Honorable Jose “Joey” Contreras, a Former Judge of the 187th Criminal District Court located in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas received a Public Admonishment on or about September 8, 2020, from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC).
On October 23, 2018, Judge Contreras presided over a murder trial in Case No. 2016- CR6802, State of Texas v. Jesse David Vasquez, III (the “Vasquez Case”). The Judge was approached by the defense counsel to inform him of a typed letter, which was received by the defendant. The envelope was handwritten and the defense attorney’s felt they knew who the individual the name of the individual that sent the letter.
The Judge summoned the suspected individual to the court room, but did not inform the person why she was to be present.
The Judge questioned the individual about the letter and she denied it.
The Judge summoned the two defense counsel on a separate occasion, without the suspected individuals awareness. The Judge,m, based upon the latter proceedings claimed the suspected individual wrote the letter.
The Public Admonishment cites two canon’s for its cause; 3(B)4 and 3(B)8, which can be read within the public admonishment.
In conclusion, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct found the the following:
It states the Judge went beyond the scope of his judicial role by taking upon an independent investigation, failed to provide reason for the summons to the suspected individual, and failed to notify the suspected individual on the second hearing held by the Judge.
- The Judge went beyond the scope of his judicial role by taking upon an independent investigation,
- The Judge failed to provide reason for the summons to the suspected individual, and
- The Judge failed to notify the suspected individual on the second hearing held by him.
At the time of publishing, the matter is listed on appeal to special court of review.