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Lawyer Accused of Shooting at Census Worker

Posted May 13, 2010 11:15 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Texas lawyer is accused of firing five shots at a Census worker who stopped at her home in Leander over the weekend.

Carolyn Machalec Barnes was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to stories by the Austin American-Statesman, KXAN.com and the Associated Press. The worker wasn’t injured.

Sgt. John Foster of the Williamson County sheriff's office told the American-Statesman that Barnes came outside with a handgun and told the census worker to get off her property. The worker "was apparently not getting off of her property fast enough, and Ms. Barnes decided to shoot five rounds in her direction," Foster alleged.

The arrest comes four months after Barnes was arrested on a charge of assaulting a courthouse deputy who told her she couldn’t bring a multipurpose knife tool into the building. An affidavit had claimed Barnes began to “scream like an animal” and make threatening remarks when she was restrained, accusations Barnes deemed “a big fat lie” in an ABA Journal interview at the time.

Barnes later claimed the knife didn’t have a blade and was part of an “eyeglass tool kit.” She said she was the victim of the assault, rather than the perpetrator.

Travis County has filed a motion to revoke Barnes’ $50,000 bond because of the previous charge, KXAN says.

The State Bar of Texas website lists no disciplinary history for Barnes, according to the American-Statesman.

In a different case, Barnes was sentenced to community supervision after she was found guilty of interfering with a peace officer during a 2002 traffic stop. The ABA Journal asked Barnes in January whether she reported the earlier conviction to the bar, “I’ll see you in court," Barnes had replied.

On her website, Barnes calls herself a "missionary lawyer" who takes on difficult cases that are shunned by law firms, or that involve "the less fortunate in our society." Her aim, the site says, is to accomplish the ends of justice.

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