Action 4 News cameras are the only ones in the 206th Judicial District Court when La Joya Municipal Judge Joe Henry Alaniz Garza is formally arraigned and charged with six counts of official oppression and three counts of abuse of official capacity.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra tells Action 4 News this was the result of information that was forwarded to them and to the grand jury. "He had caused several people to be arrested when they should not, he did not have the power or authority to arrest them; he also held people in contempt and caused them to be arrested when they were not in contempt" Guerra told Action 4 News.
Based on his alleged misconduct, Judge Garza is now wearing an orange jumpsuit after turning himself in at the Hidalgo County Jail, the same attire as he's transported to the Hidalgo County Courthouse to be formally charged.
The allegations from at least nine persons range from mistreatment, ordering unlawful arrest, denying the right to freedom of speech, and denying the right to due process of law. "Some involve students and some involve adult people that went before the court where he caused them to be arrested when he shouldn't have caused them to be arrested."
But these accusations are not new, several complaints date back from November of last year when Yolanda Guajardo filed a police report against Garza claiming she was arrested for arriving late to her son's truancy hearing that she was never made aware of. Back then she told Action 4 News that she tried to explain that she didn't know about the hearing but the judge responded by having her arrested.
Attorney at Law Richard R. Alamia is representing Judge Garza. "We have plead not guilty, and the evidence will show that he's not guilty of any charges."
Having considered the indictment, the State Commission of Judicial Conduct has suspended Garza with pay."The allegations are basically allegations that are made by some people that were part of the administration of justice to his court." Alamia said.
District Court Judge Rose Guerra Reyna set a $1,500.00 dollar personal recognizance bond on each count for a total of $13,500.00
"Judges are trying to extend their powers and authority, and they cannot" emphasized Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra.