be brought to the scene, records state.
“While waiting on the (K9 unit), Spivey began to ask me if Highway 164 was a heavily trafficked area for narcotics,” the officer wrote. “It was also discovered that Spivey had an estimated $2,000 in cash on his person.”
The drug dog alerted on the trunk of the car, where officers found a case with multiple small bottles of an unknown substance, a digital scale and a sealed white baggie, Mart Police Chief Paul Cardenas said at the time. The substance in the baggie tested positive as crystal meth, and officers believed the bottles contained about 24 milliliters of liquid meth, Cardenas said.
Officers also arrested Spivey for impersonating a public servant. However, that charge was dismissed.