63 / 55
      70 / 55
      72 / 56

      Guerra Must Pay $335,000 in 'Damages'

      After two years in court, a federal jury found a former Willacy County District Attorney guilty of abusing the civil rights of other elected officials.

      One of these officials David Martinez, a former Willacy County Sheriff TMs Chief Deputy, told Action 4 News he felt vindicated by the jury TMs decision against former DA Juan Angel Guerra. "I'm happy of jurors seeing how Mr. Guerra's actions are, and what he abuses often in his post," he said.

      Martinez filed the lawsuit back in 2007, along with two other elected officials from Willacy County which include former District Attorney Gustavo Garza and Raymondville Police Chief Uvaldo Zamora.

      This week, a federal jury began deliberating.

      They announced their decision on Friday.

      "They decided that yes their civil rights have been violated. They were falsely arrested and it was done with malicious intent," said John Blaylock, the attorney that represented the three men.

      Blaylock told Action 4 News the federal jury's decision proved one major thing, "Juan Guerra abuses his power."

      Court documents obtained by Action 4 News showed that the verdict awarded punitive damages totaling $335,000.

      Gustavo Garza was awarded $90,000; Uvaldo Zamora received $105 thousand in damages; and David Martinez was awarded $140,000.

      "I think we have a loose cannon here, we've always had a loose cannon and if he gets back in office, he's gonna pursue it and keep on doing what he's doing," Martinez added, referring to Guerra.

      Both Martinez and Blaylock also said that the lawsuit sends a message to other elected officials that they should not abuse their powers.