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McAllen Judge Arrested 4 Paying Off Credit Cards With Traffic Fine Money

The hurricane hitting South Texas today is the least of La Joya Municipal Court Judge Joe Henry Garza’s problems. At 55 years old, he’s been busted. Arrested, arraigned, the whole nines yards when you’re charged with a felony.

And, yes, this South Texas municipal judge is facing felony theft charges. Judge Garza stands accused of putting his hand in the traffic fine till — the moneys collected as traffic fines from those who appeared before him for traffic violations — and using the fine money to pay off his personal credit card.

McAllen Judge Garza Has Pled Not Guilty to Theft of Traffic Fines

The La Joya Municipal Court is about 15 minutes drive from downtown McAllen, very close to the Texas-Mexico border. Judge Joe Henry Garza lives in the area, and today he’s out on a $10,000 bond.  He’s pled not guilty to a third-degree felony charge of theft by a public servant.

His position? He isn’t the one wo receives the money that comes into the city coffers.

Evidence Against Judge Garza

According to the probable cause documentation on file, the sheriff investigated and found three (3) separate examples of people (Mexican nationals) paying their traffic fines with money orders in Garza’s court, and this money then being used to pay Judge Garza’s personal credit card.  The Sheriff’s office became involved after an internal audit discovered $6500 missing from the municipal accounts.  Sheriff’s investigators purportedly traced the stubs from the money orders to Judge Garza. 

Wonder what happened when they paid their traffic fines in cash?


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