Longform

Courthouse bully

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In an affidavit she filed in the case, Susan included a list of vandalism by Carrao that she had reported to the courts 10 years earlier. "I am scared to death of him and what he is capable of doing," she said. But the court ignored her request for sanctions and allowed Carrao to use the discovery process to pry into Susan's life for two years, until the case was ultimately dismissed.

As part of the discovery, Carrao asked for and got answers to questions about her medical history and personal acquaintances. Susan was also forced to admit or deny Carrao's contentions that, after their 1979 divorce, she had slept with him, wrote him love letters, and continued to exchange gifts with him.

The case is hauntingly similar to a case Carrao brought against a Denton County woman whom he met in 1992 after responding to a personal ad she placed in the Dallas Observer. At the time the woman was separated from her husband, but within a year decided to reconcile with him. Again, Carrao did not respond well to the news.

Before the woman dismissed her divorce case, Carrao intervened in a supposed attempt to regain a lengthy list of personal items he claimed were in her possession. That list included a dozen pair of underwear, several combs, a bottle of Plax, a Natalie Cole CD, and three tubes of K-Y Jelly.

As part of his claim, Carrao sent the woman exhaustive requests for admissions to redundant and invasive questions about a sexual relationship Carrao, the "the intervenor," claimed they had. He requested that she admit or deny that: "Intervenor gave you cunnilingus"; "you gave intervenor fellatio"; "you had rear-entry sexual intercourse"; "you purchased K-Y Jelly," and "on one or more occasions, intervenor climaxed inside of you."

Despite a ruling that the woman's gynecological records were not admissible in the case, Carrao obtained them and confronted her with them during a deposition. Denying she had a sexual relationship with Carrao, she counter-sued and asked the court for protection.

"The discovery which has been sought to date has little or nothing to do with whether [the woman] still has items of Carrao's personal property," her attorney argued. "Indeed, the record strongly suggests that Carrao's motivation in filing and pursuing this lawsuit is to seek revenge...This Court should not countenance this kind of conduct." Although the court did, for more than two years.

Meanwhile, the woman went to the Denton police department after Carrao allegedly threatened to kill her during a December 17, 1992 telephone call. According to police records, Carrao allegedly told her, "Let me enter you from behind, rear-entry; if you don't I'm going to kill you." Although the Denton County DA's office charged Carrao with a misdemeanor count of harassment, it dropped the case because the woman declined to cooperate with authorities.

In early 1994, a Denton County judge granted the woman's motion to quash Carrao's discovery and ordered him to pay $1,500 in court costs. The judge later dismissed Carrao's suit and sanctioned him because he failed to pay the court costs.

Today, Carrao vehemently denies the allegations that he threatened to kill the woman and, when asked to explain the purpose of his discovery in the case, he becomes evasive.

"What was the point of a lot of things that she did? Are we going to discuss the things she did?" he asks. "Can we move on to another case?"

Located within blocks of Carrao's West End-based Lawmart, the George Allen Courts Building is the place where Carrao continues to practice his own version of the law, at times seeking payback from the people he believes have done him wrong.

Since 1991, Carrao has filed more than 80 lawsuits in Justice of the Peace Al Cercone's court against attorneys and other customers who have hired Carrao to perform various investigative and paralegal services. Across the hallway, the public terminals at the District Clerk's office contain an additional 40 cases dating back to the 1960s that Carrao has brought, some of them appeals from Cercone's court.

To the courthouse employees who work here, Carrao is an all too familiar face--a regular who always seems to come around, cracking jokes about how yet another employee has up and quit. Carrao is also known as a guy who doesn't much care for attorneys, though he seems to enjoy acting like one.

"When attorneys don't pay their bills, he sues them," says one clerk, who speaks in whispered tones for fear that Carrao might be in earshot. "He hates attorneys. He thinks they're idiots. I don't know his motivation, but he thinks he's smarter than them."

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Rose Farley
Contact: Rose Farley