After special treatment of a judge caught driving drunk received heavy media coverage, an unprofessional and revealing blame game is taking place between police and the judicial system.
McAllen, Texas - As we previously reported, Texas Judge, Justice Nora Longoria had her DWI prosecution dismissed and she avoided any consequences after the prosecutor in the case, Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra, recommended County Court at Law No. 8 Judge Rolando Cantu dismiss the case.
Then came the release of a "missing" dash cam video that showed Longoria failing her field sobriety tests miserably, which prosecutors claimed they never saw. So in an effort to save face, DA Guerra decided to accuse the police department of failing to do its job, using this as an excuse for the dismissal.
Guerra attempted to put the blame, for the failed prosecution of Longoria, on the police department by saying the prosecution of 13th Court of Appeals Justice Nora Longoria would’ve crumbled without the police dashboard camera video and lay the blame squarely upon McAllen police for failing to forward the video to his office.
“What the hell good is it to have it at the PD, when I need it at the courthouse?” he said. “Did I arrest the lady? Then it’s not my responsibility. I assumed that the police departments were sending us all the video. And I find out that in McAllen, because it takes (information technology workers) to get you the download that we have to request it. Well, let me tell you what: I’m not going to do that,” said Guerra, according to The Monitor.
Apparently McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez didn’t take too kindly to Guerra attempting to scapegoat the incident onto his department, as he promptly stated that the District Attorney’s office was attempting to distract the public and the media from Guerra’s special treatment of Longoria.
Rodriguez plainly stated,
“It’s somebody that knows somebody. He made a decision based on that. And when caught in the public discussion of that, he’s trying to shift the blame.”
In rebuttal to Guerra’s claims that it was the police department’s fault for not forwarding the video, Rodriguez went on to say,
“The question is this: If we have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people serving DWI sentences in Hidalgo County — which we’ve used the same system we’ve used in this case — how come it has worked for them and not for this case? It’s a smoke cloud that’s being thrown in front of you in the press, and you guys can’t seem to figure it out."
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As you may recall Longoria was the judge that plead for special treatment when she was arrested for DWI in July of this year.
She begged the arresting officer to let her go after being pulled over, stating that she was a judge and pleading with the officer:
“Please let me go home. I live a couple of miles away … you are going to ruin my life. I worked hard for 25 years to be where I am today.”
The arresting officer did not succumb to her pleas of favoritism, but on November 20th, Judge Rolando Cantu answered those pleas and dismissed her case based on the recommendation of DA Guerra.
Shortly after having her charges dismissed, the dash cam video surfaced, showing Longoria attempting to complete field sobriety tests, with little success.
The back and forth between the DA and the Police Chief lays bare the fact that this case was not handled properly. When you have a police chief plainly stating that there was special treatment from the prosecutor, due to him knowing the defendant, it calls into question the entire legitimacy of our justice system.
Rodriguez went on to ask some important societal questions when he pondered,
“How many other VIPs have gotten the special treatment? Have you done that research? Is this a surprise to you?”
This case raises some very serious issues that we as a society need to begin to answer. Why do public officials such as judges and police not face the same penalties as everyone else for the same crimes?
How can anyone expect the public to respect "the law" when some are seemingly above it?
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.