County Attorney Press Releases

Wednesday Is The Last Day To Pay And Avoid Publication Of Name In The Hot Check Warrant List

 

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today reminded hot check writers that tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28, 2012 is the last day to pay to avoid the publication of their names and addresses in the hot check warrant list.

The list with the names of individuals with outstanding warrants will be published on Sunday April 1, 2012, by the Diario de El Paso newspaper, the El Paso County website (http://www.epcounty.com/), and on other local media outlets.

The publication of the warrants list kicks-off a two-week amnesty period that runs from Sunday April 1st to Friday April 13, 2012.

Individuals who take advantage of the amnesty period and pay their outstanding balances before Friday, April 13, 2012, will avoid arrest during an upcoming county-wide warrant roundup that will be conducted by investigators of the El Paso County Attorney's Office, the Sheriff's Office, and Constables from Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Individuals who pay before the end of the amnesty period will not have to pay the extra fees related to incarceration such as court costs, attorney fees, and the cost of posting a bond.

Residents with outstanding hot check warrants can make their payments in person at the following locations:

·         El Paso County Courthouse

500 E. San Antonio, room 503

M- F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

·         El Paso County Ysleta Annex

9521 Socorro Rd., Suite A-3

M - F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Additionally, during the amnesty period (April 1-13, 2012), residents of Northeast El Paso can make their payments in person at the following location:

·         El Paso County Attorney’s Northeast Annex Office

4641 Cohen St., Suite D

M- F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

Forms of payment accepted include credit cards, money orders, cashier checks, and cash; however, those paying with cash will have to bring the exact amount (cashiers cannot give change).

In addition, residents can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through "Hot Check E-pay," by visiting the El Paso County Attorney's Office web-page at https://www.epcounty.com/hotchecks/. Some individuals may be eligible for a payment plan.

For more information regarding hot check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051 or visit the El Paso County Attorney's Office web site at: www.epcounty.com/CA.

Since March 14, 2012, when the roundups were announced, more than 60 individuals have taken advantage of the amnesty program, paying off 164 checks worth more than $38,000.

There are currently more than 2,700 names in the County's hot checks warrants list who owe local merchants more than $2.13 million dollars. Last fiscal year (2010-2011) the Hot Check Unit collected more than $905,000 in outstanding hot checks.

# # #

2012 Hot Check Warrant List Publication 2 Press Release.pdf

2do Boletín 2012 Amnistia Publicacion Lista de Ordenes de Arresto.pdf

2012 Hot-Check Warrant Amnesty Period And Roundup Announced

Arrest roundups to follow publication of the names

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal and El Paso County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jesus Campa today announced that they will be joined by Constables from Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, in conducting a roundup of individuals with outstanding hot check warrants in El Paso County.

This cooperative effort by local law enforcement to arrest hot check writers will be preceded by the publication of the names and addresses of thousands of individuals with outstanding warrants, and an amnesty period in which residents can pay their outstanding amounts without being arrested.

The list with the names of individuals with outstanding warrants will be published on Sunday April 1, 2012 by many local media outlets and in the County's website. Individuals who want to avoid the publication of their names must pay their outstanding balances in full by Wednesday March 28, 2012.

The publication of the warrants list kicks-off a two-week amnesty period that runs from Sunday April 1st to Friday April 13, 2012.

Individuals who take advantage of the amnesty period and pay their outstanding balances before Friday, April 13, 2012, will avoid arrest during an upcoming county-wide warrant roundup. Additionally, they will not have to pay extra fees, such as court costs, attorney fees, and the cost of posting a bond.

Residents with outstanding hot check warrants can make their payments in person at the following locations:

·         El Paso County Courthouse

500 E. San Antonio, room 503

M- F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 

·         El Paso County Ysleta Annex

9521 Socorro Rd., Suite A-3

M - F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

 

Additionally, during the amnesty period (April 1-13, 2012), residents of Northeast El Paso can make their payments in person at the following location:

 

·         El Paso County Attorney’s Northeast Annex Office

4641 Cohen St., Suite D

M- F 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.

(915) 858-0631

Forms of payment accepted include credit cards, money orders, cashier checks, and cash; however, those paying with cash will have to bring the exact amount (cashiers cannot give change).

In addition, residents can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through "Hot Check E-pay," by visiting the El Paso County Attorney's Office web-page at www.epcounty.com/CA

For more information regarding hot check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051 or visit the El Paso County Attorney's Office web site at: www.epcounty.com/CA.

