Attorneys for Judge Cortez's Ex Say Failed Abuse Case is the District Attorney's Fault
It's not easy to call the cops on your boyfriend when he's a powerful judge, but in the beginning, it seemed that the law was on Maggie Strother's side.
Dallas Police Department officers visited the Uptown condo of state District Judge Carlos Cortez on December 28. There, Strother showed them some ugly red marks around her neck, according to the police report, and said that Cortez had choked her, pulled her hair and threatened to kill her while leaning her over the edge of his balcony.
The cops arrested Cortez on a family violence assault charge. They presented their findings to the District Attorney's Office, which accepted the case and handed it to a grand jury. But it wasn't until Monday, after the grand jury declined to issue an indictment in the case, that Strother's attorney accused authorities of botching the case. That very same district attorney who agreed to take the case, Strother's attorney claims, was actually biased in favor of Cortez.
The reasoning for that argument is simple. The district attorney represents itself in a bunch of cases pending before Cortez's court. Therefore, the district attorney was biased in favor of Cortez.
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"Craig Watkins and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office failed to disclose the fact that he/it represents the State of Texas or the Dallas County District's Attorney Office in fourteen civil cases" pending before Judge Cortez, according to a motion filed yesterday by attorney Ted Steinke.
Steinke charges that "the fact that such a blatant conflict of interest was not disclosed by Craig Watkins is a violation of her [Strother's] due process rights."
Since grand jury proceedings are secret, we don't know how well the case was handled when it got to the jurors, but Steinke blames the no-bill on the district attorney's prejudice. He writes in his motion that "the Dallas County District Attorney's Office has publically [sic] stated that the case will not be resubmitted to another grand jury."
Cortez has also claimed to be a victim of prejudice. Shortly after his no-bill last week, he went with his attorney to the press, accusing the police of mishandling the case. They released footage casting major doubt on Strother's credibility. One video shows a visibly intoxicated Strother swatting at Cortez as he drives. She then opens the car door of the moving vehicle and falls out. "Why did you throw me out?" Strother asks Cortez.
Strother and her attorney then counter-attacked, releasing recordings of a phone call with a man who they say is Cortez. In the call, the man angrily tells Strother that she's "disgusting" and threatens her with some naked pictures.
"Those pictures are going on the Internet," the man says in the recording.
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