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September 6, 2005 There are 278 people currently viewing TheMonitor.com
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Judge’s DWI Case
January 30,2005
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The decision to toss the driving while intoxicated case against District Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Delgado, because the two-year trial delay violated Delgado’s right to a speedy trial, makes no sense. After all, Delgado’s attorneys are the ones who dragged their feet in the first place.

On Sept. 21, 2002, Edinburg police charged Delgado with driving while intoxicated and evading arrest (a grand jury no-billed him on the evading arrest charge two months later). A DWI conviction carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. According to the arrest affidavit, the judge ran a red light, refused to pull over, drove on the wrong side of the road and, when he finally stopped, refused several orders to get out of his vehicle. When he did, according to the court document, he almost fell down.

Because a Hidalgo County court judge recused himself from the case and the arresting officer was at Border Patrol training camp, Delgado’s trial was delayed until last May. Then Cameron County Court-at-law Judge Daniel Robles, who was brought in to oversee the case, had District Attorney Rene Guerra’s office removed because some of his prosecutors might be called as witnesses. In December, an appeals court reinstated Guerra.

On Monday, Robles ordered the DWI charge set aside, ruling that the district attorney’s office delayed the trial. The DA is appealing the ruling.

By tossing the case because it didn’t get to court quickly enough, Robles played right into the hands of Delgado’s lawyers, who employed stalling tactics on behalf of their client. After all, defense attorneys filed two motions to delay the trial last spring, the DA said.

"We’ve been shadowboxing for two years," Guerra told The Monitor.

Delgado and his lawyers know how to duck and weave. At his arraignment in 2002, Delgado said, "I made a mistake and have embarrassed myself."

However, in September 2004 — just prior to the two-year deadline for filing suit — Delgado slapped the city of Edinburg, two of its officials and three police officers with a lawsuit over his arrest. In his petition, Delgado wasn’t nearly as contrite as he had been during his court arraignment.

The judge said in his lawsuit the city and police department were out to get him because of two lawsuits pending in Delgado’s court and because of a previous suit against the Edinburg PD (secretly settled for $100,000). The lawsuit claimed the arresting officer cursed at him, held a gun to his head and slammed him against his truck. The judge, however, never bothered to mention any such conduct or motives right after his arrest.

District judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety, something Delgado failed to do. His various legal maneuvers raise questions of special treatment, political favors and the traditional elitist attitude of elected officials in the Rio Grande Valley.

Delgado hasn’t been convicted of anything in this case, but his alleged conduct deserves scrutiny in court — if nothing else, a trial might unequivocally clear the judge of this accusation. Instead of Delgado taking responsibility for his actions, he employs delaying tactics. The people of Hidalgo County deserve better behavior from a sitting judge.

 

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