Thursday, August 19, 2010

DA indicted over handouts from asset forfeiture fund

Texas Watchdog reports that a grand jury in Jim Wells County convened by the Attorney General has indicted the former District Attorney on first degree felony charges related to alleged misuse of asset forfeiture money. Writes Mark Lisheron, "while the indictment says he misused more than $200,000, an audit done by his successor found that [Joe Frank] Garza had paid $1.2 million in drug seizure forfeitures to his three staff members and another $81,000 to himself between January of 2002 through the end of 2008." That's pretty darn brazen.

Jim Wells is a tiny county population-wise but apparently generates significant asset forfeiture income, undoubtedly because state Highway 281 runs through it from Brownsville on the way to San Antonio. Perhaps the Legislature can stop bickering over Voter ID long enough next session to update the statutes related to asset forfeiture funds to prevent some of the abuses we've witnessed from ever happening in the first place.


Anonymous said...

According to many Republicans, we're geared up for a border security and immigration bill fight that dwarfs the voter ID debacle.


Anonymous said...

According to state law, district attorneys may supplement the salaries of their employees with assets seized in criminal cases, but only with the permission of their county commissioners. According to the indictment, Garza failed to get approval from the commissioners' court.

Anonymous said...

Forfeiture is becoming more and more prevalent in the country. To see the 500+ pages of property our Government has seized and plans to keep go to ""