Friday, May 31, 2013



WHY DID ABEL LIMAS DISMISS FELONY THEFT CHARGES AGAINST MARTIN SARKIS?

Unlike the Herald or other pay me blogs the BV did a good, the bad, and the ugly on all of the candidates for city commission. Here is the BV's original post on Sarkis. Sarkis paid another blogger to put out known lies about Leo Rosales. This was the tell he had something to hide. When I did the original check on Sarkis, such as I did on all of the candidates, I missed this because I did not see the box to include criminal cases was not checked. The original story by the BV.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2013/03/who-is-martin-sarkissarquis-im-shocked.html

The below documents show Martin Sarkis was indicted for felony theft,  The case was transferred by Judge Migdalia Lopez into Judge Limas's court.  Judge Limas then signed an order of dismissal.  The ADA, David Coronado stated the reason being Martin Sarkis paid  full restitution to the victim.

INDICTMENT AND DISMISSAL IN SARKIS FELONY THEFT CASE

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/158645686/scan0004

The file is basically empty.  There are two files, the public  file and the DA's file.  The DA's file will show notes concerning negotiations, if Villalobos made a directive on the case, and who the  attorney was.

There is no record in the file of any attorney ever appearing in the case.  There is nothing filed by Martin Sarkis to show he asked that the case be dismissed.  Everything in this  case is in the behind the scenes file now controlled by DA Saenz.   I will be asking for access to same.

The blogger who is being paid by Sarkis to lie about his opponents has raised hell over Judge Limas giving pretrial diversion to the son of District Clerk Aurora de la Garza, after restitution was paid.  You will see no story calling for an investigation of Sarkis - but you will see continued demand that District Clerk Aurora de la Garza be charged with criminal conduct.

IF IT WERE ONLY SO SIMPLE

If normal procedure were to dismiss all felony theft charges after restitution, then thieves would just chance on getting caught knowing they will not be prosecuted if they simply give the money back.

This is not how it works.  You might get probation, with restitution as a condition of probation - but you do not get your charges totally dismissed based on restitution.  Such a policy would encourage felony theft.

THE VILLALOBOS TRIAL

We learned from the trial that Villalobos would meet with select attorneys in his office and then send notes to the courtroom ADA to dismiss the charges or to give the defendants pretrial diversion.  Oscar de la Fuente and Valle both testified they paid Villalobos for many of these deals.

DA Saenz needs to pull this file to determine if Villalobos made such deal in this case, and if so, refer the attorney to the State Bar for disciplinary action, and possible criminal prosecution by his office.

CHIEF KETSTONE COP, CHIEF GARCIA OF BISD POLICE - RUNS COVER FOR EMPLOYEE

BY 10 a.m. the BV will have a document driven story on the Portillo/Sarkis run-off. 

A reminder - this post deals with the employee allegedly using BISD PO's to buy items for resale to private individuals as part of a side business.  I have provided Carl Montoya the name of the vendor and the employee at the vendor prepared to tell the truth.

Eventually a BISD police investigator called me and claimed he did not have any information other  than my name.  Carl Montoya had failed to send the police the details.

Yesterday, the witness at  the vendor told my source no one at  BISD has called her for her statement.

I am at the point I now believe this employee in fact did work for a trustee.

BISD hid the PO's from an open records request.  I have confirmed they exist.  BISD Chief of Police Garcia is clearly running cover for someone. At this point how is it possible that his office has not contacted the witness at  the vendor?

Thursday, May 30, 2013




 
 
OPERATION BISHOP RAIDS CARMEN'S ARCADE IN BROWNSVILLE



THE PRESS RELEASE


Operation Bishop shut down Carmen's 

  Arcade today in Brownsville after a mid-day raid.

Carmen's

Arcade had been opening its sweepstakes establishment sporadically even after agencies with Operation Bishop

had previously advised them of illegal-gambling activity.


Weve placed ads in the newspaper, sent out notices, advised owners and patrons and conducted numerous media

interviews about what is deemed illegal-gambling activity as pertains to eight-liner and sweepstakes establishments,


District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said.

Carmens Arcade continued to open in spite of our efforts.

The Carmen's

Arcade raid, located at 1725 Price Road, resulted in the seizure of 83 computers valued at about $2,000

each. Thirteen citations were issued to patrons

a class C misdemeanor with a fine up to $200. No arrests at present have

been made, but some could follow. As per the certificate of occupancy, the listed owner is Thomas Hollingsworth.

According to state law and the Attorney General, eight-liner and sweepstakes businesses that give cash prizes of $5 or

more, even if some or all proceeds benefit a non-profit/charity, are deemed an illegal-gambling operation. It is estimated

that the eight-liner/sweepstakes industry generates at least $300 million annually. The money is known to leave the

County and even Texas.

Operation Bishop

the culmination of an 18-month criminal investigation of illegal gambling in Cameron County

began raids of illegally operated eight-liner and sweepstakes businesses in April. A majority of these businesses have

either been shut down or closed voluntarily.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz leads the Operation and credits the joint efforts of law enforcement and

municipalities for its continued success. It is the first operation of its kind in terms of number of agencies working

together to curtail what is known as a criminal epidemic in Cameron County.

Agencies and entities participating in Operation Bishop are: The Department of Homeland Security, FBI, DEA, Cameron

County

District Attorney’s Office, Cameron County Judge’s Office and Cameron County Emergency Management,

Cameron County Sheriff’s Department,

Cameron County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, Brownsville PD, Port Isabel PD

and San Benito PD."
"
 
MARGARITA OZUNA PLEADS NO CONTEST - SENTENCING PENDING

Margarita Ozuna plead no contest to a lessor included office of 86.10(g)

"g) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor unless the person is convicted of an offense under Section 64.036 for providing unlawful assistance to the same voter, in which event the offense is a state jail felony."

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/txstatutes/EL/7/A/86/86.010

This is the politiquera case involving the harvesting of mail ballots

SENTENCING

Judge Janel Leal refused to accept the plea bargain pending a presentence investigation.  The parties will be back in court on the 14th of June for sentencing.  Judge Leal told Ozuna that a condition of her probation if she gets probation would be not aiding in elections in the  future.

To every one's shock, Ozuna responded with a "never?"  Judge Leal qualified her statement to mean during the time of probation.

Ozuna is facing 180 days to 2 years in jail, but will probably get 2 years probation.

See Indictment

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/150286921/Ozuna

The plea agreement is to count 2.   As part of the plea being removed from the indictment is the language at the end "and while assisting Ricardo ... ." 

I am not sure if they need to amend this.

The trial transcript which lead to her indictment follows:

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/42131804/ElectionFraud-Penatrial-Part1

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/42132051/ElectionFraudPenaTrialPart2

In part one the first voter witness is Ricardo Liceaga. If you look to the top of the document you should be able to figure out how to fast forward to page 73. The indictment is based on the testimony of Ricardo Liceaga

SIDE NOTE:

I will  assume, because I have no evidence to the contrary that Judge Janet Leal changed how she does things based on Villalobos trial, that what happened in Judge Leal's court today is her standard practice.

In 2 unrelated cases, Judge Leal gave the probation officers a very powerful voice.  In one case she reset the case until the probation office could be there to explain why the defendant failed in pretrial diversion.

In a second  case she told the defendant that she will be  turning to the probation office for guidance as to what she would be doing in the future.

I am assuming she has always done it this way.

I just note this because in the Villalobos case, the probation officers complained that the judges do not listen to them.


BISD - A BASTION OF UNETHICAL CONDUCT WITH NO ONE WILLING TO STOP IT

VIEWING THE ABOVE IN THE CONTEXT OF FEDERAL JUDGE HANEN'S ORDER FOR THE DOJ TO PROVIDE THE STATE BAR ALL OF THE EVIDENCE IN THE VILLALOBOS CASE WHETHER ADMITTED INTO EVIDENCE OR NOT

[NOTE - THE BV MAY HAVE A BREAKING STORY LATER THIS MORNING OR EARLY AFTERNOON]

Within BISD, Carl Montoya, the trustees, and counsel all work to insure unethical conduct remains protected.

Here is Judge Hanen's order

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/158605057/HanenOrder

For me here is the key part of Judge Hanen's order

"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."

