Judge disqualifies attorney in Sheriff Eric Garza case

Judge Gloria Rincones, of the 445th state District Court, has signed an order disqualifying an attorney with Cameron County Commissioners Legal Team from representing the county in a lawsuit against Sheriff Eric Garza.

Rincones signed the order against Juan A. Gonzalez on Monday. It was presented to her on Friday at hearing on the case.

The judge ruled that Gonzalez could not represent Garza and Cameron County Commissioners Court at the same time.

“The Court finds that the former matter in which JUAN A. GONZALEZ represented and/or provided legal guidance to the Cameron County Sheriff Garza is substantially related to the present mattes, in that it directly relates to matters before this court. Further, the Court finds that JUAN A. GONZALEZ is disqualified due to a conflict arising with a former client.”

Garza stated in a media release, “The ruling vindicates our position, that Mr. Juan A. Gonzalez was conflicted from participating in the litigation, as he is a material witness.”

The Brownsville Herald has reached to the Cameron County Legal Division for comment.

According to court documents, Gonzalez had been advising Garza back in March regarding the operations of the sheriff’s department. He had been advising Garza on several legal matters until April 13, when Cameron County Commissioners held a meeting in executive session with Gonzalez present, and at the time authorized the Civil Legal Division to file a lawsuit against Garza.

The argument states that in almost every relevant event Gonzalez played a central role both as “legal counsel of Sheriff Garza and as a county employee.”

“In addition, by purporting to represent Sheriff Garza, while simultaneously preparing to file a suit against him, Juan Gonzalez has violated multiple rules of disciplinary conduct and has made himself a necessary witness in this action.”

Documents stated that on May 19, the Cameron County Legal Division in an email acknowledged and confirmed their conflict of interest in a matter relating to the sheriff’s department and that an additional counsel would be needed.

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