El Paso DA ponders dropping judge's nepotism case

AP News
Posted: May 12, 2011 6:22 PM
El Paso DA ponders dropping judge's nepotism case

Prosecutors in West Texas are considering dropping a corruption case against a state judge already serving prison time for a bribery scandal that involved taking money and requesting sexual favors.

The El Paso County district attorney's office said Thursday it's reviewing the case against former state District Judge Manuel Barraza, one day after state District Judge Regina Arditti's acquittal in a related case alleging nepotism between the judges.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza says he expects to decide next week how, or if, he will proceed in Barraza's case.

Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to prove that by hiring each other's relatives, Arditti and Barraza had an unlawful agreement to circumvent a law that prohibits public officials from hiring their own family. Arditti, who was suspended, expects to return to the bench soon.