            There are currently more than 2,700 names in the County's hot checks warrants list who owe local merchants more than $2.13 million dollars. During last fiscal year (2010-2011) the Hot Check Unit collected more than $905,000 in outstanding hot checks. So far, during the first 5 months of fiscal year 2011-2012 (October-February), the County Attorney's Office has collected over $330,000.

            El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal is encouraging individuals with outstanding warrants for writing hot checks to take advantage of this opportunity. In order to facilitate the payment of outstanding amounts, County Attorney's Office will be accepting payment plans for qualifying individuals.

"For many years now, the County Attorney's Office has been supporting local businesses by collecting their insufficient funds checks at no cost. We believe the public display of the names of individuals with warrants might serve as a deterrent for hot checks writers, and will motivate some of them to come forward to pay any outstanding amounts before they face serious consequences," Bernal said.

"Hot check writers who do not seize this opportunity will be arrested and will face criminal charges," Bernal concluded.

2012 Hot Check Warrant List Publication Press Release.pdf

Boletín 2012 Amnistia Publicacion Lista de Ordenes de Arresto.pdf

2012 Hot Check Roundup Calendar Media.pdf

Jo Anne Bernal To Be Presented With The 2012 La Mujer Obrera Award

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal has been named one of the three recipients of the 2012 "La Mujer Obrera Award" for her advocacy work to fight domestic violence in El Paso County.

The awards recognize local community leaders that fight to promote and uphold the rights of women on the border.

The 2012 honorees are:

Olivia Figueroa: Executive Director of Project AYUDA for helping San Elizario colonias residents to have access to dignified housing.

Dr. Yolanda Leyva: Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso, for her advocacy work in support of labor & human rights.

Jo Anne Bernal: El Paso County Attorney for her work to address domestic violence through prevention campaigns targeting local youth, and her support for the creation of the first "Protective Order Court" in El Paso County.

Last year the County Attorney's Office, along with the District Attorney's Office, launched the educational campaign "Don't Let Yourself." The main objective of the campaign is to reduce the incidence of dating violence among teens in El Paso County, and also educate adults about the problem of domestic violence in our community.

Since February 2011, when the campaign was unveiled, it's materials have been used to educate more than 9,500 local students and parents, and the educational videos created for the program just recently won 3 Gold Addy Awards, including the best of show award, by the Advertising Federation of El Paso.

In an effort to better serve victims of domestic violence who live in the outlying areas of the County, the County Attorney's Office has also opened two satellite offices in Ysleta and Northeast El Paso. Now victims of domestic violence do not have to travel long distances to downtown El Paso to obtain a free protective order.

The "La Mujer Obrera" awards will be presented at the annual "International Women's Day Benefit Dinner," to be held on Thursday March 8, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at Mercado Mayapán, 2101 Myrtle, El Paso, TX.

# # #

Mujer Obrera Award Press Release.pdf

El Paso County Attorney To Offer Services to Northeast Residents

On Friday, December 2, 2011, El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal will hold an Open House for its new office in Northeast El Paso.

The opening of this new office is part of a plan by County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal to provide free services at locations that are closer and more accessible to victims of crime who live in the outlying areas of the County.

WHO:       El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal

WHAT:     Grand Opening of new office in Northeast El Paso

WHEN:     Friday December 2, 2011, at 10:00 a.m.

WHERE:  El Paso County Northeast Annex

4641 Cohen St., Suite D (County Veterans Assistance Office)

NE Office Grand Opening Press Advisory.pdf

16-year-old male accused in the 2009 “pony trail murder” certified to stand trial as an adult

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal announced today that a District Court judge has certified an 18-year-old male, who was a juvenile at the time of the alleged offense, to stand trial as an adult. The teen now will face one count of Capital Murder in the adult criminal-justice system.

The teen is one of five individuals arrested in connection with the murder of 37-year-old Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galena, who was gunned down in front of his East-side home on May 15, 2009.

According to police records that night at around 10 p.m. Gonzalez-Galeana was shot at close range outside his home in the 1300 block of Pony Trail. The murder is believed to have been drug-related.   

This morning after hearing the facts of the case, 65th District Court Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez certified the juvenile to face charges in the adult criminal-justice system.  

The District Attorney's office will be presenting the case to a Grand Jury next week. If the teen is indicted, he will not be eligible for the death penalty. Under Texas law the maximum sentence a juvenile can receive in the adult criminal-justice system after certification is life in prison.    

Adult certification of a juvenile offender is reserved for the most serious criminal cases. In approving the certification the judge considers four factors:

Whether the alleged offense was against a person or property, with greater weight in favor of transfer given to offenses against the person.

