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2011-04-20 digital edition

Commentary: Law enforcement Coverup?

Text: T T

Thirty years ago this county had a judge who liked to drink. Most nights he shut down the bar at the VFW at closing time. When he was ready for a ride home he called the Willacy County Sheriff's Department which provided him with a ride home at the taxpayers’ expense. Is something similar going on today?

According to Incident Report # 11- 0319 the current county judge called the Willacy County Sheriff's Department at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, April 8 and spoke with Sgt. J. M. Gonzalez. The report which the Chronicle/News has in our possession, states that the judge told Sgt. Gonzalez that he had been drinking and needed a ride and that he sounded urgent.

The report goes on to say that Sgt. Gonzalez got into his unit and drove to 7th St. and Durham where it appeared that the judge had been pulled over on a traffic stop. Sgt. Gonzales report stated that he was met by city police officer Duran who stated that he was going to turn the judge over to him. The judge parked his truck at a convenience store, thanked Sgt. Gonzalez for coming for him, stating that he had only had five or six beers while he was at a friend's home.

The report states that the judge appeared alert, but it was evident that he had minor impairment, bloodshot eyes and thick speech due to the alcohol in his system. The report states that Sgt. Gonzalez drove the judge to a home in the 600 block of East McCharen. Street.

The Chronicle/ News has received no cooperation in its attempt to get additional information about this matter. Raymondville Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora stated that there is no city police report of the incident. Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence declined to provide a copy of the incident report to the newspaper and a Freedom of Information Request has been filed with him by our reporter. Why is any of this important?

The county judge is the individual who hears driving while intoxicated cases and determines whether-ornot the defendants are found guilty and whether- or- not they do jail time if they are found guilty.

Obviously, we need a sober judge to make those decisions.

Perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for the difficulty the newspaper is having getting to the bottom of this quesion. Why was the judge not given a sobriety test if he was suspected of driving under the influence? Why was the sheriff's dept.called to give the judge a ride if he was stopped in town by a city police officer? Why is Sheriff Larry Spence having a hard time making information that should be public record available to the media?

We are not accusing anyone of anything, but until these questions are answered, we have to wonder, IS A COVERUP GOING ON?

2011-04-20 / Editorial & Columns

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