But first a related issue, to help my new readers.  Blogging in many regards is about destroying people for pay.  There is a known Brownsville blogger who everyone knows is paid to defame people,  If sworn to testimony is to believed, BISD Trustee Longoria funneled him $1,000 in unreported campaign/PAC money to aid in the conspiracy to defraud the Brownsville taxpayers out of $14.3 million, among other things.

THE VILLALOBOS TRIAL

When prospective jurors failed to appear for the trial, Judge Hanen issued an order  for US Marshals to pick them up and bring them before the magistrate judge.  Judge Hanen will not tolerate people avoiding his court.

The story by the above paid for blogger was Ruben Peña avoided service in the Villalobos trial.  The entire story was fabricated.  I did not pick up on the story because I knew it was false, plus the source is a paid for defame people blogger.  Ruben Peña is the special prosecutor appointed by Villalobos to dismiss the Pepe Villarreal case.  Pepe is the brother of Julio Villarreal and it involved Money House Seizure case.

Villarreal defended on the issue that the entire dismissal of the Pepe Villarreal murder case was a rouse to get him to return to the US.  My view is, it was part of the conspiracy by Villalobos to get his hands on the money which by his own admission was based on a bad search warrant.  He agreed to the dismissal of the Pepe Villarreal case in order to get the brother Julio to sign off on the forfeiture settlement.

HOW DO I KNOW THE STORY WAS FALSE

If Judge Hanen ordered prospective jurors to be picked up for non-appearance he  certainly would have order Ruben  Peña picked-up for avoiding service.  I was in court every minute the attorneys were in court.  The issue was never raised - and they know nothing about it.

NOW THE TRUTH

Ruben Peña was in Houston undergoing treatment for cancer.

To compound the lie, another blogger who is known  for defaming people and just outright fabricating stories posted the following.

 "This morning I received a tip indicating alleged unavailability involves more than the Armando Villalobos case:

"Jim, word is Mr. Pena is hiding out in Mexico. The F.B.I. is looking for him."


All along Ruben was in Houston undergoing cancer treatment.

To my readers - if you are prepared to believe a paid for blogger or another blogger who defames people and then defends his conduct by saying "you cannot get blood from a turnip," nothing in this town will get fixed.

BISD AND THE FRAUD

My long term readers know I did an open records request for Purchase Orders related to a certain employee.  A very reliable source told me this BISD employee has been using his PO privileges to buy and then sell items for his personal business.  I have never disclosed the employee's name or his department.  If the allegation is false, I do not want this person's name out there with these type false claims against him.

I have independent confirmation that the BISD police have called him in and have started the investigation.  The person at the vendor who handles PO's has verified the claims - at least as to my source.  This source has proven very reliable in the past.

It was my goal to compare the PO purchases to specific items I know were bought for resale to private individuals.  If I had a match, then I had proof.  This is how the BV works.

BISD refused to turn over the PO's claiming they do not exist.  I know this is a lie because this person's former supervisor and an internal BISD employee have told me the PO's exist.  In time I will handle this with the AG's office.  I requested all PO's - I did not limit the PO's to open or closed.  This is how BISD is playing the came.

BACK TO JUDGE HANEN'S ORDER AND BISD'S IN HOUSE COUNSEL

On an unrelated Open Records Request, BISD refuse to comply with the AG's order.  The case involved contract rigging.  I am still working on this story.  I may do an update with documents tomorrow.

After I complained to the AG's office that BISD was refusing to comply with there order, BISD's in house counsel sent me a letter that on a day certain BISD called me to pick up the documents and that I never went to retrieve the document.  Her name is Leandra Costilla Ortiz. 

I have told my readers a thousand times, the largest criminal enterprise in the state of Texas is the State Bar of Texas.  With no disrespect to Judge Hanen, his heart and goals are honorable, he is oblivious to this reality.

I filed an ethics complaint with the State Bar against Leandra Costilla Ortiz claiming she lied to the AG when she said I was called to retrieve the documents.  I included my TMobile phone bill so they  could see no such call was made on the day certain or any other day.  I did not only accuse her of lying to the Texas Attorney General's office, I produced her letter and my phone bill.

The State Bar ruled that even if it is true that Leandra Costilla Ortiz lied to the AG's office it does not violate the rules of ethics.

You got it, as a government employee she is protected.  I have been exposing this endless fraud with the State Bar for well over 20 years.   I will appeal the decision along with a formal complaint to the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, and a formal complaint to the FBI in Austin.  The ruling came from David Nowlin, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel for the State Bar.  I will be including Judge Hanen's order - remember what he said.

"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."

VILLALOBOS DID NOT JUST HAPPEN

Villalobos while in Dallas saw how millionaire lawyers are protected by the State Bar. They buy the benefit by donating free services to the State Bar and serving on committees.

Judge Hanen is in for a reality check when he learns that the State Bar ignores the evidence with the exception of a handful of people.  Judge David Gonzalez will not be touched for his part in the mess while serving under Villalobos.  He is now a judge.  Trey Martinez, son to Tony Martinez is exempt from investigation.  The list goes on and on and on.

THE SOLUTION

Judge Hanen has to identify the lawyers he believes need to be disciplined and refer them for disbarment to the Southern District of Texas. [note there is no federal bar such as the State Bar - every federal district, appellate district, and US Supreme Court have to initiate their own disciplinary proceedings.  The State Bar of Texas has no jurisdiction over who can and cannot practice law in federal court]

Judge Hanen can certainly put one of his law clerks to this task.  He needs to copy those specific complaints to the State Bar.  Only if the request personally comes from Judge Hanen, will the State Bar do its job - otherwise - those who are protected - will have the complaints dismissed as without merit.

AGAIN THE CASE OF LEANDRA COSTILLA ORTIZ

The State Bar ruled that even if it is true that Leandra Costilla Ortiz lied to the AG's office it does not violate the rules of ethics.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TC Activity

HURRICANE SEASON UNDER WAY

THE DA'S OFFICE AND ITS ADDICTION TO FORFEITURE MONEY

The BV has always been document driven and about identifying the problem and looking for a solution.

BUT FIRST - JOURNALIST V. BLOGGER

Long before any companies created what has become known as blogspots, I ran an online blog known as Balancing the Issues.  For years I had thousands of readers reading about national issues.  I did not have a comment section, like I have now, but my readers could email me, and I would post their comments.

Then came blogspot by google. To begin - journalist  because by nature they are archaic and not very good about thinking outside the box, have effectively bankrupted the industry.  Every major city had 2-3 papers, and now most only have 1-  NYC is a major exception.

As the BV has documented in the past, the American people do not trust journalist to be truth tellers. 

Any good blogger is not a journalist - it is an old model which should have been put to bed a long  time ago.

There is no real definition of what a blogger is, beyond someone who posts comments or pictures to the Internet through a blog.

The BV has always been concerned with a Supreme Court decision known as New York Times v. Sullivan - while journalist will never agree - the decision effectively killed journalism.  It opened the door to lying and no accountability.  I know it angers people, but the BV has always rejected comments which accuse people by name of criminal conduct. 

Until the BV can verify the claim it is going nowhere.  Journalist are more inclined to play this game and then call it "substantial truth." State judges are too lazy to carefully read the briefs and deem calling God a child molester substantial truth and allow the papers to get away with out right lies.  This is why the majority of American people find journalists are not truth tellers, as a profession.

The BV has always been concerned with the news media claiming immunity from prosecution when their reporters  conspire with government employees to disclose top secret information.  The BV does not buy it - if the journalist gets caught they should go to jail just like the government employee.  What makes journalists better than the rest of us?

Having said that - journalist should not have to give up their source - the government needs to  do a better job controlling their employees.

If the BV gets a great story which involves criminal conduct by a federal or state agency and the BV has the solid evidence - the BV does not go with it.  I wait until law enforcement can go its job. If they do not, then the BV goes with the story.  I am actually sitting on 2 stories like this right now.

Years back I did this when I discovered 2 city employees were using city credit  cards  for personal business.  Pete Gonzales asked that I give him time on the open records request so as not to tip off the employees by me doing a story.  I agreed.  The employees were eventually arrested and fired.

Charlie Cabler then went on TV  and announced his office  discovered the crime through its auditor's office.  Unfortunately for Charlie Cabler I had the proof from Pete Gonzalez that the BV discovered the criminal conduct.

A good community blogger does not run with a story because it makes a good headline.  A good community blogger works with law enforcement to arrest public servants who violate the law.

Bloggers have evolved beyond the antiquate ways of journalists.

