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Legal Ethics

Jury Convicts Texas Judge on 2 Counts of Official Oppression, for Sentencing Teen Truants to Jail

Posted Mar 11, 2011 9:04 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A jury today found a Texas judge guilty on two of three counts of official oppression, for sending teens to jail on legally dubious grounds.

Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Palacios will now be sentenced at a later date, reports KRGV. She could get as much as a year and a day in jail.

At issue in the underlying cases was whether Palacios abused her authority by sending teen truants to jail for not paying fines, without informing them of their right to an attorney or alternatives such as community service and payment plans, explains the Monitor.

Palacios didn't comment after the verdict in the Hidalgo County case, reports another Monitor article.

Her lawyer expressed disappointment but says they respect the jury 's verdict and will move forward, according to the coverage. He says they will wait to see what her sentence is before deciding whether to appeal the misdemeanor convictions.

Palacios previously blamed Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra for what she termed a politically motivated case, calling him a “tyrant” and a “bully."

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