With his indictment Thursday on three misdemeanor charges stemming from benefits he allegedly accepted from a jail contractor, Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez joins a long list of South Texas sheriffs brought up on criminal charges in recent years.
In the last 13 years, five of the region's sheriffs have been convicted of criminal charges and given prison sentences. They include sheriffs in Hidalgo, Zapata, Starr and, most recently, Cameron County.
Regardless of your political orientation or whether you supported Lopez in his last bid for election, the indictment of one of the top law enforcement officers in any community places the county's top prosecutor and top enforcement official in a very awkward situation.
No doubt awkward is an understatement. Padilla supplies a good overview of the bind in which this situation places everyone in Bexar county government, especially how the Sheriff can work on a day to day basis with the DA who's indicted him. What a mess. See earlier Grits coverage.