On Friday, January 23, 2004, attorneys Stuart Leeds and Theresa Caballero filed a supplement to their Affidavit that further establishes probable cause that District Attorney Jaime Esparza has been abusing his position to mount a defense against the Court of Inquiry charged to investigate the District Attorney’s actions. According to the supplement, Jaime Esparza used the resources at his disposal, resources paid for by the taxpayers of the community, to mount a legal defense in which he himself is a potential subject of a criminal investigation. According to the supplement to the Affidavit, District Attorney Jaime Esparza used the resources of his office to mount a legal defense for himself in an apparent contravention of the laws of our State. The supplement details the use of two County employees, John Davis and Amy Lujan as well as taxpayer resources that were used by Esparza to research and file a motion on his behalf before the court. The supplement further explains that Esparza, a potential subject of a criminal investigation does not have the right to use his office for mounting a legal defense in his benefit, one that would be paid for by tax dollars. The supplement makes the point that Esparza has the same rights as any other defendant in the State of Texas, represent himself, hire a defense attorney or avail himself of a court appointed counsel should he find himself indigent. The supplement correctly points out that Esparza, “as a prosecutor and highest law enforcement official in three counties in west Texas, he should know better”. This begs the question; does Esparza think he is above the law?

This further development continues to demonstrate that the District Attorney has missed the point of the Court of Inquiry, the way the process has been handled from the beginning that gives rise to the question of integrity within both law enforcement entities. Although the Police Department and the District Attorney’s office have continually tried to portray this as an issue of a young lady lying to cover up her actions, the reality is that the Court of Inquiry is tasked with investigating the actions of both the police and the District Attorney’s office which seems to show that the process has circumvented the fair and proper treatment of any accuser, most importantly when the allegations are directed at our law enforcement. The issue at hand is that the actions undertaken by both the Police Department and the District Attorney’s office at this time seem to have violated the principals of fairness and established national standards, actions which seem to favor the accused officers instead of the alleged victim.

This apparent deviation of the common decency standards is what is at issue. The community must trust the system to be transparent in all its actions. Instead, what the community has witnessed is a potential “closing of ranks” that seem to protect the official departments more than the alleged victim of the case. The question then becomes, is the Police and District Attorney serving their own selfish needs or are they looking out for the public welfare as mandated? Their actions seem to show the first. Coupled with recent city financial settlements with alleged victims in at least two recent occasions that cost the community thousands in taxpayer funds without the Police or the District Attorney finding any wrongdoing on the part of the officials further raises the question of who watches the watchers. Under these circumstances, can we trust our Police and our District Attorney to do the right thing when allegations arise against them? This is the issue that must be addressed as the process is what determines our trust in the system. The process, it seems from the public records available to us, has been circumvented in an apparent attempt to protect the system instead of the alleged victim. This must not be condoned by the community.

Guest Author

El Paso News guest authors.