Friday, March 5, 2010


I want to be up front about this. I have not done the research on the particular legal issue. In an unusual case against a judge whose conviction was upheld the United States Supreme Court made two important comments - “that which is obvious is obvious, “ and the easiest cases never come before us, because every one knows the result. This is the case of Aldredo Padilla.

In the judge’s case, the federal court of appeals reversed his conviction for civil rights violations finding the law was too vague to put the judge on notice that forcing women to have sex with him in exchange for rulings violated their rights. As I noted above, the US Supreme Court found, it is obvious that such conduct violates a person’s civil rights.

Alfredo Padilla was not only the trial lawyer for John Allen Rubio at the time of John Allen Rubio’s first trial, according to the Court of Criminal Appeals he was his appellate lawyer. But here is the kicker, according to press reports at the time the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the original conviction Alfredo Padilla was already working for DA Villalobos. This means he was working for Villalobos, the person prosecuting Rubio at the same time he was working for Rubio. This as a matter of law should have disqualified Villalobos’ office from prosecuting Rubio. Another DA’s office should have been assigned the case.

Your representation of a client does not end at the moment you file the appellate brief. What would have happened had the Court of Criminal Appeals asked for additional briefing while the case was pending. Or if Padilla determined a Rehearing was needed? He was already working for DA Villalobos. This so undermines confidence in the legal system. It also speaks volumes about the ethics of Villalobos and Padilla. In fact one can argue the DA’s office was compromised in pursuing further appeals in the case because Rubio’s lawyer was now working for Villalobos.

This morning we learned that Padilla is representing Villalobos in federal court as it relates to a civil rights case filed by a group of local criminal defense lawyers. I do not know if Ed Stapleton is one of the lawyers, but according to press reports he is one of the lawyers who intervened in the case brought by Villalobos against Commissioners Court. Further according to press reports this is why Villalobos created the blackball list to begin with.

There is no doubt in my mind that Villalobos’ misconduct in this case will guarantee a reversal. It is inconceivable to me that Rubio’s lawyers did not renew the motion to disqualify Villalobos’ office after Judge Noe Gonzalez took the case.

This case will end up costing the taxpayers upwards of a million dollars only to see it reversed again. Look - I get it - people believe he is guilty and should die. This view is way too shortsighted. If you allow for the conduct between Padilla and Villalobos to stand, they along with every other DA in Texas will be allowed to do the same thing to you, your family and friends in the future. Due Process is not about the accused in any given case, it is about the integrity of the system and your rights if for any reason you are ever brought into the legal system.

Villalobos needs to end this case now by putting life without the possibility of parole on the table as a compromise. He will not because it is easier to spend taxpayers money than to do the right thing.

1 comment:

TB said...

I am pro-death penalty.

But I also feel that we should reserve the death penalty for cases of severe disregard for human life and not the casual felony murder where the gun goes off, etc... Death row should be reserved for people who intend to kill, not just at the exact moment that it happens. The real premediated murderers on death row are few and far between.

Our reckless manner of handing out the death penalty in this state will ultimately be the cause of SCOTUS shutting us down one day.

This is the same reason that i agree with you here. I do believe that Rubio is whacked, but I don't think that it restricted him from understanding and appreciating the wrongness of his actions.

However, absent the protections afforded by due process, you cannot sentence the man to death. That is the ultimate punishment inflicted by the state and it eserves the ultimate care in prosecuting the case.