Friday, May 17, 2013


DAY FIVE VILLALOBOS TRIAL
AFTERNOON SESSION

AFTERNOON SESSION ABOUT TO BEGIN

If we are to believe Androphy and Wynn ODLF will only be on the stand about another 30 minutes or so.

Androphy continues recross:

Judge  Hanen has entered an order barring anyone in court from talking to the jurors.  He has ordered the chief US Marshal Service to arrest anyone caught speaking with a juror.

ANDROPHY - BACK TO MONEY HOUSE CASE

In a civil forfeiture case an attorney can do regular civil discovery requests.  This includes depositions. ODLF agrees that the rules in a civil case are a lot better in a civil case than a criminal case.

ODLF claims common practice in Cameron county is not to do the discovery.  ODLF cannot speak for every lawyer - just what he believes to be common practice.

In the case of Pretrial Diversion if violated the client is then bond by the guilty plea. 

ODLF plea agreement with DOJ - he was not asked to turn in his state license.  ODLF does not know if the government could ask him to surrender his state license.  ODLF does not know the extent of the range of options available to the DOJ.  ODLF says he does not know if the DOJ could make a condition of non prosecution surrender of his state license.

ODLF does not know if he will ask the DOJ to recommend to the State Bar he was a cooperating witness.  ODLF says he is leaving all of that to his attorney.

ODLFclaims does not know if Abel Limas would have been a witness against him same for Meme Longoria - ODLF tells Androphy to ask DOJ.

ODLF claims to not know if Abel Limas was implicating him while speaking with the FBI. 

When ODLF met with Angel Castro Meme Longoria wanted ODLF as his attorney.   ODLF asked the government Castro if he could represent Longoria without conflict?  DOJ said no.  (I am holding my side comment on this)  Androphy is arguing that ODLF wanted to represent Meme to control Meme's testimony.

Meme Longoria got 10 years, ODLF walks free, and Limas remains unsentenced.

REDIRECT BY AUSA WYNN

ODLF says Longoria wanted him as a lawyer but when he appeared to get Longoria out of jail he was told he could not represent him.

ODLF says he has no deal which says DOJ will help him with the State Bar.

Julio Villarreal - never charged with money laundering - it was part of his settlement that he would not be prosecuted.

Concerning the right to depos in a civil forfeiture case the police will not cooperate because they would have claimed still investigating a criminal case, and defendants claim the 5th.

Roel case - def. exhibit 103 is pictures of stabs - this is the demonstrative evidence which could have been used to convict Roel without the victim.  There are also pictures of the injuries - these are admissible.   Judge Hanen does not allow in photos for lack of foundation.

ODLF claims Joe Lopez working for Villalobos should not have been collecting non prosecution affidavits - that was the job of defense counsel

NEW WITNESS

TRACY FRANKLIN

Tracy Franklin works now in San Marcos.  2009-2011 worked for Villalobos

As an ADA originally worked in juvenile office - for 8 months to a year.  Then moved over to children's protective office for a week.  Then the main office.  She was assigned originally to misdemeanor, then domestic abuse division, and then the civil division.

Franklin says he had involvement in one civil forfeiture action. This is the Money House case. Jose Villarreal.  She remembers money having been found in wall of house.

She did not do any of the pleadings.  Her sole role was to get the signature of Julio Villarreal.  She flew into Houston and then driven to the federal prison to get the signature.  Villalobos told her to do  these things.  She was with Oscar de la Fuente at the time.

.Tracy says she was never told to do a debriefing of Villarreal.   Tracy's believes she was chosen because she was going to be moved into the civil division.  Mr. Villalobos had indicated that he intended to drive to Houston and meet them. 

Tracy and ODLF drove to the federal prison.  Other than shaking Villarreal's she had no other contact.  There was no debriefing.  ODLF told Tracy he would sign the agreement if he Villarreal could get enough to pay his $15,000 federal fine.  After this event Estefan Soto continued to run the file. 

Exhibit is note from file- Tracy notes as per Villalobos 15% 82,000; 85% 430,000 - she has no idea why Mr. Soto did not make the entry.

Per Mr. Villalobos change agreement to reflect $15,000 so defendant could pay federal taxes.

Ex 376 Fax cover sheet from Tracy to ODLF - Agreed final judgment in Villarreal case.

