Texas Judge Ruben Gonzalez, Who Jailed Crystal Mason For Voting, Has Conflict Of Interest
Texas State Court Judge Ruben Gonzalez is in the headlines for what has to be one of the most ridiculous and apparently racially-motivated sentencings in history. 43-year-old Crystal Mason was sentenced to five-years in jail by Judge Gonzalez, on Thursday. Why? For casting a vote in the 2016 Presidential Election while she was under what’s called “community supervision”.
Ms. Mason was in the status of being under “community supervision” after being released from serving three years in jail for Federal tax fraud. She said she had no idea that she could not vote in Texas while under the watch of a probation officer. She said no one, not even her probation officer, told her that voting was not legal.
Judge Gonzalez could have easily ended her suffering by just placing her on probation without jail time. Instead, the Republican judge who’s up for re-election this November, elected to send her back to jail, and for more years than she was in jail for a truly bad offense in tax fraud: five years. Just what kind of judge would make such a decision? Well, one that, himself, is operating under a conflict of interest.
According to Judge Gonzalez’ own website at www.judgegonzalez.com, he is the co-founder and shareholer of a firm called “Defend One Security Company”. The website’s left middle-section sidebar reads “Security and Investigations. Co-founder and shareholder of a private security company providing armed and unarmed guard services to Fort Worth, Texas, area businesses. Clients also retain the company to conduct private investigations into alleged criminal activities to aid law enforcement authorities, employee theft, background checks, and employment law related issues.”
So, what Judge Gonzalez is telling the World in his own words is that, as judge, he can take a case, and then give his business partners in “Defend One Security Company” information about that case, which they could then use to gain new business. Let’s say Judge Gonzalez took on an alleged robbery case. He could suggest to the victim that that person or persons should hire Defend One Security Company. Of course, Judge Gonzalez would not tell the potential client he was co-founder and shareholder – unless he was trying to intimidate the victim into securing the services of Defend One Security Company.
Moreover, Judge Gonzalez may very well induce Tarrant County to hire “Defend One Security Company” to get involved in a legal case. That’s another example of a potential conflict of interest, and all because the Judge openly touts his ownership in a firm that can get direct profit from cases he’s presiding over. Not right. Not cool.
What I just presented is a very real scenario of how Judge Gonzalez’ conflict of interest would work. This is not allowed by Chapter 171 of the Texas Local Government Code, and specifically Chapter 171.002: SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST IN BUSINESS ENTITY. Moreover, Chapter 171 allows a public official to sit on a non-profit business, but not a for-profit company. The best way for Judge Gonzalez to avoid running afowl of Chapter 171 of the Texas Local Government Code is to not own or co-own “Defend One Security Company”. Instead, he does, and he throws this obvious conflict of interest in the face of the public.
If you are a Texas resident, you can file a complaint against Judge Gonzalez at the Texas Ethics Commission website link here: https://ift.tt/2uFANmW
For more information on ownership of a business entity and how it appies to Texas Conflict of Interest Law Chapter 171, visit this link: https://ift.tt/2GMwXxc