THE DA'S BUDGET

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/158591113/scan0003

The above document shows the increase in the DA's budget during the Villalobos years.  What you see is a big increase in the budget provided for by Commissioners Court.  What you also see is when forfeiture money went up, hiring went up and dependence on the forfeiture money went up.

What you also see is a major increase in the DA's budget.  As Commissioners Court gave more money to the DA's office the dependency on the forfeiture money went down.  This is good.

I will be updating this later - right now I have to get ready for the VA clinic.

But here is the deal - DA Saenz needs to take a hard look at his needs and come up with a viable budget which Commissioners Court can live with.

My sources are telling me that DA Saenz is working hard to have a good relationship with Commissioners Court.  He does have support for his needs.

During the trial of Villalobos we learned the problem.  This data shows how when the DA's budget went up,  dependency on forfeiture money  went down.

DA Saenz and  Commissioners Court need to continue in this direction.  If they do, I believe DA Saenz will have what he needs.  I think Commissioners Court does not want a repeat of the Villalobos years.  But it is also incumbent on DA Saenz to take a hard look at his needs, and make sure Commissioners Court has a good understanding of same.

SIDE NOTE:  The current Commissioners Court is not the one which terribly underfunded the DA's office.  That Commissioners Court was headed by County Judge Gilbert Hinojosa, at that time.  Does anyone know for sure - were any of the current commissioners even on Commissioners court 2004-2006?

UPDATE ON SIDE NOTE:  A reader provided the following:  In the 2004-2006, county judge was Gilbert Hinojosa, Pct 1 was Pete Benavides, Pct 2, was John Wood, Pct 3 was David Garza, Pct 4 was Edna Tamayo. Judge Cascos came in, in 2007. Sophie went in late 2006 for Pct 1 when her husband passed away. Dan Sanchez replaced Edna Tamayo in 2011 & Ernie Hernandez replaced Wood in 2011

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


 
BISD - THE VIDEO IS OF CONVICTED FELON CARLOS QUINTANILLA

Mr. Quintanilla lies under oath about renting a house on St. Charles from a mama Perez.  Mary Rey also on this video testifies under oath she is the owner of the house on St. Charles and has ever heard of mama Perez.

Villalobos refused to indict Mr. Quintanilla for felony perjury.  I will get to the entire story, but state documents and press from Lubbock show he worked with Ted Parker of Healthsmart to take control of the Lubbock city commission.  The goal was to get rid of the Healthsmart litigation. He and Ted Parker did not win because the news media, unlike the Brownsville Herald, reported on what was happening - including an FBI investigation.   

As my new readers learn the truth, and that the Brownsville Herald refused to cover the story, they will begin to understand the Brownsville Herald is a major source of the corruption in Brownsville.

In the end the city of Lubbock got nearly $5 million dollars from Healthsmart and Brownsville ISD got nothing.  The 4 trustees referenced herein voted to dismiss the $14.3 million lawsuit against Healthsmart notwithstanding the fact law  firms were lined up to represent BISD for free unless they recovered the money.

Otis Powers promised if elected back to the Board he would seek the refiling of the lawsuit.  Otis Powers is not in bed with Enrique Escobeo - BISD can say good-bye to the $14.3 million.  Minerva  Pena has been trying to revive the lawsuit.  She has faced unrelenting defamatory attacks from the paid for propagandist hired by Healthsmart and the corrupt trustees.

The Brownsville Herald ran cover  for Healthsmart, this convicted felon, and BISD Board Members Luci Longoria, Cata Presas-Garcia, Cristina Saavedra and Enrique Escobedo. 

Sworn to testimony has Luci Longoria aiding this convicted felon in filing a frivilous lawsuit against then BISD trustees Rick Zayas and Ruben Cortez to have them removed from office.  They both supported the $14.3 million lawsuit against Healthsmart.

Quintanilla needed to lie under oath about renting a home in Brownsville in order to have a legal right to file the lawsuit to remove Zayas and Cortez from office.  BISD trustee Longoria was part of his organization - according to Quintanilla  - according to sworn to testimony she gave an unreported $1,000 donation to their paid for propagandist to print lies about me, and Zayas and Cortez.

On a disclosure issue - several years back an insurance company paid me $60,000 to dismiss a lawsuit against this person and two other bloggers for defamation per se.  This means as a matter of law their claims were false and caused damages.

These people are determined to protect BISD trustees Enrique Escobedo, Luci Longoria, Cata Presas-Garcia, at any cost.  With my new found readership I expect to be defamed and attacked on a daily basis at this point - but here is the problem - while some readers may buy into the lies and deception - law  enforcement will not.  The BV is document driven and not a paid for voice for anyone.

The BV is on record going after Rick Zayas for unethical conduct.  Every story stands on its own facts.  It matters not that one day Rick Zayas is defamed and the BV exposes the lies, and the next day he engages in unethical conduct.  The BV will report on both.

Rick Zayas himself refused to do the grand jury referral for the indictment of Carlos Quintanilla - which in turn will bring down the 4 trustees tied to Quintanilla.  I prepared the grand jury referral along with the videos.  I believe Rick Zayas has become compromised and this is why he lied about seeking the grand jury referral after Villalobos refused to seek Quintanilla's indictment.

By next week I will have the complaint on DA Saenz' desk - we shall see what he does.

There is so much more on BISD - to come - none of which ever appeared in the Brownsville Herald - where news goes to die.

THE TIME HAS COME FOR COMMISSIONERS COURT TO LEAD, AND TURN THE COUNTY INTO A METROPLEX


People love to say, why can't Brownsville be more like McAllen? The real question is, why can't Brownsville and the surrounding cities be more like the McAllen metroplex?  It is no longer McAllen - it is a metroplex tying together all of the surrounding cities into a huge powerhouse metroplex.

If you think Brownsville and the surrounding cities have any hope under Mayor Tony Martinez, consider the following.
 
This Account Has Been Suspended

The above is what you see when you look at the web page for the Brownsville Airport.  This past weekend a reader went to check on flights to see if they were on time, and learned of the suspended web page.  I would hope that by sometime today the page will be back up.

Brownsville Airport link

http://www.flybrownsville.com

Brownsville City Mayor Tony Martinez, and  his troupe of marionette city commissioners bowing to his every demand, has done nothing to help Brownsville.

MAYOR TONY MARTINEZ

DA Saenz as a special prosecutor prosecuted a city commissioner from another city for failure to disclose a conflict of interest.  We have the same problem with our current mayor, Tony Martinez.  The question is, will an investigation be initiated?

Here is the BV's original story.

http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2012/12/blog-post_27.html

"Tony Martinez's and Horacio Barrera's law firm makes money from Abraham Galonsky. Tony Martinez failed to notify the city commission of this fact as he pushed for a land deal with Galonsky which netted Galonsky more than $2 million."

This is a black and white conflict of interest.  City commissioners at the time confirmed for the BV that at no time did Tony Martinez disclose the conflict of interest.

In this case at this point, DA Saenz would need a special prosecutor because his press person is a material witness.  There is no issue with Melissa Zamora - but DA Saenz rightfully so would want someone outside his office doing the investigation.  At DA Saenz' level there is no claim of cover-up or wrongdoing. 
With this type of conduct at city hall going unpunished how can we expect the city of Brownsville to move forward?

THE LAST ELECTION

The election where no one ran.  In the race to replace Melissa Zamora we did have two good men in the race - David Belleporte an Leo Rosales.  Either man would have served the city well.  They each would have brought different strengths to the city commission. But in the race was a Tony Martinez plant - Debbie Portillo - she is a rubber stamp vote.  Tony Martinez had no problem getting his friends with money to way over fund her campaign.  This is sad.  Martin Sarkis will be destroyed in the run-offs.  He is anything but clean.  So no matter how you look at it Brownsville goes nowhere.

Against Rose Gowen and John Villarreal two candidates who will never win election were their only opponents.

The people of Brownsville are jaded. People simply do not want to run.  John Villarreal at many levels was an easy target to be removed from the city commission.  No one wanted to be part of the process so no one ran.

THE AIRPORT AND THE ELECTION - NOW GETTING TO THE METROPLEX

When Harlingen was building its airport, the county commissioners should have pushed for a regional airport in San Benito on 77 - supported by Harlingen, San Benito and Brownsville.  Brownsville's airport was dead.  They did not.  No one was thinking metroplex. 

