One of our clients got some justice today: The Guadalupe County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed its Aggravated Assault case against Ernesto Garcia, one of four former Texas Lutheran University football players accused of assaulting a Incarnate Word University football player, Ty Warnasch, at an off-campus Halloween Party in Seguin, Texas, in October of 2009. Ernesto Garcia’s cases was dismissed, on a motion by the State, due to insufficient evidence, at a pretrial hearing held on March 9, 2011.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in Ernesto’s case on March 14th. Following an arrest by the Seguin Police Department in December of 2009 for Aggravated Assault, which was widely reported by local media in the San Antonio area, Ernesto entered a plea of “not guilty” and maintained his innocence throughout the subsequent proceedings. While the case was pending,

Ernesto went on to complete his education at TLU, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in December of 2010. Although we don’t think a charge should have ever been filed at all, we are grateful to the District Attorney’s Office for recognizing that this charge needed to be dismissed. I am glad that the justice system worked for Ernesto. I am happy that this young man will be able to get on with his life. Of the other three co-defendants, all originally charged with Aggravated Assault, two have plead to misdemeanor Assault charges, and one other, still facing an Aggravated Assault charge, is scheduled for a jury trial later this year.

TLU (Texas Lutheran University) Arrest

The recent arrest of four Texas Lutheran University football players for Aggravated Assault over the weekend was all over the local news, not only here in Guadalupe County, but throughout the San Antonio area.  And every time I saw a news account on TV, or read one in the newspaper, it seemed like I got to see the Seguin Police Department patting itself on the back for conducting such a thorough and painstaking investigation.  

Some thoughts: 1.     If they wanted to be thorough in preparing the case, why so quick to make arrests?  They didn't choose to arrest anyone on October 31st, when the incident was supposed to have happened.  And the cops weren't legally required to arrest anyone now.  If the police wanted to, they simply could have forwarded any evidence collected to the District Attorney's Office, where the prosecutors who would actually be responsible for handling the cases could review the evidence, collect additional evidence if necessary, and make charging decisions before requesting arrests warrants.  This is done routinely.  By all accounts, there were over 100 people at the party at which the incident took place and possibly more than 4 people involved in the incident.  It's possible that a prosecutor reviewing the evidence could have reached different charging decisions than the Seguin P.D.  Why the rush?

2.     Am I the only one who thought that the timing of the arrests was curiously and coincidentally timed to coincide with the end of the semester at TLU?  Looking at it from a distance, the timing of the arrests looks more like "making it look like we're getting something done" than careful and deliberate law enforcement.

This should be interesting.  Stay tuned.