The games of political “scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours” continue in El Paso. Today’s installment is the ongoing Jaime Abeytia saga at the expense of the taxpayers. Apparently, the rampant corruption isn’t enough for certain political figures in El Paso. As of today, not only is Abeytia still under indictment for showing inappropriate images to his daughter he is still listed as a fugitive from Arizona. (1) Even with these undisputable facts, Abeytia still remains employed at the expense of the taxpayers at the behest of county commissioner Vince Perez. (2)

On January 30, 2013, Jaime Remigio Abeytia was indicted on two counts. The first count was for the “sale, distribution or display of harmful material to minors”. On June 4, 2013, the original indictment was reindicted as a misdemeanor “sale, distribution or display of harmful material to a minor”. The other related case involves the allegation that Abeytia inappropriately accessed an electronic device in order to acquire the image he is accused of showing his daughter.

From the moment the accusations against Jaime Abeytia were made public it became evident that special attention to protect Jaime Abeytia was instituted. The vast majority of those accused of felony display of materials to minors, something generally considered pornographic, are not normally given the opportunity to turn himself or herself into the sheriff’s office and instead are publicly arrested and taken to jail. Many times the news media is called for the arrest spectacle.

Abeytia, instead, was given the opportunity to turn himself in to be processed without being arrested at the County Courthouse where he works. Six months later, after being charged with two felonies, Jaime Abeytia’s charges were reduced to two misdemeanors.

A few days after his two charges were reduced; Jaime Abeytia was offered a plea agreement where he was asked to agree to less than a year in jail, 24 months of probation and a fine of $2,000, $1500 of that to be probated. Oh, and he would have had to stay away from minors. Apparently, Abeytia refused as he was scheduled to go to trial on March 4, 2014.

On March 4, 2014, according to the court’s docket, Jaime Abeytia apparently fired his attorney and asked that a new one be allowed to represent him. The court issued an order withdrawing an attorney and scheduled a status conference for March 24, 2014.

This latest ploy by Jaime Abeytia is nothing more than a time-honored manipulation of the judicial process to allow him to avoid having to account for his actions. Many proclaim how the US judicial system is the fairest in the world yet conveniently ignore how some individuals, like Jaime Abeytia, are allowed to manipulate the system. Delaying the court hearing further not only gives Jaime Abeytia the opportunity to continue working at taxpayer expense but it gives him the ability to attempt to quietly dispose of his case.

The longer the process is allowed to linger the higher the chance there is for the manipulation of the outcome. We have already witnessed the special treatment afforded to Jaime Abeytia by the Sheriff’s Department. Are we now witnessing another special treatment in the works for him?

Notice how both the sheriff’s department and the judiciary are connected to a common nexus? It happens to be the County of El Paso. How convenient it is that Vince Perez happens to be one of the elected officials that oversees the budget of both entities. Perez has also recently challenged the Council of Judges authority over the county’s auditor. Is this a flexing of his inherent power for the benefit of his employee? Notice how Vince Perez happens to be the sole reason that Jaime Abeytia continues to draw a taxpayer funded salary while under indictment in Texas and listed as wanted in Arizona.

How can anyone honestly reconcile these facts and not ask themselves, is corruption driving the outcome of this case?

  1. The Arizona online warrants database still lists Jaime Remigio Abeytia with an address in El Paso as wanted for failure to pay child support as of March 10, 2014.
  2. As of March 10, 2014, the county’s website lists Jaime R. Abeytia as Vince Perez’ Constituent Services/Outreach.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

6 replies on “Jaime Abeytia and the Cycle of Corruption”

  1. Is the new legal maneuver, El Paso officials/employees use to avoid prosecution. Remember the city rep that charged with forgery. Changed lawyers every other week until she termed out and quietly settled the case. We are still waiting Ann Lilley Morgan to be prosecuted. That case will be dragged out, just in case she is found guilty before she terms out. This guy will change lawyers, negotiate deals forever, ask continuances until he can quietly slip out the door. Most people on a government payroll get terminated or suspended without pay, immediately! Lady Justice just felt the shift in the scales. So much for improving El Paso’s image. I bet all those government official, in other cities, and in jail, wish they had committed their crimes here.

  2. “Most people on a government payroll get terminated or suspended without pay, immediately!”

    I am not sure this is the case when criminal charges pending especially.

    The county already is in a tangle in non criminal case re a “gag order” if you will and one long time employee or ex-employee ie this person no doubt was all ready to sue the county.

    In other words JA if terminated and then found innocent would no doubt sue the county.

    Police officers do this all the time ie sue city re termination.

    No doubt its been a bitter divorce for JA.

    One attorney told me “Carl I rather handle a murder case than a divorce case” re bitter hate etc divorces.

    1. Carl I tend to agree with you when you take an individual’s overall character as determined by the whole of their actions. As an employer, I look at how an employee performs and how that individual represents my company by their demeanor and their actions. Texas is an “at-will” state and as such, each employee’s job status can be changed by either party at any time. In addition, Vince Perez is the sole determiner of whether Jaime Abeytia remains on the County payroll. This is clearly spelled out on the employment contract generated by employees contracted by elected officials. In Jaime Abeytia’s case, the current indictment is not out of character for him in fact, as I laid out in my blog he currently is listed as having an active arrest warrant in Arizona. In addition, Abeytia settled a case in 1999 for “theft of property” and again in 2004 he accepted deferred adjudication on another case, this time for computer tampering. Whether this latest case is about a divorce does not matter because there is clearly a criminal pattern to his actions. That, in my opinion, makes him unacceptable for employment on the taxpayer’s dime especially in a city where many qualified individuals are underemployed. In other words, Abeytia would not be employed at the county were it not for the intervention of an elected official. How is that not corrupt?

      Thanks for your comments,

  3. Your right Texas is at will state but it may be more complex than that ie Pensions, Unions etc. It may be up to Vince but also all of Commissioners Court.

    We are all for the most part in my opinion ‘loophole larrys’ and I blame this on the IRS convoluted tax code is how we learn scheming.

    Thus I surely without judgment as one may well be what we think of them…I surely do not blame anyone for availing themselves of legal maneuvers that may mitigate their legal predicament….such is a criminal attorney sole job” As the Famous Strong Arm Attorney says on El Paso TV “I look at the case the only way that matters…YOURS”

    I happen to agree with many of Vince’s past actions etc in Commissions Court….not sure if I am bias here.

  4. I agree that Jaime Abeytia should not be employed by the County in such a high position. For clarity’s sake, though, I want to point out that the 24 month probation offer is pretty typical. Trying to comply with DA’s office policies, Assistant DA’s typically give the same 2 or 3 plea offers for every single misdemeanor, regardless of individual case facts. Given the DA’s policies, there is an overflow of cases waiting to be resolved in our judicial system. Because of the backlog, in some courts, trial settings are more than a year out. As such, even without the attorney change, Mr. Abeytia’s case would likely have been continued anyway.

    I don’t know the details of the charges, but wouldn’t be surprised if there was some corruption involved in the DA’s reduction from a felony to a misdemeanor. I doubt wrongdoing amongst the judiciary and defense bar, though, particularly given the fact that Vince Perez’s office has essentially accused the criminal judge’s and criminal attorneys of stealing taxpayer money.

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