During the last election cycle the FAA announced it was defunding the contract air traffic controllers because of the federal budget problems.  Harlingen was not facing the same problem.  Why?  Their airport in not a shack in the middle of nowhere.

No one during the election raised the issue of the problems at our airport.  Our airport has been abandoned by the city commission.

If you doubt me - explain this

This Account Has Been Suspended

The BV has been pushing for the airport to be move to along 511.  This would solve some of the traffic problems on Boca Chica in terms of the airport.  It would solve the  runway problems - with a new 12,000 runway - it would solve the overcrowding problem - with a new and larger terminal - it would solve the access problem - people could access it through 77 to 511 and 48 to 511.

Money is cheap right now - but to do this might mean raising taxes a bit to pay for the bonds.  The Brownsville City Commission will never do this - so our airport will slowly die - and we will be left to driving to Harlingen.

This is yet another example of elected officials refusing to do the right thing for the long term because they fear raising taxes.  The push for the new airport has to come from the people.

THE METROPLEX

If you have not been to the McAllen metroplex area in a while - you need to go.  It is not McAllen - it is a metroplex.

The city of Brownsville is hopeless - this is why we need the County Commissioners to take the lead.

Now, on the new airport commissioners  court cannot act.  Harlingen is part of the county.  They cannot be acting in a way which hurts Harlingen.  A new Brownsville airport would be in competition with Harlingen.

WHAT THEY CAN DO

The county commissioners need to look into commercial development of highway 77 in Harlingen to Brownsville.  This is where you begin.  We have to get to the point where when people drive  from Harlingen to Brownsville it is endless commercial development.  Only the county commissioners can push for this.  Each county commissioner is tied to the cities within the county.  They have the ability to sit down with the various mayors to push for this project.

The majors and county commissioners need to begin to work as a unit, if this is to be accomplished.

While Tony Martinez was busy spending millions on buildings to  donate to one of the wealthiest university systems in the world. Hidalgo county as a unit was working together to raise money to insure part of the new medical school ended up in Hidalgo county.  We all know who won that battle - Hidalgo county.

Hidalgo county understands the metroplex model - this is why they are moving forward an we are not.

Monday, May 27, 2013


THE VILLALOBOS VERDICT GIVES MEANING TO MEMORIAL DAY

The people who have died in service to this country, deserve to know those of us still alive give meaning to their sacrifices.  The law matters.   Villalobos' conviction gave meaning to their sacrifices.

I know I  said I was going to let loose today on the trial.  It  seems to me as to the trial itself I have already said I need to say.  I will be periodically posting stories on how we got to Villalobos and the reforms needed in both the state and federal systems.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

 
BROWNSVILLE AIRPORT WEB PAGE SUSPENDED

http://www.flybrownsville.com

http://www.flybrownsville.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi

The city of Brownsville seems to love self humiliation.
 
HOW ARMANDO VILLALOBOS BECAME THE
FALL GUY FOR A SYSTEM WHICH BY ITS DESIGN IS CORRUPT

No matter what I say or how I say it I will be misquoted.  The verdict is good - basically.  I would not be surprised if Judge Hanen throws out one or two of the guilty counts.  What I am about to say does not make okay or excuse anything Villalobos did.  Nothing excuses his conduct.

When you take a naive kid and put him into the real world things happen.  In Dallas he worked for a very unethical lawyer.  He saw how the State Bar protected the lawyer.  He saw how the rules meant nothing.  When a young lawyer sees how the State Bar protects millionaire lawyers - what are they to think?  The rules do not matter.

In this mandamus which I won the plaintiff's lawyer is Windle Turley.  He is the one who tried to steal the whistle blowers documents through deception to use as a bargaining chip in getting the Dallas Diocese to settle the case after a $119 million judgment.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/tx-dallas/resource-files/sharpe-documents.htm.

I  do not know if Villalobos was with Windle Turley at this time, or how long he was with Windle Turley. 

People seem  to think you graduate law school and get hired right away for $100,000.  This is a myth.  The majority of law school graduates never find jobs or work only for a while with a low paying firm to eventually go out on their own.  Those earning the big bucks are really not earning big bucks.  They must work 80 hours a week.  Getting $150,000 a year for 80 hours is really working two jobs for $75,000 each.

Hustling clients is no easy task.  Most new lawyers hang out in the court house looking for court appointments. In time friends and family might find you some cases.  It is a slow difficult process.

VILLALOBOS COMES BACK TO BROWNSVILLE

His association with Limas certainly  did not send him in the right direction. Limas has no remorse whatsoever.  He really needs to go to jail for a very, very long time.

Again Villalobos sees how little the rules matter.

VILLALOBOS BECOMES DA

I want to be clear - when Villalobos took over the county could have had his staff working out of out houses in the parking lot, and his conduct still would have been bad and justified his conviction.  To be clear people, I  do expect one or two counts to be dismissed by Judge Hanen.  His conviction is anything but final.

THE PEOPLE

Ronald Reagan got the American people, and rightfully so, to agree to fiscal conservatism.  But it has reached the point that fiscal conservatism in some cases is doing more harm than good.

When I see Letty Garzoria and Robert Uresti before the city commission complaining there are not enough city services and the taxes are too high - I  see the problem with our community - people with no knowledge of reality speaking.

Government costs money - to pay for government you must tax.  It is that simple.  You cannot have a functioning DA's office with 60 people using one bathroom and ADA's sharing computers and  desks.  This situation was an indictment on Commissioners Court.

Cameron county did not have the money in their budget to fund the DA's office in a proper fashion.  They could have raised taxes, but that is a death nail to any political career and our Commissioners Court was not going to raise taxes to fund the DA's office.

Villalobos learned early on he could use forfeiture money to fund his office.  He actually used the money to make many very important changes.   When the DA's moved over to the Administration building he was able to use forfeiture money to remodel the space and provide for a better and more effective DA's office.

But then came the reality of some bad forfeiture cases.  He needed the money for his office.  He knew Oscar de la Fuente would turn a blind eye to bad cases if he could make money on it.  Villalobos saw giving up some of the money to keep the majority as better than losing it all on a bad search warrant.  So he cut deals.  It is the greater good argument.  I never buy it.

It became easy for Villalobos to cut deals.  Oscar de la Fuente presented an interesting problem for Villalobos.  By Villalobos own testimony - without Oscar de la Fuente he could not win election.  It was simple - do your best to please Oscar de la Fuente if you want to win election.

To be frank with my readers I think the thin evidence Judge Hanen was talking about is the money orders.  The DOJ never really found the money, to the extent Villalobos took any.  The money could be in a safe deposit box or safe - who knows. 

So now we have a situation wherein Villalobos is using bad forfeiture cases and a corrupt lawyer to raise money for his office.  He begins to cut deals. 

I am not sure which direction his career would have gone in had his office been properly  funded.  I do think Oscar de la Fuente still would have gotten special deals - but because he controlled so much of the vote in San Benito.

DANNENBAUM

It was common knowledge around the court house that Villalobos had become addicted to the forfeiture money.  Androphy and Colvin knew this when they were hired by James Dannebaum.  A million dollars for his office was big money.  Dannenbaum's attorneys in a legal fashion negotiated a settlement which Villalobos could not resist.  He needed the money for his office.  He had Carlos Masso on the Brownsville Navigation District to run cover for him.

No one disputes the forfeiture action was improperly filed.  The BND was not properly notified.  Masso along with Martin  Arambula turned a blind eye to this and allowed Villalobos to keep a million dollars which should have been used to pay down the bonds.  The only reason we still pay property taxes to the BND is to pay off the bonds.  Without those bonds, there would be no taxes.

The BV documented in the past that at the same time the DOJ did a forfeiture action and returned the money to the victim.  Villalobos kept the money.  Forfeiture money was his addiction.

His former law partner Eddie Lucio needed to make money.  He needed a second lawyer to help with the bad forfeiture cases.  He needed someone reliable.

DA SAENZ NEEDS TO REOPEN THE DANNEBAUM INVESTIGATION

If the agreement was done to defraud the people it is void.  There is nothing legally to prevent DA Saenz from reopening the Dannenbaum investigation

LIVINGSTON AND KORINA BARRAZAS

I will give you my bias up front about Korina - she is unethical and has no business in public service.  My long term readers remember the domestic abuse case which Saenz inherited from Villalobos.  It was actually only a couple of days old.  Korina made multiple mistakes in the case.  The domestic abuse office was so poorly organized that the AG intervened at my request and took over on that issue.  The victim asked for counselling and got nothing.