Other than discussed herein Tracy had nothing to do with forfeiture.  About a month later Tracy moved into civil section.  She was assigned to do bond forfeitures.

Tracy remembers who would by-pass her and go to Villalobos for a better settlement - Noe Garza, John Blaylock and ODLF

CROSS BY NORTON COLVIN

Tracy says her job was to basically get the job done.  The government got most of the money.  Tracy did not get a per diem for this  trip.  Tracy does not believe she was reimbursed for her meals.

Witness dismissed.

2:25 PM

NEXT WITNESS MARIO HERNANDEZ

Currently unemployed.  Vermilla Hernandez - ex wife - she is the Amit Livingston victim.  He has since remarried.

The DA's office reached out to Mario within a week of the murder.  Most of the time the DA's office was kept informed.

After criminal case filed Villalobos contacted Mario - they discussed the criminal case.  The discussions were about how the case was coming along.  Villalobos also discussed the civil case - Villalobos recommended Eddie Lucio as the attorney.  Mario had never heard of Eddie Lucio. 

They first met at a restaurant.  Does not remember when they met.  Mario ended up filing a civil case. 

Mario does not know where Eddie Lucio was from.  His office was somewhere close to the courthouse - he had barely moved in to his office - unpacked boxes. 

Lucio did not discuss the criminal case - just the civil case.

No discussions about fees.  Mario Hernandez was consulted about various possible sentence. 

The jury is engaged with this witness.

In the criminal case he would talk with Villalobos - Mario was on the phone with an unknown ADA -

Mario believed the original sentence was to be 30 something years versus the 23 years.

Mario was told there was a bond on Livingston and Lucio would hold it against him fleeing.  Lucio said the bond would eventually go to his children.

Mario never any discussion on the 60 's to report until the day of the plea bargain.

Mario was surprised about the 60 day issue.  On the day the plea was entered - does not remember what happened in the civil case.  He never signed off on the agreement.

CROSS EXAMINATION BY ANDROPHY

Mario verified Villalobos referred Eddie Lucio as his attorney.  In his  deposition he said he never discussed with DA's office or law enforcement other than his mother-in-law. 

Witness Passed

Redirect by AUSA -

Mario did not consider his initial discussion with Villalobos to be a discussion as to whether or not he would file a lawsuit - only that Villalobos was recommending Eddie Lucio

It is clear Mario does not understand some of the legal nuances and that is the problem - he is having a hard time understanding questions.

Conversation with Villalobos - possibility there was a civl case - before filing - Villalobos was the first to mention Eddie Lucio.

Recross Androphy

Judge Hanen

Mario does not recall signing an agreement with Eddie Lucio - Mario found out about the money through letters from the bank - He does not remember getting any break down

Redirect AUSA

Eddie Lucio never gave Mario a break down on his fees.

Witness dismissed

NEXT WITNESS REBECCA RUBANE

Her statement in her FBI 302 indicates confusion about how she learned about Eddie Lucio being referred by Villalobos

Testimony outside presence of jury - she states she heard in person Villalobos state in person while Mr. Hernandez

We are back from a break

Rebecca an attorney f or about 15 years both prosecution and defense,  She left Villalobos's office in 2006.

Rebbeca ID's Villalobos

She was concerned about the case of Amit Livingston. 

Victim shot with a gun.  Rebecca was at the island SPI when  the body was found.  She assisted several agencies in the investigation .  

Rebecca evaluated the evidence - cell phone movement 3 days before the body was discovered.  Based on decompostiion they were able to pin-point time and date of death.  An investigation revealed at a restaurant - they were described as very intimate - the gun found in his possession was linked to the cassing found at the scene.

Search warrant at residence.  She does not recall what was recovered.   

3:25 p.m.

Assessment by Rebecca was case was very strong - she resigned as DA - but asked the be Special Prosecutor on the case - Villalobos said no.

She met with Mario Hernandez.  She discussed his role in the trial.  Rebecca met in her office with Mario Hernandez - Villalobos showed up and recommended that Mr. Hernandez should file a civil suit and that he should hire Eddie Lucio.  Mr. Villalobos returned to her office and she continued to work with Mario Hernandez

Cross by Colvin:

Going over FBI 302 - which is an agents' notes of their discussion.  Rebecca says it is incorrect that Mr. Villalobos told her about recommending Eddie Lucio. 

