I hired DA candidate Joe Gonzales. He robbed me.
How the billboard attorney and San Antonio's next DA helped cover up judicial misconduct in Bexar County.
It’s a long and convoluted story that is nowhere near its conclusion. But for this election, here is what you need to know:
There is a constitutional crisis in our local courts. One example of that crisis is how local civil judges treat pro se litigants, people who go to court without lawyers. Bexar County judges have illegally dismissed thousands of pro se litigant’s cases for failure to pay court costs – while denying them a legally required hearing.
Bexar County civil judges bragged to the Texas Judicial Commission that they disposed of thousands of civil cases and apparently nobody cared how.
I protested that scheme and - naively - announced in court that our small non-profit was building an information center on the Eastside to help give voice to the disenfranchised.
I promptly got arrested. Three times.
I promptly got arrested. Three times. My first arrest came when I tried to report being attacked by a security guard from Statewide Patrol (a Statewide Patrol guard recently gunned down a man he antagonized and pursued) Not long after, I was arrested for allegedly holding a garage sale without a permit, reportedly the first criminal arrest of its kind in Texas. Both those cases were dropped.
It was after my third arrest that I became acquainted with Joe Gonzales.
The civil judges had evicted the Auris Project based on facially fraudulent quitclaim deeds and a semi-literate “practicing attorney” who claimed to represent an Arizona man but later put the property in her name and sold it.
A day after the eviction, I began filming the woman placing our rare books in the back of a truck. The video shows the woman approaching me, striking me, chasing me to my car and kicking my car door. I got arrested.
To defend me, I hired Joe Gonzales.
From the outset, I told him that I would not plea bargain under any circumstances.
Joe said that with the video, I had an open and shut case. I paid him $3500 for pretrial services. I soon realized that Joe was doing no work on my case. He was evasive when I asked him what my rights and protections were. He ignored me when I asked about rules and procedure. Soon after, he informed me that he would not be doing any pretrial work after all; we would have to wait for trial. At that point, he informed me, I would have to pay him $3000 before he would commence trial work. I fired him. He would not give me a full refund.
The entire time of our association, Joe Gonzales pressured me to plea bargain.
I ended up representing myself. I learned about probable cause, habeas corpus and criminal rules of procedure, which, as it turns out, no one was following. It took two years, but I successfully represented myself. No plea bargain, no trial, just a whispered hearing in a courtroom packed with other defendants straining to hear what was going on.
Here’s why I am sharing this with you now:
I did not know Joe Gonzales when he took my money. He had a reputation, according to his billboard (yes, it has come to that) for being a capable defense attorney.
Joe Gonzales did not know me. He is a rich man. He had no need to steal from me, to deny me representation, to serve me up to a hostile court under FBI investigation for public corruption. Outside of external influences, Joe Gonzales had no personal reason to help corrupt police and judges victimize me.
So why did he? On whose behalf did Joe Gonzales abdicate his professional responsibility and why? What was the benefit? I asked myself that question many times during the malicious prosecution.
When he announced that he was running for district attorney, I felt the mystery dissolve.