She was not kept informed about the case.  We would go to court and all Korina would do is say come back another time.

The week before the trial the victim was served with a subpoena to appear for trial.  This was a felony case because it was the second  time she was abused by the same man.  The victim was distraught all weekend because she did not want to testify, but knew she had to for herself and her daughter.  She suffered all weekend.  We got to court on Monday to learn there was no court.  Korina without consulting the victim did a plea bargain and never had the professional ethics to call the victim and tell her there was no need for her to appear in court.  She suffered all weekend long for nothing.

According to court documents Korina signed off on the plea bargain in the Livingston case.  She is the last person tied to the Livingston case still working for DA Saenz.  Given she was referenced in at least one  domestic abuse case which was dismissed under Villalobos, her part in the Livingston matter, and how she treated the above domestic abuse witness, why  does she have a job with DA Saenz?

Until DA Saenz fires her, he cannot claim to be serious about cleaning house.  It is that simple

THE MANDAMUS

I am proud on this issue because the AUSA told me they did not see this argument until they read my blog that night.  The next day they argued it.  The jury  considered it significant enough to ask for a special explanation as to its meaning.

They use to call me the mandamus king.  This in my mind is why I have always believed and still believe the deal was dirty.  ADA Rabb was there to handle appellate issues.  Any good appellate attorney knows the second Judge Limas ordered Livingston released he was to go on the record and ask for a stay of his ruling for 24 hours in order to file a mandamus.  Texas law is clear - anyone sentenced to more than 10 years in jail cannot self report.  Livingston received 23 years.

Rabb the appellate attorney never asked for the stay pending the mandamus or filed the mandamus.  The testimony that it can take months is a lie.  I have routinely gotten my stays the same day of filing - I have gotten stays in less than 30 minutes.  A mandamus is short- Legal argument is rarely more than a page an a half.  Within an hour of leaving Limas's  courtroom I could have had the mandamus electronically filed with the court of appeals.

I do not know about any kick backs to Villalobos, but the phone logs and the mandamus issue tells me Villalobos wanted that money released immediately to Eddie Lucio  hell or high water.  Mattingly in his original testimony never said an agreement was reached on the 12th - which is when the civil case was settled.  Only later did he say later that night he was told they had a plea agreement and he completed the paperwork on the evening of the 12th.  This was only after he had to explain how he wrote the agreement when in fact he was not even in the courtroom on the 13th when the proceedings began.  It was an "oh I forgot moment."

According to ADA Rabb DA Saenz' current Chief ADA Rene Gonzalez told him to not file the mandamus.  DA Saenz needs to call in Rene Gonzalez and ask him if this is true.  If it is - his firing should forthwith.

DA Saenz cannot say he is cleaning house so long as anyone tied to the Livingston case works in his office.  It is that simple.

SUMMARY

Again, Commissioners Court could have had the DA's working out of out houses in the parking lot and Villalobos' conduct would still not have been justified. 

But we cannot fix the problem until we face up to the reality that Commissioner Court failed to properly fund the DA's office because they cared more about reelection than doing the right thing - in this case raising taxes.

Numbers are deceptive.  I do not care if Commissoners' Court increased  funding for the DA's office every year  for the last 20 years.  It is relative - when it is not enough it is still not enough.

We need to learn from this.  You do not underfund an office like the DA's office because you fear raising taxes.

In Villalobos case it was like allowing a drug addict into a pharmacy without supervision.  In this case Villalobos' addiction was the forfeiture money.

DA Saenz needs to review what is currently happening in these cases to insure this nonsense has ended.

JUDGE DAVID GONZALEZ

Based on all of the testimony in the trial DA Saenz needs to open an immediate criminal investigation into County Court at Law 3 David Gonzalez.

COMMISSIONERS COURT NEEDS TO PAY FOR THE TRIAL TRANSCRIPT

If Commissioners Court will not pay for the trial transcript in the Villalobos case, then DA Saenz needs to use forfeiture money to pay  for it and then humiliate Commissioners court on the issue.

THIS GOT LONG - I NEVER ADDRESSED  THE DONATIONS ISSUE

The US Supreme Court has actually stepped into this issue.

"We turn to the influence at issue in this case. Not every campaign contribution by a litigant or attorney creates a probability of bias that requires a judge’s recusal, but this is an exceptional case"

"We conclude that there is a serious risk of actual bias—based on objective and reasonable perceptions—when a person with a personal stake in a particular case had a significant and disproportionate influence in placing the judge on the case by raising funds or directing the judge’s election campaign when the case was pending or imminent. The inquiry centers on the contribution’s relative size in comparison to the total amount of money contributed to the campaign, the total amount spent in the election, and the apparent effect such contribution had on the outcome of the election."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-22.ZO.html

Villalobos own testimony was he needed to keep Oscar de la Fuente happy if he wanted to get elected and reelected. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

 
THE DEATH OF "THE RULE"

I was not going to discuss this until next week, but given the correction post, now is as  good a time.  I know for a fact the press will not be happy with this post.  I am told all of the time I am too forthcoming.  My loyalty is to justice and not the "Fourth Estate."  Further given the fact the "Fourth Estate" has bankrupted itself and is held in low esteem by the people, I am not sure their interests or opinion matters.

In court at the beginning  of trial the lawyers invoke what is known as "The Rule."  The Rule means all witnesses may not enter the courtroom until called.  The idea is you do not want one witness being influenced by or confirming the testimony of the other witness simply because they heard it in court.

The Rule is Dead.  The judiciary needs to address this reality.  The first Thursday night of the trial it occurred to me The Rule died as far back as the O.J. Simpson trial.  All of the witnesses were at home watching the trial live.  The Rule served no purpose for them.

Now we have live blogging and tweeting.  Nothing prevents the witnesses from reading the live blog or tweets to learn what another witness is saying.

Now, did I hang myself? - maybe - maybe Judge Hanen will say no to future tweeting and blogging.  But first and foremost my loyalty is to our justice system - even with all its  flaws.  The Fourth Estate does not serve justice - they serve the Board of Directors and share holders which is why they are slowly dying out.  The Fourth Estate does not serve the community or justice.

I think when you balance the transparency we had in this case, The Rule is of little value.  The court cannot restrict speech.  I have my own short hand wherein I write in English Russian and Spanish using both the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets.  I can assure you I could have short handed the trial and during the breaks run down to my truck and blogged all of the same information live.

THE WHY?

I know the judge can order the jury to not read the Internet or papers - but that does not mean they follow his orders.  It could be something as simple as someone gets home and their spouse says - "on the BV people already have him convicted - this is what people want - blah blah blah."

I truly have nothing but contempt for most papers.  They know nothing about Free Speech.  With Free Speech comes responsibility.  I had a responsibility to not publish all of the nasty comments towards Villalobos, his attorneys, or the DOJ.   I had no way of knowing if the jurors were reading the BV or hearing about it from friends and family.

This is why when we were waiting for a verdict I was so careful in what I approved.  I had no way of knowing if the jurors were going to call it a night.  Had they called it a night, I did not want the BV to be a place where they read how people felt about the trial.  That would not have been justice.

The Fourth Estate loves to use the First Amendment to defend their indefensible conduct - but then throw the Bill of Rights out the window for everyone else.  That is not the BV - the Bill of Rights matter.  Until there was a  verdict Villalobos had a constitutional right to be presumed innocent and the BV was going to protect that right no matter how nasty and vile the comments had become.



 
 
 
CORRECTION AS TO SOME OF THE
 UNCALLED WITNESSES

First of all, it is not wise for a reporter to talk to a witness before they testify.  Judge Hanen went directly into the defense without a break.  When the break came and we went out into the hall there were all of these attorneys there.  Mr. Androphy had indicated he would be calling defense witnesses like Rick Canales in favor of Villalobos.

At this moment the defense had barely started.  We all assumed the lawyers were witnesses for Villalobos.  Through confidential communications, I have learned some of the lawyers were subpoenaed by both sides.  And some of the lawyers in the hallway were expecting to only testify for the prosecution in the event Villalobos' lawyers asked certain questions.