Now she is saying that maybe it happened when Mr. Hernandez asked her who Eddie Lucio was.

Redirect by Wynne

Rebecca recalls the victim's mother thought the husband did it, but she showed the mother  the evidence which cleared the husband.

The statement by Mr. Hernandez - "who is Eddie Lucio?" was asked after Villalobos left the  room. 

NEW WTINESS JULIE ALLEN

Cross by AUSA

She is an ADA with Cameron county DA's office.  3:37 p.m.

She started out at CPS for a year and then misdemeanor court - she then moved up to district court.  She is now in charge of intake.

She handles the case when brought by law enforcement.  - she does intake.

During the relevant period Villalobos was the DA.  Generally, you had a supervisor -

She handles a case of a defendant named Idelfonso Perez - probation officer  recommended revocation.  This is the case where the son took responsibility for the action.

She would occasionally speak for a police officer or a witness.  Once it was clear a case would go to trial they would do more interview.  Judge Janet Leal expected the DA's to move the cases and rarely got continuances.  Some judges give more continuances/

She became involved when a motion to revoke was filed.  Second chair Mario Cisneros would work up Motions to Revoke.

She was asked to go to Mr. Villalobos office, she was told to dismiss the case because it was worked out.  She filed the dismissal.

She believes the filing agency provided all the information available.

Her investigator was not Joe Lopez - he worked just for Villalobos. 

Villalobos told her he discussed it with de la Fuente and it should be dismissed because there was no offense.  The video is of Sunrise Mall food court.  - it was to show Mr. Perez had been at the movies.  The people on the video were  too small to ID anyone.  She says the victim was clear on who the driver was - she was very sure of it.

The affidavits were not credible because the DA felt like the victim was certain as to the defendant because they were neighbors. 

The probation officer considered this a serious matter.  The Probation Officer Eddie Torrez, said the defendant was a registered sex offender and the victim was only 16.  She felt deadly coonduct was not a good charge. 

The judge handles the motion to revoke if a violation of conditions occurred.

4:02 p.m.

Villalobos asked that the motion to revoke be dismissed.  Julie Allen filed a motion to withdraw motion to revoke.

Absent the instruction from Villalobos -there would have been a hearing.  Judge Leal never allowed to hear the evidence.

A key affidavit obtained by Joe Lopez - it was uncommon to be called in by Villalobos - she did not like the feel of how the case was being handled.

She never talked substantively with ODLF and he never tried to negotiate with her.

Colvin on Cross Examination

Julie was teamed for a year with Maria de Ford.  She has tried about 50, cases.  Not sure how many she has won.  She is not a rubber stamp prosecutor.

Finding a charge was the biggest problem in this  case.  Julie felt the case could not be run in court in terms of a criminal charge.

Julie would put things in the file to remind her why she made a decision the way she did.

Motion to Modify Conditions of Probation - it was modified.

AUSA on redirect;

Criminal  case standand higher than Revocation

The probation officer would bring the motion to modify.  This was after the motion to revoke was withdrawn.

Chuck Mattingly handled this matter and not Julie Allen.

In his original statement Perez stated his son had not used that car that say, such as the son later claimed in his statement.  Mr. Perez statement conflicts with that of the son.

Julie claims she normally handled the cases in her court without intervention except this one.  She does not remember how many cases she had in the past with ODLF.

There were particular attorneys who by-passed the court DA's - Julie is hesitating on naming who by-passed her.  ODLF was one who would by pass court DA's.

4:25 P.M.

NEXT WITNESS AL PADILLA

Self employed  - 2007-2009 worked as DA - Villalobos was the DA - hired for lead capital murder cases, federal work in federal court- and forfeitures

90 % of his cases were drugs - the rest was theft - transporting stolen items.

Process of a Forfeiture case. 

There has to be a criminal offense involved - you need not be convicted of a criminal act to be subject to a forfeiture.

Sometimes these cases would prepared  so fast that the defendant would be served while pending bail.

If they cannot find the person the post notice on the courthouse steps

In this event an attorney ad litem is appointed to represent people who are not served. 

Normally it involved money going into Mexico or vehicles.

The ad litem is appointed to make sure all proper filings and efforts were made to locate the defendant.  The state still could get the default with an ad litem.

