'69 Bill Made Carrillo a Judge
Austin, Tex. (AP) - The legislature gave and the legislature took away.
O. P. Carrillo of Benavides, Duval County, was a judge by virtue of a bill that was passed almost laughingly by the 1969 legislature, creating a new court especially for him.
The Senate took him off the bench Friday when it convicted him of a scheme to take Duval County taxpayers' money through phony equipment rentals. The state's first impeachment trial in 45 years ended with a further vote to disqualify Carrillo from ever again holding public office in Texas.
Carrillo's lawyer, Arthur Mitchell of Austin, said the former baron in the Duchy of Duval will fight to regain his position.
Mitchell asserted late Friday afternoon that Carrillo, 51, had been deprived of his judgeship without due process of law as guaranteed by the U. S. Constitution. He said Carrillo had accepted his advice to try to hang on to the position and force Atty. Gen. John Hill to go to court to enforce the Senate's action.
But Leon Jaworski, the former Watergate prosecutor who served as the Senate's unpaid legal advisor, told reporters he doubted there was any real avenue of appeal from an impeachment.
"Some type of action in a federal court, maybe, but I doubt any judge would accept one." Jaworski said.
The House that impeached Carrillo and the Senate that convicted him included a number of members who voted in 1969 for the bill creating the 229th District Court of Duval, Star, and Jim Hogg Counties.
Carrillo's brother, Oscar, then a representative, pushed hard for the bill. Sen. Wayne Connally of Floresville sponsored it in the Senate. It was widely known that O. P., then County Attorney, had been handpicked by the George Parr machine to become the new district' s judge. Carrillo was elected in 1970...
Sen. Jack Ogg, D-Houston, voted to convict Carrillo and said he regretted voting for the bill as a House member in 1969. He said he would have opposed it had he recalled that Carrillo was a co-defendant with George Parr and several others in a federal mail fraud case in the 1950s.
Carrillo was convicted then on one count, but the U. S. Supreme Court reversed all convictions. It said that while it appeared there was a plan to steal from the Benavides Independent School District, there was no actual violation of the federal mail fraud statute.
It is interesting that the alleged scheme in that case bears similarity to that of which Carrillo was convicted by the senate.
School district records allegedly were falsified to show that checks were issued to pay for services or materials that never were received. The Senate convicted Carrillo of taking part in a conspiracy to have Duval County, the school district, and the water district pay rent on items that were not received or used. The money allegedly passed through Benavides Implement & Hardware or the Zertuche General Store to the judge and members of his family...