Under Rule of Evidence 404B some evidence only comes in if the defense Opens the Door as we say - if you followed the trial for example - when Androphy raised the issued of Villalobos moving back to Brownsville from Dallas, that opened the door to the testimony that he in fact had been fired in Dallas.  When his attorneys pushed agent Gripka on the issue of Oscar de la Fuente being allowed to practice law in state court, that opened the door to the request from the State Bar for Oscar de la Fuente's testimony. 

Apparently, and without mentioning names - some of the attorneys who were there were under standby by the DOJ, not Villalobos, in the event during the defense certain issues were raised. Although they were in fact subpoenaed by both sides, some were only on standby for the DOJ.

Guys, only an idiot reporter would talk with a prospective witness.  I did accidently introduce myself to someone who was never called.  I said to the person - "I know your face - but I do not recognize you."  I introduced myself and he said "oh your are  the Brownsville Voice."  He then said his name, and I immediately left his presence.  We were down stairs in a snack room. Nothing of any substance was discussed.   
 
HOW ARMANDO VILLALOBOS BECAME THE
FALL GUY FOR A SYSTEM WHICH BY ITS DESIGN IS CORRUPT

The verdict is good, do not misinterpret my words. On Sunday I will make this post. I need today to recover and get things done. But here is the deal. Not much will change in the system because of Armando Villalobo's conviction. The institutional corruption will continue. The conviction of Armando Villalobos is that of a fall guy to make it appear something has been fixed, when it has not. My readers will learn how the system made Villalobos, and how the system remains unindicted.

Because it is a holiday weekend, and I know the readership will automatically drop, the BV will be back with new stories and the process of reviewing all of the corruption at BISD for my new readers, come Tuesday.  Monday will be me unleashing about the trial.  I cannot tell you how many times I had to bite my lip and not say what I was feeling.

I set out to put my readers in the courtroom - I did that.

 

Friday, May 24, 2013

BEYOND THANK YOU TO MY READERS

The people of Cameron county owe a big thank you to the FBI agents and DOJ lawyers for bringing justice to Cameron county. The people of Cameron county owe a big thank you to the 12 jurors for their honest and studious service. The people of Cameron county owe a big thank you to Judge Andrew Hanen for allowing me to blog. It brought transparency to the process.

I will not say which, but an AUSA attorney got a text message on his phone from his parents as the verdict was being read congratulating him on the win. He asked them how they knew and they said the BV. The attorneys on both sides thanked me for my service and blogging. Both sides claimed to have used it for insights and how to proceed. Both sides were incredibly nice to me. Norton Colvin has a wonderful wife who was very supportive of my work. Her support got me through that really bad day.  My health is not good and I was shutting down that one bad day.  In fact tonight when they told us we had a verdict every ounce of energy left my body -

I told Villalobos family on my way out, I was sorry for their pain.  While I am happy with the verdict, I cannot wish pain on anyone.  They are human and were hurting.  As a student of Joshua aka Jesus it is what we do.   I do my best to live by the words and teachings of Joshua.

My readership today is way over the top - well beyond the last record.

Guys, without your support I would never have held up.  I learned today that a specialist in SA is finally reviewing my medical records so I can get treatment for three respiratory diseases.  There are days breathing is so, so hard.

Cameron county - we are moving forward - - an indicted politiquera stopped the harvesting of mail ballots. After today I am certain 4 BISD trustees are in fear for their freedom.  I will not let the corruption at BISD go unnoticed. There will be indictments. I spent years working on the Limas Villalobos case - BISD I am ready to handle.

Laps and then bed.

A FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

The BV takes pride in never accepting ads or paid for pieces.  Some lawyers have offered $300.00 to help defer the $800.00 this project cost me.  It was the cost of the device and the required 2 year contract.  I decided to take it.  Running the BV has gotten very expensive.  None of the lawyers have ever been mentioned for any wrongdoing related to this case.  If they were I would not take the money. 

This is the first time the BV has ever taken a penny from anyone.  Actually I do not have it yet.  I was just told about it.

My readers have a right to know I will accept this $300.00.

I know I will be attacked, but I defy the attackers to name anyone mentioned in the trial I did not mention and then link it to these lawyers. 

Norton Colvin and his wife knew I was pushing for a conviction, but they were nice to me evey day such as the DOJ lawyers and FBI Agents - and the US Marshals.  Mr. Colvin is a professional.  He knew I understood he had a job to do, and I will always respect him for that.  But he is old guard - it is not personal to him.  I miss those days when after a trial lawyers could have a drink together.  Those days are long done.

It was my pleasure to watch all five lawyers and Judge Hanen.  Justice is not easy, and all 5 men and one woman, did their best and  to bring justice to our system.  Our courts are our salvation. 



ARMANDO VILLALOBOS GUILTY ON 7 OF 9 COUNTS

I spoke with AUSA Surovic and he told me sentencing will be less than 20 years for sure, but that they will push for the max

COUNT ONE:  GUILTY

Count One: Alleged to have used his office to illegally generate income for himself and others - basic charge - it must have affect interstate commerce - this is the Rico Charge - Judge Hanen is explaining a lot more - accepting $80,000 in the Livingston by negotiating the plea and civil case - all to permit the cash bond to satisfy the civil judgment.

COUNT TWO: GUILTY

Count 2: Conspired with people employed with the DA's office to commit a crime. This is a separate account from the RICO charge. 2 or more people agreed to commit the RICO offense and the Defendant knew about the conspiracyCOUNT THREE: GUILTY

 Count Three: Deals with Eddie LucioCOUNT FOUR: GUILTY

Count 4: Charges - did affect interstate commerce - enabled Judge Limas to obtain property not due to him or his office in exchange of performance or non performance of official discretion. - this is based on the Livingston case.

Count 4 is different because Villalobos is accusing of helping Limas


COUNT FIVE: GUILTY

 Count Five: Deals with Tractor Trailer Case involving Eddie Lucio and Oscar de la FuenteCOUNT

SIX: GUILTY

Count Six. Deals with House Money case involving Oscar de la Fuente

COUNT SEVEN: NOT GUILTY 

Count Seven: Deals with multiple payments from ODLF in a series of criminal cases involving DA's office and favorable decisions

COUNT EIGHT: NOT GUILTY

 Count Eight: Deals with extortion - Villalobos obtained property not due to his office - obtained multiple amounts - favorable decisions through Abel Limas

COUNT NINE:  GUILTY

Count Nine: Deals with criminal cases with favorable decisions for clients of Joe Valle

UPDATE

Presentence due in July ?? 2013 -  I believe but I could be wrong sentencing is in August

AUSA Soruvic asked that Villalobs be taken into  custody.  But because he has complied with all his terms of pretrial release Hanen denied the moton - Villalobos is free to go until sentencing unless he violates the terms of release.

 

THE VERDICT IS
We are waiting on the judge - we have a juror note - "do we have to have a verdict today."

There is a juror problem - cannot work tomorrow morning or Tuesday.

This means they are really studying the issues.  

5:37 P.M. WE ARE WAITING ON THE JUDGE  - NO INDICATION AS TO WHAT IS HAPPENING

The jurors cannot agree when to come back.  They all have different commitments.  The court will ask the jury if they want to stay and the court will order dinner for the jury, and maybe come back tomorrow at noon.  5:42 p.m

5:47 p.m. Another note - waiting on the judge.   Two jurors will not open to the other side or change their mind - the two are holding fast to their position. 

Both sides agree for the court to order the jury to deliberate - the judge is trying to get the defense to agree to allow the jury to consider other counts and then come back to count one.  The defense will not agree.

5:56 p.m. We do not know if they are stuck on one count or all counts

6:21 p.m. We are back in court, but do not know why

6:26 p.m.  The jury has ordered dinner - this will go late - they are getting Whataburger for dinner

Guys insult me all you want - no comments on guilt until there is a verdict.

HEADLINE - I DID NOT NOTICE UNTIL THE LAST SESSION, BUT VILLALOBOS WIFE HAS BEEN IN COURT ALL DAY 6:45

Update:  Nothing is happening - Judge Hanen put myself, Emma and Daisey (ValleyCentral) in the work room for the AUSA since they are not using it - the chairs are nice - we are bored to death - Emma is typing away for her story.  All we can do is wait 8:24 a.m.