In a case of $100,000 the ad litem might get $1,500 to $2,500 - now a new law defines how much can be paid.

Forfeited money would be divided among those agencies who participated in the arrest. 

When a claim is filed.  Normally Padilla would seek discovery to learn how they came to earn that amount of property, 

Those filing a claim would be also asking for discovery. 

We are looking at the case of Sanchez and Chavez - this was a truck case with money an a truck - Judge David Gonzales III was the boss at the time - Padilla worked under him.

Money was being moved from Georgia to Mexico through Brownsville - informant had alleged 1 million dollars. 

The actual amount was $900,000 plus - The forfeiture must be filed within 30 days of seizure.

Sanchez and Chavez both said the money did not belong to them.  So they would have no interest in it.   Padilla says that based on their statement Sanchez and Chavez never would have won. 

4:50 p.m.

Agreed final judgment resolves the issues - this case was resolved faster than most forfeiture cases.  - but on some cases they were resolved fast.

The Agreed Judgment shows an appearance by both Sanchez and Chavez each got $42,000 each.  Padilla saw nothing unusual he worked for Villalobos and did what he was  fold.

Padilla never looked into who did the negotiations. 

The amount being returned seemed like a lot, but he was not privy to any negotiations.

Cross by Colvin

At the time Padilla was working on a murder case where they got the death penalty.

The stop of this struck was made by the SOG unit - they waited for it to cross into Cameron county so Cameron county could claim the money.

5:00 p.m.

Stopped the truck for faulty equipment and not staying in one lane.  Confidential informants are not disclosed because it places them in danger and compromises them for future use.

Pretextual stop  - conducted not for the proper reason, but in hopes of finding something.  Mr. Colvin is testifying and the DOJ is not objecting

Judge Hanen just said not going to allow Colvin to testify

If the impound legal - they can do a search for inventory.  This in part is done to protect the property, amd law enforcement.  An inventory does not include an x-ray - unless they have no other information. 

If the stop and seizure were bad the state would lose the forfeiture.

Padilla - Oscar de la Fuente - did not do any work in this case. 

Colvin is arguing Villalobos knew ODLF was a lazy attorney and knew the county could make more money if ODLF was the attorney in the case..  Padilla will not bite

5:15 Redirect by AUSA

Reason for stop - violation of transporation code

Probable cause to stop and probable cause to search - the latter is a warrantless search

can be done for safety of the officer - any criminal violation in plain view - or consent

Document shows , Sanchez gave consent to search the truck for probable cause to search was not even an issue

Padilla thought settlement was too high.  Lucio basically only filed an answer and nothing more.

Cross by Colvin

You have two documents which conflict.

Redirect AUSA

In the statement the defendant did not claim an interest in the money any more so than saying he has no interest in the money.

Defendant's counsel never raised the issue or probable cause -

Cross by Colvin


Consent to search does not include right to impound - different people can differ on a reasonable settlement..

This is another document - a statement - does not contain a consent to the search - also nowhere does he disown an interest in the money.
Attorneys can amend their pleadings 7 days before trial

We are going into recess for the day.  Judge Hanen is asking the judges keep their badges on so people know they are jurors

WE RECONVENE AT 9 A.M. SATURDAY

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

There does not have to be a criminal conviction to get or file a forfeiture. It is common to have a companion criminal case with a forfeiture but both are independent. A conviction may help a forfeiture and vice-versa. Also, defendants can not waive their interest in any seized property at the scene. It can only be done after a forfeiture case is filed in court.

Anonymous said...

How many more witnesses do you expect from the government at this point?

BobbyWC said...

the government is expecting to close by Tuesday

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

When are they going to get to the bail bondsmen fixing DWI's w/out a lawyer. 5k no lawyer was the rate along with deferred adjudication. Sickening!!!!

Anonymous said...

rumored a ton of lawyers getting subpoenaed by the defense. Tactic should be have you handled cases during Villalobos tenure? Has he asked you for money? over and over. All the defendants knew which lawyers to use. which ones had access

Anonymous said...

Can the various attorneys whose names have come up during this trial have charges filed against them later and/or get their license suspended or revoked? Also can/how does this effect the people who have had cases with these attorneys and or judges ? Will this for example give them a right to appeal the judgement? If you could please elaborate on these or any other possible outcomes of this mess .thankyou for putting this out there for the people to see.

