Constable Lara won’t face criminal charge, for now
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
PRESIDIO COUNTY – Presidio County Constable Juan Lara of Marfa won’t face a felony theft of a vehicle charge, his attorney said Friday.
Lara was arrested in November 2011 for allegedly obtaining the title of a vehicle improperly.
“Juan had been arrested, but never charged or indicted for that purported theft,” his attorney, Kirk Meade of Alpine, said, adding that Lara never had a court appearance.
Meade said District Attorney Jesse Gonzales Jr. informed him that his office has declined to prosecute Lara for now.
Meade said that a reason was not given but that in his opinion, there was insufficient evidence to prove wrongdoing.
Marfa and Fort Davis attorney Roy Ferguson is co-counsel. He also is the Democratic candidate for state district judge for the 394th judicial district in the November general election.
Gonzales said this week the case against Lara was simply not “grand jury ready” and that he would be retuning the case to the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office for further investigation.
“I feel relieved,” Lara said Friday. “They didn’t have a case in the first place. I don’t know if it was political, but faith in God and good lawyers like Roy Ferguson and Kirk Meade, and a lot of patience,” got him through the ordeal.
Lara is the incumbent candidate in a runoff election on Tuesday on the Democratic ticket.
Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez, whose department arrested Lara on the charge, said Friday that his department will resubmit the case to the new district attorney.
Gonzales was defeated at the polls in May and will leave his office in January 2013.
“It’s not closed,” Dominguez said of the case.
Gonzales added that his office has to look at the case in terms of how to present it to a jury. “You can’t be lackadaisical with how you pursue it. Sometimes we’ll go to the grand jury and we’ll be asked to look for more information,” Gonzales said speaking generally about cases. He did say that if evidence were to arise, he could always take the case to the grand jury before his term is up.
“There’s a grand jury that’s been paneled already. There’s nothing keeping it from going to grand jury,” Gonzales added, saying that loose ends, small as they may be, must be tied before presenting a case before the grand jury.
Lara, for now, said he’s glad to get the case behind him.
“I thank God that it’s all over and let’s go on with life,” Lara said. “And let’s win this runoff.”
Lara’s opponent is Estevan “Steve” Marquez, a Presidio County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher and 911 operator.
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