UPDATE 9:05 IN COURT WAITING ON JURY AND JUDGE

we have a verdict


COUNT ONE:  guilty

COUNT TWO: guilty

COUNT THREE: guilty

COUNT FOUR: guilty

COUNT FIVE: guilty

COUNT SIX:   guilty

COUNT SEVEN: not guilty Oscar de la Fuente cases

COUNT EIGHT: not guilty

COUNT NINE:  guilty

the judge is with the jury  -

guys you now may have at it

Thursday, May 23, 2013

 
VERDICT DAY FOR ARMANDO VILLALOBOS

BREAKING NEWS - THE VERDICT IS:

If the current number of readers hold, Thursday will be about 60 readers shy of yesterdays record. Today's is the second highest readership since the trial started.

To my new readers - an informed electorate is the only way to stop what is happening in Cameron county.  I cannot force anyone to read anything, but if you cannot take ten minutes of your day to read the BV every day, then you are not participating in our community to the fullest extent.

Brooks Egerton covered the priest molestation story in Dallas, including the conspiracy by the Bishop, the Chief Administrative Judge for the Region, and Chief Pro Bono Counsel for the State Bar of Texas - Darryl Jordon  to void the $119 million judgment.  I represented the whistle blower in the case.  Several years ago he lectured at NYU school of journalism and was honest with the students.  Brooks told the students how the editors at the Dallas Morning News pull names from his stories because it was the wishes of well placed people in the community, including the publisher, editor, and board members.  This is how the press works - which is why they are not trusted.

The Herald is no different - they  declare someone a sacred cow - and they are given cover no matter what they do wrong.  The BV has no sacred cows, and solid sources and supporters within every governmental entity.

If you stay with the BV you will get those stories - and commentary.   My long term readers know that I do not expect people to agree with my opinion pieces - all I ask is that you think.

The BV in regards to news stories is  document driven.  You will find a lot of links to original documents. 

I hope that at least 50% of my new readers stay with the BV.  You cannot choose to remain ignorant of what is happening and then complain.

Rules on Comments After Verdict

It is my intent to allow my readers to let there opinions flow.  All I ask is that you do not include allegations about people not covered by the trial or not otherwise already reported.

It is too easy for an anony poster to post defamatory comments about someone.  The BV has always rejected such comments and always will.  Cyber-bullying is the norm on the other Brownsville blogs - the BV  does not play that way - those of you who feel a need to  bully know which blogs will allow for it.

To my new readers if you choose to move on after this, I am fine with that.  I hope you learned something about our system.  I will try to meet with DA Saenz and County Judge Cascos to discuss what I learned and what  I think needs to get done.  We can  fix this - DA Saenz is in a mess not of his making - the good news is he is investigating those in his office who were party to what happened.  I believe DA Saenz and Judge Cascos will work to fix the problems.

Villalobos

The verdict will come down by counts.  I expect  the case to be given to the jury about lunch time.  We might have a verdict by 3 p.m. or earlier - it depends on how the jury sees the evidence.

At 9 a.m. we will start with the judge reading a 29 page jury charge.  I may not blog much of that - I will see.  Then I am being told each side is expecting an hour for closing argument.  As soon as the judge announces how much time he is giving each  side, I will let you know.  I will blog closing argument.

Once the jury retires to the jury room  they are  to go over  the charge count by count. That could take an hour.  A quick verdict would be by 3 p.m.

CLOSING ARGUMENT

Each side will get 60 minutes - AUSA will open with 30-35 minutes - then Androphy and Colvin will try and equally split their 60 minutes.  Then AUSA Wynne will close the case with the remaining  time.  The jury will then be dismissed to deliberate.

JUDGE HANEN READING JURY CHARGE

Sorry for delay in getting started.  I had connection problems - Daisy with ValleyCentral helped me fix the problem.

Judge Hanen is estimating the reading of the charge will take about minutes - he started at about 9:05 a.m. - right now he is in the part of general instructions and what the jury can and cannot consider.

He explained to them they can use common sense inferences based on their life experiences. 

He is explaining each element of the crime must be proven

Count One:  Alleged to have used his office to illegally generate income for himself and others - basic charge - it must have affect interstate commerce - this is the Rico Charge - Judge Hanen is explaining a lot more - accepting $80,000 in the Livingston by negotiating the plea and civil case - all to permit the cash bond to satisfy the civil judgment.

The jury is very engaged in listening to Judge Hanen - this is D-Day Villalobos knows that within a few hours his life will be decided.  It is in the hands of 12 people.  You can see he is nervous - the next 4 hours will be difficult for him.  He knows we have come to an end - there is no predicting a jury. 

For a Rico charge all 12 jurors must agree on the 2 acts they believe beyond a reasonable doubt.

Count 2:  Conspired with people employed with the DA's office to commit a crime. This is a separate account from the RICO charge. 2 or more people agreed to commit  the RICO offense and the Defendant knew about the conspiracy

Counts 3.:  Through 9

3,5,6,7,8,9,  A crime to affect commerce and gain property neither he nor his office is entitled to.

Count Three:  Deals with Eddie Lucio

Count Five:    Deals with Tractor Trailer Case involving Eddie Lucio and Oscar de la Fuente

Count Six.       Deals with House Money case involving Oscar de la Fuente

Count Seven:   Deals with multiple payments from ODLF in a series of criminal cases involving DA's office and favorable decisions

Count Eight:   Deals with extortion - Villalobos obtained property not due to his office - obtained multiple amounts - favorable decisions through Abel Limas

Count Nine:  Deals with criminal cases with favorable decisions for clients of Joe Valle

The government does not have to prove the crimes occurred on the exact days as alleged - just on or about - beyond a reasonable doubt.

10:00 a.m.

Count 4:  Charges - did affect interstate commerce - enabled Judge Limas to obtain property not due to him or his office in exchange of performance or non performance of official discretion. - this is based on the Livingston case.

Count 4 is different because Villalobos is accusing of helping Limas

Judge Hanen is summarizing his instruction and duties of the jury - the instruction is done.  It took him about an hour - the jury needs to read each charge before they vote - logic therefore tells me the jury will need more than an hour - I predict about 12:30 when the case is given to the jury.  I predict between 2:30 and 3 p.m. for a verdict.

10: 13 a.m. AUSA SURVIC:  Closing Argument:  He is asking the jury to keep in mind - the law comes from the judge. The law discussed by both sides in closing is not the law.  What the lawyers have said is not evidence - it only comes from exhibits and testimony.

Jury to use their common sense  and inferences.  "Use your understanding of how people do things."  AUSA Survic agrees with the defense on one thing - looking on chart created by Agent Gripka - the jury must believe what Oscar De la Fuentes, Valle and Limas said is true.

In considering who is telling the truth.

"Is what a person is saying make sense?"  "You have to look to the whole of what they say"  The courtroom is packed.

Three key witnesses - Abel Limas, Oscar de la Fuente and Joe Valle

Abel  Limas - credibility - he has admitted to his crimes - he does have a motive to please the government - so he will cooperate - but if you look at the testimony it is consistent with the records in the cases - The case is made with the supporting evidence - not just Abel Limas' testimony.  Had all they had was Abel Limas's testimony - the government agrees they would not have a case.

Oscar de la Fuente not prosecuted - he cannot practice in federal court - his reputation is shot - the State Bar has opened an investigation - Oscar de la Fuente's testimony fits the documented evidence.

Joe Valle - has been convicted, sentenced - served his time.  The government has no control here at all.  He no longer practices law - but he testified about what he had done. 

Motivations - Abel Limas saw Villalobos as a son - after Villalobos kicked out of DA's office Abel Limas brought him in as the public defender in his court.

10:25 a.m.

Gladden - Livingstons counsel - stated Villalobos directed the negotiations in the Livingston matter. 

Mario Hernandez:  Villalobos told him to hire Eddie Lucio - a Dallas lawyer - his former law partner - a  coincidence

Rebecca RuBane - has no axe to grind - verified Mario Hernandez testimony.

Chuck Mattingly - Villalobos attacked him as a hard nose - but kept him anyway - Mattingly said he left no deal - but then he learned a deal was cut and only Villalobos could have approved the Livingston case.

Probation Officer:  Felt like Villalobos by-passed  him on Motions to Revoke

The Chase case - the original charge may have been weak, but the revocation charge was separate and should have been considered by the court

Monica Garcia - sister of the mother victim - no axe to grind  - Villalobos said he told them to hire a lawyer - Monica said no he did not and that he said to not worry he was their lawyer.

