HOUSTON (CN) – A Willacy County Sheriff’s deputy claims Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra conspired with Guerra’s investigator Roy Tamez to cook up false evidence and arrest the deputy to retaliate for the deputy’s executing a search warrant of Guerra’s office. This federal lawsuit is at least the third in a long-running feud in which a police chief and a former district attorney also sued Guerra.
Sheriff’s Deputy David Martinez is represented by John Blaylock of Harlingen.
Here is Courthouse News’ Nov. 25, 2008, report on the brouhaha.
Police Chief, D.A., at War in South Texas
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) – The police chief of Raymondville claims Willacy County District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra cooked up a false affidavit to get a warrant to arrest him in retaliation for the chief’s investigation of the D.A. Uvaldo Zamora sued Guerra and his investigator, Roy Tamez, on civil rights charges in Federal Court.
Guerra is, to say the least, a colorful character. The Brownsville Herald reported last week that a defense attorney wants Guerra sanctioned for failing to show for a recent hearing on an indictment Guerra filed against Vice President Dick Cheney, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, longtime Texas state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., and “several other elected officials, including two Cameron County judges.”
The Herald story features a picture of Guerra with a goat.
In Zamora’s federal complaint, the police chief says a Willacy County grand jury asked his help to investigate Guerra in January 2007. Zamora says he obtained a search warrant for Guerra’s office and executed it on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, to avoid disrupting business.
But Zamora says that on Feb. 10, Guerra contacted members of another grand jury, and asked them to meet on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 for “the sole purpose” of interfering with and obstructing Zamora’s execution of the search warrant, which he had obtained from a Cameron County judge.
(Brownsville is the seat of Cameron County. Raymondville and Willacy County are to the north.)
Zamora claims Guerra and Tamez opened the Willacy County Courthouse on Sunday, “ostensibly for the purpose of conducting a meeting of a grand jury, but who’s (sic) true purpose was to thwart and interfere with the execution of the search warrant that these defendants knew would be conducted on that date by the plaintiff and other law enforcement authorities.”
In proof of that statement, Zamora says, there was no bailiff or court reporter present at Guerra’s so-called grand jury, and the clerk of the court was never notified of it.
Zamora says that “Guerra, known in the community for his publicity seeking antics, directly or indirectly summoned local news media to record the confrontation which he had orchestrated.”
Zamora says he executed the warrant and arrested Guerra, who obstructed Zamora’s officers.
On Feb. 22, 2007, former U.S. Attorney Mervyn Mosbacker was appointed a special prosecutor to aid in the investigation of Guerra, and on March 21, 2007, a grand jury indicted Guerra, Zamora says. He claims that on March 27, Guerra and Tamez cooked up a false affidavit “to support the issuance of an arrest warrant against the plaintiff and other persons who had executed the search warrant of the defendant Guerra’s office.”
Zamora says Guerra’s and Tamez’s “sole purpose” was to retaliate for his role in investigation and arresting Guerra. Zamora was arrested on March 30, 2007, and charged with obstruction or retaliation, a felony, based on the affidavit which, he says, Guerra and Tamez knew “to be false and groundless and in retaliation” for his executing the search warrant.
Zamora also claims that “it is well known by the community in general that the defendants, Guerra and Willacy County, have staffed the district attorney’s office with persons that have prior criminal convictions and are unqualified to hold positions in a criminal district attorney’s office.”
Zamora claims Tamez “is not a certified peace officer,” that Guerra has “another criminal investigator who is a disbarred attorney” and that Guerra’s “chief secretary has a prior conviction for theft and insurance fraud.”
He claims the defendant Willacy County has known all this for years but has refused to enforce standards.
Zamora demand punitive damages for conspiracy to violate his civil rights, false imprisonment, and official oppression. He is represented by John Blaylock.
Here is Courthouse News’ Feb. 28, 2008 report.
Battling District Attorneys Wage
Legal War In South Texas
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (CN) – Battling district attorneys in Willacy County impaneled grand juries against one another – one of them illegally – former District Attorney Gustavo Garza says in a federal claim against present District Attorney Juan Angel Guerra. Garza says that after a Willacy County Grand Jury appointed him to investigate criminal accusations against Guerra, Guerra impaneled a phony grand jury, without notice, on a Sunday, to interfere with Garza’s search of his office, and caused Garza to be arrested.
The complaint states: “On Jan. 11, 2007, plaintiff was appointed to act as a special prosecutor at the request of a grand jury by the judge of the 197th Judicial District Court of Willacy County, to investigate certain criminal accusations against the defendant, Juan Angel Guerra, who is the current Willacy County District Attorney.”
Garza says he obtained a warrant to search Guerra’s offices, from Judge Janet Leal, district judge of 103rd District Court of nearby Cameron County. He says he got the warrant on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, and planned to search the courthouse office the next day, Sunday, so as not to interrupt courthouse business.
Garza says Guerra learned of the impending search, and to impede it, he and his investigator, co-defendant Roy Tamez, opened the Willacy County Courthouse that Sunday, “ostensibly for the purpose of conducting a meeting of a grand jury, but whose true purpose was to thwart and interfere with the execution of the search warrant”.
As evidence that Guerra’s “grand jury” was bogus, Garza says that