Friday, January 03, 2014

Judge: Cameron County corruption beggars belief

On New Year's Day, the Valley Morning Star published an extensive account of judicial and prosecutorial corruption in a story tiled "Judge: Hard to believe depths of Cameron County corruption." The story began:
An extensive federal investigation found corruption in the Cameron County’s legal system and judiciary to be so pervasive that most people probably wouldn’t believe it — “unless they heard it themselves,” U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen said in 2013.
Hanen made his statement on Dec. 3, as he sentenced Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal to 20 years in jail and ordered him to make restitution of more than $13 million for bribing former 404th state District Judge Abel C. Limas.
The jury found Rosenthal paid Limas for favorable court rulings in civil cases, bribed witnesses, filed false personal injury cases, directed ex-state Rep. Jim Solis and others to pay funeral home directors and ex-Brownsville Navigation District police Chief George Gavito to refer cases. It also found he arranged to manipulate case assignments at the Cameron County District Clerk’s Office, and paid persons to pose as witnesses and to provide false statements, and testimony.
On that same day that the jury returned its verdict on Rosenthal, attorney Ray R. Marchan was supposed to report to federal prison in Fort Worth, following his June 18, 2012 conviction on six counts of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, aiding and abetting extortion and mail fraud. He was sentenced to 3.5 years in jail.
Instead, Marchan jumped to his death from the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge.
This month, the same judge is expected to sentence former Cameron County DA Armando Villalobos as part of the same web of corruption. Judge Hanen ordered that numerous ethical violations exposed in these cases be reported to the state bar and other authorities. Here's how the article concluded:
Hanen said that the court had heard witnesses and seen exhibits that show uncharged illegal acts and violations of disciplinary rules.

“Some of this evidence was presented to the jury and some of it was not,” Hanen also said. “In fact, defense counsel requested, and this court felt duty-bound by law to give an instruction to the jury to disregard these ethical violations in reaching its verdict,” Hanen stated.

“The U.S. Attorneys and federal agents involved in the trial of this case are hereby ordered to provide the appropriate authorities at the State Bar of Texas, Chief Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas and the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit or his designee a copy of this order and, if they so request, the evidence of the multiple ethical violations committed by multiple attorneys involved in this case.

“This includes the evidence not presented at trial and covers all attorneys involved, not just the defendant,” Hanen ordered.

He continued: “This court has great admiration for the trial bar and the benefits that trial lawyers (both prosecution and defense) provide to society. It is their vigilance, among others, that ensures that the system of justice works and that the rights of all Americans are protected.”

“That being said, nothing can do more harm to society than an individual, (or a group of individuals) armed with a law license (or working for someone armed with a law license) that has no moral compass, no respect for the rules governing ethical conduct and no respect for the truth. Some of the acts or omissions may be considered minor; some may have been inadvertent,” Hanen wrote.

“Nevertheless, there were some acts that were neither minor nor accidental mistakes, and the individuals that committed these acts, in this Court’s opinion, should not be allowed to practice law anywhere.”


FK46 said...

Good for Judge Hanen!

Whatever happened to the lawyers involved in the medical exam fraud exposed by the federal judge in Corpus Christi a few years ago?

Lynne Benson said... exclamation of horror, disgust or frustration. And my captcha is "tormenting"

Anonymous said...

Sounds like McLennan county, except no one is ever held responsible!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like what happens in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

alot more need to be exsposed that is just the tip of the iceberg... i feel ashamed of our judicial system and my heart goes out to the ones who have to be judged by such heartlees system, hats off to judge Hanen!!thank you!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I suspect this type of thing is much more common than people would think.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting read how all of this was criminal behavior was discovered or came to the surface. AND YES, Due to ignorant voters and the ability of elected official to "brother in law" each other it is easy for this sort of thing to be the rule rather than exception.

Anonymous said...

Only need to look next door to Hidalgo County to find further examples ...

Anonymous said...

Corruption in south texas..common place...more than a lot of folks who attain office at the local level in south texas seem to think "its a ticket to ride" the free train. Trash

Aquaria said...

Come on. It's the LRGV. Of course it's corrupt. Nobody lasts long without going bad, bad, bad.

I think the most egregious was the DA who solicited murder of an inmate at the county jail, who happened to be the annoying ex-husband of the DA's booty on the side. I was hoping someone would call the case Cherchez la Sancha.

Anonymous said...

Williamson County is the most corrupt in Texas. The judges there do not even try to hide it.