Villalobos - Survic agrees smart - Villalobos motivation is to convince the jury everyone is lying.  Villalobos testimony does not make sense. 

10:33 a.m.

Wayman - Villalobos expert - testified Villalobos did not have a cash hoard - government argues it wasn't a cash hoard - but too much debt - over $300,000 in credit card charges

We will break in about 10 minutes and then Villalobos lawyers will start their closing.

$34,000 in unexplained cash deposits - Villalobos

Villalobos put it on his mother and other family members.

There is also  the cost of Villalobos wife's medical school bill.

They are looking at cash in deposits - for example a $1,000 - They are showing patterns of Villalobos pulling out money over and over again - and then he buys money orders.

Villalobos mother - questioning who writes in for cash - who does that - mom makes $10-15 thousand a year

Looking at a chart on Extortion - [this gives the jury focus]  government plugging in the known evidence for each element and explaining it.

Survic at 5 minute warning -

10:43 a.m.

Livingston case - on February 12th civil settlement made - there are a series of calls between Villalobos, Eddie Lucio, and Mario Hernandez

Plus the transcript shows judge Limas was called at 6:27 p.m. a deal on the criminal case was done

Survic going count by count with the evidene in support of  the count s- he is using a chart

10: 46 a.m. Limas kept quiet about what happened because he was being paid

Survic cutting in to time reserved for AUSA Wynne

Looking at documents from Abel Limas account - showing cash after conversation and or texts

10:48 a.m.

When discussing the players the government is using their mugs shots.

The evidence shows Oscar de la Fuente did not use the chain of command before going to Villalobos -  In the forfeiture cases the DA's office could have gotten all of the money had Villalobos not brought in ODLF

Twice now Androphy has objected to Surovics  closing - this is never good.

The government appears to have over prepared closing - maybe both sides needed more time - who knows - he is skipping over evidence to move it along - Surovic is now eating up AUSA Wynne's final closing time.

10:55 a.m.

Survic - look to Lady Justice in the Lobby - the DA's office is to do Justice

Calls courtroom battle field to protect freedom

11:00 Surovic closes - in 15 minute break before Villalobos defense does closing

11:17 a.m.

We are back - there may be a problem with the charge AUSA agrees to changes waiting on what Androphy response - second problem is the language says person not defendant - they will fix the second problem - but both agree no change needed in first part.

Judge Hanen is explaining the one change of person to defendant.

Androphy to starts closing:  11:22 a.m.

Androphy says Limas, De la Fuente and Limas have no credibility and therefore the government has no credibility and therefore should acquit Villalobos

Androphy is taking the approach of prosecutorial discretion - Plea bargains are legal

Androphy is going fast and is being very forceful in his language - the jury is engaged.

95% cases are plea bargains - without negotiations nothing will get done.

It is not criminal to negotiate a plea bargain

At this rate the case will go to the jury at about 12:45 p.,m

Limas testimony - if it reasonable to believe Limas lied the jury should have reasonable doubt

Limas admitted to bad reputation for truthfulness,  In interviews with agents Limas told to stop lying - he lied because of his plea bargain  - Limas knows he has to please the government

Government 302 interviews he changed his statements

He denied getting $20,000 from Livingston's father, but on tape says he got money

Androphy notes the government agrees if you do not believe the witnesses you mus acquit

[I am reporting what is being said - without comment as to its accuracy]

11:35 a.m.

Androphy reviewing cases - Atkinson agreed to be a confidential informant  so the plea was good

Androphy will not speak much about the Livingston case - Monday Villalobos not there during the discussions - Tuesday Villalobos showed up late.

Androphy arguing that Limas is telling the truth about what happen.  He took $10,000 from Livingston's father and wanted another $10,000 [again I am only reporting what is being said]

Androphy pointing out ADA Rabb was concerned with the relationship with Livingston's counsel Millet

Oscar de la Fuente:  11:42 - Androphy ODLF lied about everything - ODLF told the FBI he only asked for favors on easy cases, but changed his testimony at trial - ODLF told the grand jury he only did pleas on victimless cases, but then changed his testimony in court

11:44

Androphy argued IG for DOJ effectively called ODLD a liar.

ODLF said AUSA Castro gave ODLF favors in his case - IG called him a liar  [again only reporting argument]

Oscar de la Fuente told the government no relationship between Pepe Villarreal murder case and House Money case - but at trial changed his testimony

NON PROSECUTION CASE

Difficult to prosecute these cases - there is a process in place to insure the victim is agreeing on their own to not prosecute.  Time does not provide for helping everyone.

De Leon car chase in school zone -

Androphy is moving too fast - I am not sure the jury can follow

Androphy is just going through the cases to show reasonable decisions by Villalobos -

for example the case of the man with cancer - he had a legitimate reason to miss his probation meetings - for example

Oscar de la Fuente admittedly was involved in corruption - but ODLF was never charged - this was the governments decision despite his admission he corrupted the system.

Government is willing to indict Villalobos about his plea bargains, but the DOJ refuses to be second guessed on their plea decisions

11:55 a.m. - Androphy past the 30 minute mark

Valle testimony - if they believe he is lying then there is reasonable doubt - Valle says he never flip flopped  - Valle told the FBI he never had a case fixed at DA's office and then changed his testimony at trial [again I am just reporting the argument]

Androphy going over a list of lies - campaign donations - checks etc

Androphy just got 5 minute warning to turn over to Norton Colvin.

12:00 p.m.

Androphy why is there no evidence of unusual money activity if Villalobos participated in this.

Villalobos dealt with cash from family.

Wayman - Villalobos had no lavish expenditures -

Why was Armando Villalobos charged?

Only have deals reached with people who agreed to cooperate.  Is it fair to second guess Villalobos - when the DOJ will not allow themselves to be second guessed.

Androphy says Villalobos was a hard working DA making important changes to the DA;s office

Norton Colvin completes closing 12:05 p.m.

Norton  - pieces did not come together until Villalobos got on the stand

If Oscar de la Fuente is lying the case falls apart

When ODLF realized his employee Meme Longoria was going to be charged he ran to DOJ to represent him and then started to talk about deals he cut with AUSA's

Not one wire tap to show Villalobos participated in a bribe - Colvin to the jury "in your heart of hearts, you know this is not true."

The only wire tap which the government made a joke of is when Limas said he got $10,000 from Livingston's father.

12:12 p.m.

DOJ wants to Monday morning quarterback the Livingston plea deal, while asking that no one Monday morning the DOJ's decisions.

Colvin - to jury - you may never have to worry about the DOJ coming after after you  - but if they do they will get everything on  you - the only thing which will protect you on that day is not the law  - not the security in the court house or the judge  - the only thing which will protect you is the jury

Colvin "The jury is the last line of defense."


AUSA Wynne about to start last of closing 12:16 p.m.

12:18 P.m.

State Bar ordered transcript of trial to go after Oscar de la Fuente'

As to sending a confidential informant into Villalobos office - by December 2011 was too late - the investigation was already known

Measuring Villalobos credibility

Wynne going over money orders - but on the same day Villalobos signed 4 checks - but Villalobos said his wife had the check book - who is lying?

April 21 - Money orders then Wynne goes over checks from 23rd also written by Villalobos.

Wynne on whether they are second guessing Villalobos - no it is whether he was paid for the deals - the second guessing is a red herring

On Villalobos mom - the use of her name on the deposit slips started after Livingston and then ended after investigation becomes known

12:29 p.m.

AUSA argued Livingston murder evidence good.

Villalobos does nothing legally to stop Livingston from leaving the courtroom or even after he leaves the courtroom to get him rearrested.

Why refer the case to a Dallas lawyer Lucio?

$200,00 which could have gone to the kids went to Lucio?  So they could get the money.

Limas - McDonald's payments - he was in hot water

Lastly - Monica - sister's testimony - Villalobos tells them you do not need a lawyer  - I am the state I am the law -

Wynne is pushing it he on last seconds of argument clock ticketing

US asks that you find Villalobos guilty on all counts

12:35 p.m. Jury being excused to jury room - now we wait

Judge Hanen relieving jurors 13 and 14 but admonishing them to not be reading papers or looking on the Internet for information because they could be called back
 
THE VERDICT IS
 
COUNT ONE:

COUNT TWO:

COUNT THREE:

COUNT FOUR:

COUNT FIVE:

COUNT SIX:

COUNT SEVEN:

COUNT EIGHT:

COUNT NINE: