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Texas Ranger Accused of Perjury by Defense Counsel
On July 18, 2017, Ernesto Gonzales, a local attorney, was reported missing from his office. The investigation considered several links to his law practice and reports that Gonzalez had been involved in a dispute with several family members. The Texas Rangers joined Harlingen PD in the investigation. Ultimately, factors in the case narrowed to a family member. In late June 2020, a search warrant was executed on property owned by the victim’s nephew, Solomon Campos. The remains of Ernesto were Gonzalez discovered.
On June 25, 2020, Texas Rangers and Harlingen PD officers arrested Solomon Campos, the victim’s nephew. Campos was charged with the murder of Ernesto Gonzalez. A trial date is pending.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.Per Texas Department of Public Safety Cold Case Files
Initial Charges were Dismissed
Initially, Campos was charged with Capital Murder by Terrorist Threat and Aggravated Kidnapping by Terrorizing . These charges were filed under cause 2020-DCR-01417. The file date was July 22, 2020.
On August 17, 2020, a hearing was held related to the defense’s claims there were multiple violations of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct; amongst other concerns.
Hearing heard via Zoom. Deft appeared w/Def Atty Erin Gamez and Atty Aaron Rendon; State ADA Edward Sandoval present w/ ADA Brett Patillo. Court denying State’s motion for conference to disqualify Mr. Gamez at this time, as it is filed. Court orders statements on pg. 2 be stricken as extra judicial statements based on the info provided by the State today. Court is not convinced that the particular motion is one that needs to be sealed. The Court is inclined to strike any extra judicial statements forming the basis of law of that motion, other than anything having to do with the Texas Rangers. Court will black out the info that the Court believes is inappropriately ple[a]d and the Court believes to be extra judicial statements as they appear. Both sides will get a copy and submit an ordeWe ar reflecting what the Court has ordered. GMR/crJournal Entry from 445th District Judge Gloria Rincones
On August 25, 2022, the State notified the court it would be filing a dismissal in the case. On October 13, 2022, the court granted the dismissal of the initial filing. On November 11, 29, 2022, the defense team for Campos filed a “Motion to Show Cause Why the State, As Committed to the Court, Has Failed and Refused to File a Dismissal of Indictment in Cause No. 2020-DCR-01417.” On January 12, 2023, the cause was formally dismissed.
New Charges were Filed During the Attempt to Dismiss the Prior Case
On August 3, 2022, the case was refiled as two counts of Capital Murder by Terrorist Threat.
Defense Attorney Makes Oral Motion for Perjury Investigation.
A hearing was held on January 18, 2023, and the defense team for Campos made an “Oral Motion to Appoint Special Prosecutor to Investigate Ranger [Raul] Garza as to Perjury on the Stand.”
In the prior filing, there were claims the prosecutors violated aspects of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct related to extrajudicial statements. The court seemed to concluded violations occurred, but attempt to seal that case was denied.
We do not have much more than what was documented in court records, but the defense team is making a major claim that a Texas Ranger is not being honest.
Some Key Parts of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 3.02. Candor Toward the Tribunal
(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly:
(1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal.
(5) offer or use evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.
Rule 3.07. Trial Publicity
(a) In the course of representing a client, a lawyer shall not make an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication if the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicator proceeding. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to make such a statement.
Rule 3.09. Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor
The prosecution in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting or threatening to prosecute a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.
(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and in connection with sentencing disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all the unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal.Reference the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in learning about the prior Harlingen Mayors private email server.
Or you may be interested in reading some other strange legal practices by the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.
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