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· MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (AP) - A judge has dismissed felony corruption indictments against a South Texas district attorney after a special prosecutor found no evidence to support the charges.

Three indictments alleged Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra extorted money from a bail bond company and used his office for personal business.
State District Judge Manuel Banales dismissed the indictments on Oct. 21 after special prosecutor Ron Barroso recommended the charges be dropped, the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen reported Saturday.
Guerra said that he wasn't surprised by the ruling.
"The only thing that surprised me was the length of time it took. It took 18 months to clear me. I thought it was done intentionally to keep me from being re-elected," he said.
Guerra said he believes local officials spearheaded the investigation that led to the indictments to stop him from winning election to his fourth straight term in office. He was defeated in a March primary.
The 13th Court of Appeals had ruled earlier that Gus Garza, the special prosecutor who headed the investigation that led to the indictments, was improperly appointed to serve in the case against Guerra. Barroso was appointed to replace Garza as special prosecutor in May.
One indictment charged Guerra with tampering with government records, perjury, and abuse of office, alleging he lied under oath by saying a bail bonds company was over its limit. Another indictment charged him with theft of $10,000 from the bail bonds company, alleging he threatened to shut them down if they didn't give him the money.
Guerra argued he had the authority to request $10,000 to pay lawsuit judgments that the county filed against the bail bond company because it allegedly couldn't cover bonds set on defendants who failed to appear in court. A third indictment alleged Guerra and two others stole $200,000 in public funds by using county equipment and office personnel for personal and private use. Guerra said that indictment stemmed from his work to offer free legal advice to residents.

· MassCops Angel
121,616 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Prosecutor who had Cheney indicted yells at judge


RAYMONDVILLE, Texas (AP) - A county prosecutor who brought indictments this week against Vice President Dick Cheney and others pounded his fist and shouted at the judge Friday during a routine hearing. Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra asked Presiding Judge Manuel Banales to recuse himself from the case, which alleges abuse at federally run prisons.
Attorneys for the vice president and other defendants leapt to their feet in objection as Guerra pounded the table and accused Banales of giving the defendants special treatment.
"Now all of a sudden there is urgency," Guerra shouted. "Eighteen months you kept me indicted through the election."
Guerra lost his bid for re-election in the March primary and will leave office in January. He was indicted last year on charges he extorted money from a bail bond company and used his office for personal business, but the charges were dismissed last month.
Guerra said the judge was wrong to allow motions to quash the indictments to be heard before the defendants were arraigned.
Banales called a recess so he could try to contact the chief justice of the state Supreme Court for suggestions on how to proceed, and ordered Guerra, who had slipped out once during the hearing, to remain in the courthouse.
Guerra first said "I will not obey that order," but then agreed to stay if the judge asked him respectfully.
After the recess, Banales adjourned for the day and announced that he would send all documents pertaining to the recusal motion to the chief justice. He tentatively scheduled the parties to return to court Wednesday.
Curious residents packed the well-worn pews of the Willacy County Courthouse's only courtroom for Friday's hearing. The defendants were not required to appear in person.
Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales were indicted in connection with privately run federal detention centers in Willacy. In particular, it alleges that Cheney's personal investment in the Vanguard Group, which invests in private prison companies, gives him culpability in alleged prisoner abuse.
Guerra also indicted judges and special prosecutors who played a role in the investigation of him.
T. Gerald Treece, a constitutional law specialist and professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, this week questioned Guerra's jurisdiction. "You can't have district attorneys across the country bringing charges against federal officials," Treece said. And even in a federal probe, Cheney and Gonzales have a "qualified privilege" that would protect them so long as they were acting within their jobs, Treece said.
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