On February 11, the mayor pro tem of Allen, Texas, was arrested on two child pornography charges. Gary Caplinger, 56, surrendered himself to police, posted the $80,000 bond and was released.
Journalist Jobin Panicker of WFAA broke news of the arrest on Twitter and identified Attorney Todd Shapiro as Caplinger’s defense counsel. The Dallas Morning News and other media outlets also reported the story.
Due process under Texas law
Caplinger, a longtime member of the Allen City Council, had served as mayor pro tem since 2012. On February 17, he resigned as mayor pro tem and from the council, effective immediately. In a statement on its website, the city said the resignation will be finalized at the February 23 council meeting.
Todd Shapiro acknowledged to the media that his client had been under pressure from city officials to resign. He said Caplinger made the decision in consultation with his family. Caplinger’s term as mayor pro tem had been due to end in May anyway due to term limits.
Going forward, the issue is how the case is to be resolved in the interests of justice. As Todd Shapiro told the Morning News. “I would hope we still believe in giving someone his due process and day in court.”
Collin County records identify the two incidents that led to Caplinger’s arrest as having occurred in August 2019 and March 2020. Caplinger was not arrested after authorities executed a search warrant over a year ago. Instead, authorities referred the case to a grand jury.
No additional details are publicly available, but the defense is ready to proceed with discovery and collect evidence in the coming months. Meanwhile, it is important to remember that in our system, people are innocent until proven guilty.