BobbyWC said...

Judge Hanen will send the transcript to the State Bar and they will take action.

DA Saenz has a lot of authority to bring criminal charges against a variety of attorneys

He can still recover the bond money which was not paid - for example - limitations is extended under criminal conspiracy

The testimony as bond money defrauded ODLF - it is up to Saenz to investigate he claim

I heard as many as 40 subpeonas have gone out for the defense - but they expect a lot fewer to actually have to come to court

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

I hope the DA does it on his own ,just so HE can help restore faith and trust back into the system ,and into the hearts of the people and to the office he holds.If not ,I hope that someone will start a petition for the DA to do so ... clerks, attorneys, judges,sheriffs,anybody and everybody involved in this mess .Let's bring justice and honor back into the court system and make a difference .

BobbyWC said...

In a million years I never thought my readership would reach this level. I do not use or trust googles stats - I have a service which breaks down my readers by first time readers to the BV, number of readers who log on at least once, and the total number of hits to the page. I can see IP addresses - I can see the name of the agency or business. I can track it by time and link it to a post. The service is worth the money.

My point is, Brownsville based on my numbers is getting educated.

I just checked my numbers, I will break Wednesday's record read, but not Thursdays - this is normal - Friday always sees a drop off. It will be a small drop. Plus fatigue is starting to set in for everyone - This has been a very document driven trial and that makes it various tedious.

People will do the right thing at the end of this trial and demand action from Saenz - but remember no one is clean in this county - he will not be able to fix everything.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

has the statute of limitations lapsed on ODLF at the state courthouse?

BobbyWC said...

The state bar will take his license for sure. Conspiracy charges can extend limitations - I really have not checked on anything related to ODLF - when I get home I need to still work - bills need to be paid - I really do not have time to be reseaching this.

Saenz may or may not have someone in the courtroom watching the proceedings - I do not know - it will sad if he does not.

Eddie Lucio's lawyer is there every day taking notes.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

I believe that this case and the coverage it has received and the domino effect it is likely to bring has made the Panama Unit in Hidalgo County change their pleas. I hope you are right about people doing the right thing .Unfortunately, I am jaded,and know he can't fix it all but still retain some hope that justice will prevail.I am a sucker for the under dog...

Anonymous said...

Most felonies in Texas have at least a three year statute and ODLF did some of his stuff in 2011 . . . the state statute may not have run . . . . Go get him Mr. Saenz! What are you waiting for?

Anonymous said...

What many people forget is that the lawyers themselves pay for the State Bar with their dues. The State Bar is not a law enforcement agency, it is set up to train and protect lawyers from grievances. The State Bar is not out to get lawyers, rather it is paid and designed to protect them. Only the worst apples lose their license, everyone else is re-educated and sent back out there to represent the public.

BobbyWC said...

I have said many times the State Bar is a criminal enterprise. It is used to silence those who speak the truth and protect anyone who is willing to help with their dirty work or work for them for free.

Because this is a high profile case they will take ODLF license.

Saenz will lose all credibility with the people if he failes to indict ODLF. Part of the problem is, some of the very attorneys who work for him now knowingly turned a blind eye to what was happening. Saenz does not want to lose those lawyers.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

The Cameron County young women lawyers will run against him for sure if he does not indict ODLF!

They run the show now!

Anonymous said...

Tracy mentioned Noe Garza as one to bypass to the DA?
Isn't Noe Gsrza working with Luis as a Prosecutor?

BobbyWC said...

I have allowed some comments I am not comfortable with - but I am also rejecting a lot of comments - I get many of my readers are starting to get frustrated and want to speak out.

Not yet guys - after the verdict - it will be a free for all

Buy guys just because someone has testified to something does not make it true - I have major concerns with parts of Livingston's lawyer's testimony - his was a big CYA - there are two specific statements he made which I simply did not find credible based on my own experience, and based on the agreed to time lines

The former DA's who help write off on these deals , all have an interest in testifying a way which also does a CYA

Nothing is black and white

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

You never mentioned what it was that had you biting your lip the other day in court. I felt like you yourself wanted to object. Can you fill us in?

Anonymous said...

Rule 11 may be the lip biter