Mixed reactions to Abel Limas sentencing

Former DA Yolanda De Leon

Former 404th State District Court Judge Abel Limas is headed to federal prison.

Limas pleaded guilty to his role in the Cameron County cash for court favors scandal back in March 2011.

But more than two years later on Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Limas to six years behind bars.

Hanen also ordered Limas to pay more than $6.2 million dollars and forfeit more than $250,000 dollars.

Limas apologize Judge Hanen before being sentenced that he would make weekly payments if he had to.

I apologize to society, Limas said. I apologize to the legal community. There TMs nothing else I can do.

Attorney Speaks

But some say it TMs too little, too late for Limas.

"Restitution, in my opinion, will never be paid, said attorney Rigoberto Flores leaving the Brownsville federal courthouse. It can never be paid. The harm that was caused to all the people, the community, was immense. And I don't think that it TMll ever be able to be paid."

Flores represents attorney Eduardo "Eddie" Lucio, who was also accused in the scandal.

Limas testified against Lucio but a jury in Corpus Christi cleared Lucio with a not guilty verdict.

Blogger Speaks

Brownsville Voice blogger Bobby Wightman-Cervantes was also in the courtroom and believe more indictments could be coming.

"There's more coming," Wightman-Cervantes said. "Limas is just the tip of the iceberg."

Although pleased with the sentence, the local political blogger said he didn't buy claims of reform by Limas.

"He ran to protect himself and no one else, Wightman-Cervantes said. And I think, his testimony was so non-credible, it have actually hurt in some cases rather than help."

Former DA Speaks

Former Cameron County District Attorney Yolanda De Leon was the only person other than Limas to speak at the sentencing hearing.

Proseuctors listed De Leon is one of the officials victims of Limas following a 2008 defamation lawsuit that ended with a judgement against her.

The lawsuit ended her career as an attorney.

Although Judge Hanen awarded De Leon more than $39,000 in restitution today, she doesn TMt expect to actually be paid.

But the former district attorney said the Limas case confirms what she long suspected when prosecutors presented cases in the 404th State District Court.

"What we saw were a lot of squirrely things| that things were not what they ought to be, De Leon said.

Two More Sentencings

Federal prosecutors declined to comment about the sentencing but court records show that attorney Marc Rosenthal is expected to be sentenced for his role in the scandal on October 8th.

Former district attorney Armando Villalobos, who took office after De Leon and was found guilty of participating in the scandal, is expected to be sentenced on October 15th.

With the federal case winding down, De Leon wants the State Bar of Texas to look into the conduct by Limas and other attorneys connected to the case. "He was doing this type of thing perhaps for money but for perhaps for benefit long before the Rosenthal situation came into being," De Leon said.