Texas Judges Gone Bad: Arrested and Charged for Felonies
Here in Texas, judges preside over all sorts of courts: municipal courts, county courts, district courts in both the state and federal jurisdictions. Courts where criminal charges are heard and defended.
Judges make all kinds of rulings on law in these criminal cases, like whether or not a search was illegal or if evidence can be used against a defendant. Judges can act as fact-finders, too, and in “bench trials” they decide guilt or innocence as well as sentencing.
So it’s important for you to know when judges are accused of failing in their duties of integrity and abiding by the law. And it happens much more often than most realize.
Consider the following five examples from the past year, as well as the standard lingo at the end of the DOJ news releases: a criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
1. Texas District Judge Arrested on Bribery Charges (Fixing Cases)
Texas District Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado presided over the 93rd District Court for the State of Texas down in Hidalgo County, Texas. Judge Delgado faces some serious federal felony charges now, having been charged last week by the federal authorities with taking bribes.
Specifically, the Justice Department alleges that Judge Delgado took money as payment for favorable treatment of cases pending before him – and that he’s been taking bribes for a long time, going back to 2008.
Right now, Judge Delgado is out on a $100,000 bail bond. He’s no longer on the bench as Retired Judge Robert Garza has been appointed to take over the 93rd District Court while Judge Delgado faces these criminal charges.
As for his campaign seeking election to an appellate bench on the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth (13th) Judicial District of Texas, that’s probably not gonna happen.
For details on his February 2018 arrest, read “Hidalgo County District Judge Arrested Amid FBI Investigation,” written by Tim Acosta and published in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on February 3, 2018.
2. Texas County Judge Arrested for Driving Drunk and Petition to Remove for Misconduct with Female Criminal Defendants
Down in Waco, Judge Daniel Burkeen presides over Limestone County as a County Judge. Last April, Judge Burkeen was arrested on charges of Driving While Intoxicated by police officers in Mart, Texas.
After being pulled over, Judge Burkeen failed a field sobriety test. His blood was drawn at the McLennan County Jail, but before the results came back he agreed to a breath test and it revealed a BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) of 0.112. That’s way, way over the legal limit here in Texas.
For details on the arrest of Texas County Judge Daniel Burkeen including his explanation during an interview the next day, read “Local County Judge Charged With DWI Apologizes; Blames “Home Remedy,” written by John Carroll and Rissa Shaw and published on April 13, 2017 by KWTX.com.
Note that this is a misdemeanor charge that does not mandate Judge Burkeen remove himself from the bench.
However, his ouster is being sought by the county commissioners – and it’s for more bad stuff.
A petition was filed last fall to remove Judge Burkeen from the Limestone County bench not only because of the DWI charge but also based upon allegations of inappropriate conduct with female defendants appearing before him in criminal cases.
For details, read “Commissioners file petition against County Judge Burkeen,” written by Timothy J. O’Malley for the Mexia News as well as the coverage by the Waco Tribune-Herald which includes a pdf of the petition for ouster and Judge Burkeen’s response in the article entitled “Limestone County Judge pushes back against effort to oust him from office,” written by Kristin Hoppa and published on October 28, 2017.
3. Texas Justice of the Peace Arrested for Assault and Tampering with Evidence
Justice of the Peace Jerry Miller presides over Precinct 2 in Kenedy County, Texas, where the court hears minor civil and criminal matters.
In April 2017, Judge Miller was arrested on felony charges of (1) assault/impeding breath or circulation of a family member, and (2) tampering with evidence, as well as a misdemeanor charge of family violence/assault.
4. Texas District Judge Arrested for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Judge Guy Williams was elected to preside over the 148th Judicial District Court for the State of Texas down in Corpus Christi.
Last November, Judge Williams was indicted on two felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released on a $25,000 bond after pleading not guilty.
Allegedly, Judge Williams tried to run a woman off the road, and pointed a gun at the people in the car. She called it in to 911.
Shortly after his arrest, he was suspended from the bench and he did not seek reelection this year.
For more, read the Corpus Christi Caller Times coverage, including the story written by Eleanor Dearman and published on December 11, 2017, entitled “Judge Guy Williams, Charged In Road Rage Case, Doesn’t File Re-Election Papers.”
5. Texas Municipal Judge Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Cocaine
Former Edcouch Municipal Judge Daniel A. Guzman II presided over the municipal court of Edcouch, Texas, until his arrest on drug charges last year.
The Texas judge was arrested by agents for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as part of its investigation into a drug trafficking operation that was moving both cocaine and meth through Texas.
Judge Guzman was arrested by DEA agents over in Alabama, where Guzman and another man were caught trying to sell a lot of cocaine. For details, read “Former Judge Accused in Cocaine Distribution Deal,” published by KRGV.com on February 22, 2017.
Guzman pled to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. He was sentenced to the minimum of five years imprisonment (the range of punishment was 5-40 yrs in a federal prison facility). At the sentencing hearing, there was a recommendation from the bench that ex-Judge Guzman be allowed to serve his time in a federal prison facility near to his family here in Texas. See, “Former Edcouch municipal judge sentenced to 5 years in prison for drug trafficking,” written by Dave Hendricks and published by ValleyCentral.com on November 28, 2017.
Note: these are not the only Texas Judges doing bad things in the past twelve months; we’re just listing five examples today.
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