On Monday, March 22, 2004, attorneys Stuart Leeds and Theresa Caballero filed a motion to replace Court Appointed Attorney Pro Temp Dick Alcala. Alcala was recently appointed by Judge Stephen B. Ables to conduct investigations for the first Court of Inquiry convened to investigate allegations of corruption against the El Paso Police Department and the District Attorney. The motion lays out three specific reasons for removing Alcala from further investigating this case and replacing him with another attorney. Interestingly the motion is brought forth by the attorneys originally requesting the Court of Inquiry. The thirteen page motion starts out by stating that the Court of Inquiry had been commenced on February 2, 2004 by Judge Ables to investigate the “alleged assault of Miss Nancy Hollebeke by alleged perpetrators named as El Paso Police Department Officers Albert Machorro and Jose Garcia.” The motion further states that the “scope” of the Court of Inquiry had already been specified. The motion than adds that the attorneys are “concerned that the investigation by the court appointed Attorney Pro Tem Dick Alcala may be jeopardized by any relationship he has with persons subject to investigation in the court of inquiry, such as El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza.” According to the motion, District Attorney Jaime Esparza and Attorney Pro Temp are both members of a Catholic Church Group known as “ACTS”. The motion points out that membership in this social group may create a situation by which the Attorney Pro Tem, Dick Alcala and District Attorney Jaime Esparza may need to interact socially whereby the investigation into Esparza’s actions may be compromised. The motion adds; “Such circumstances places the Attorney Pro Tem in the posture of dealing socially with one of the subjects of the court of inquiry that his official duties require him to investigate.”
The motion then further adds that another concern of the attorneys is the apparent lack of investigation the first Court of Inquiry has produced to date. Although the Attorney Pro Tem had been appointed during the first week of February, it appears from the motion that no action seems to have been taken by Alcala in his investigation as it appears he is yet to hire an investigator to investigate the allegations. On the other hand, for comparison sake, the second Court of Inquiry was convened a few days ago and the Attorney Pro Tem for that investigation has already begun his interviews of the targets of that investigation. Even more troubling is the fact that Alcala appears to have not understood the focus of the inquiry or his duties as he recently filed a motion of his own seeking clarification of the scope of what he is supposed to be investigating. This action by the Attorney Pro Tem is very troubling in that the scope of the investigation is clearly delineated in the order signed by Judge Stephen B. Ables on February 2, 2004.
Justice is sometimes slow to act, but the victims and the subjects of the investigation would most likely want an able person willing and determined to find the truth, regardless of where it leads. Alcala’s apparent vacillation and or reluctance to investigate is a disservice not only to the complainant but also to the subjects of this investigation as any delay ultimately does not serve justice. The slowness by which he has proceeded raises questions that would only impede the transparency of the process. The seriousness and the ramifications of the first Court of Inquiry demands that an Attorney Pro Tem focused on investigating the truth be appointed to replace Alcala. Justice must be complete and expedient as the community continues to hold its collective breath wondering just what is true and what is hyperbola in the allegations levied to date. Any further delay is a disservice to both the community and the legal system and should not be tolerated.