  • The sophistication and maturity of the child.
  • The record and previous history of the child.
  • The prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.

In this case, the court weighed all the factors and determined that it was appropriate to certify.  

The identity of the teen cannot be disclosed at this point as he has not been indicted by a grand jury. No further information will be released.  

# # #

Pony Trail Capital Murder Press Release.pdf

4th Annual Mental Health Law Conference to explore current issues in the criminal justice system

Training will help local attorneys and case workers improve their services to individuals with mental health issues in our community

The El Paso County Public Defender's Office, along with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the University of Texas at El Paso Law School Preparation Institute, the 34th Judicial District Attorney and the El Paso County Attorney's Office will be co-sponsoring this year's Annual El Paso County Mental Health Law Conference on Friday September 30, 2011, at the University of Texas at El Paso Student Union Building East - 3rd Floor.

The conference provides an opportunity for local lawyers, case workers, and interested citizens to learn more about legal issues surrounding mental health patients.            

Participants will have the opportunity to learn from experts on a wide variety of topics, including "Dual Diagnosis and its Effect on the Criminal Justice System," and "the Untapped Power of Texas' Assisted Outpatient Treatment Law." This year's keynote speaker will be former Washington Post journalist and author Pete Earley with the topic "the crash between the criminal justice system and the mental health system." Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in the panel discussion "Ethical Considerations involving Mental Illness."

Participants will be eligible to receive 8 credit-hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE), including 1 credit-hour of Ethics.

El Paso County Attorney JoAnne Bernal said the purpose of the conference is to raise the level of the discussion with the judiciary, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, as well as health care professionals, by providing information and discussions that participants could use to improve services to individuals with mental health issues.

"By providing specialized legal training to attorneys and mental health advocates, we are contributing to improve the quality of services available to individuals with mental illnesses in our community," said El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal.

"The ultimate goal of the conference is to provide information that can be used to address more accurately the needs of mentally ill individuals who become entangled in the criminal justice system, increasing rehabilitation rates, and avoiding recidivism," Bernal concluded.

WHAT:     4th Annual El Paso County Mental Health Conference

WHEN:     Friday September 30, 2011 from 7:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

WHERE:  UTEP Student Union Building East - 3rd floor

For more information please contact Rose Pedregon at 546-2000 Ext. 3550, or email at rpedregon@epcounty.com.

2011 Mental Health Law Conference Press Release.pdf

2011 MHLCLE Agenda.pdf

16-Year Old Male Accused In The “Op Nightclub Beating” Certified To Be Charged As An Adult

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal confirmed today that a local 16-year-old male accused of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon will be charged as an adult after a District Court Judge agreed to certify him to stand trial as an adult.

The allegations stem from a May 7 incident in which 22-year-old Lionel Martinez was brutally beaten by a group of men outside the Old Plantation night club in downtown El Paso.  

According to the El Paso Police Department "the victim was outside the club waiting for a ride when a verbal confrontation began between the victim and six others males at 12:20 a.m., Saturday, May 7, 2011. The confrontation became physical with the six males punching, kicking, and eventually using a bat to hit the victim."

Mr. Martinez was transported to University Medical Center (UMC) in critical condition but has since then been released.

On Wednesday August 31, 2011, after hearing the facts of the case, 65th District Court Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez certified the juvenile to face charges in the adult criminal justice system. 

As a consequence of the certification, the juvenile will remain at the Juvenile Probation Department's (JPD) Detention Facility awaiting trial. The County Attorney's Office has transferred the case to the District Attorney's Office for prosecution, and they are expected to present the case to a grand jury next week.

Adult certification of a juvenile offender is reserved for the most serious criminal cases. In approving the certification the judge considers four factors:

  • Whether the alleged offense was against a person or property, with greater weight in favor of transfer given to offenses against the person.
  • The sophistication and maturity of the child.
  • The record and previous history of the child.
  • The prospects of adequate protection of the public and the likelihood of the rehabilitation of the child by use of procedures, services, and facilities currently available to the juvenile court.

In this case, the court weighed all the factors and determined that it was appropriate to certify. The juvenile is now subject to the full range of penalties available in adult criminal system.           

# # #

OP Beating Adult Certification Press Release.pdf

Lower Valley Ballroom Administrators Arrested For Deceptive Business Practices

Today El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal announced the arrest of two individuals accused of shutting down their party hall business without notice after taking thousands of dollars in advance payments from unsuspecting consumers.

Mission Valley Ballroom administrator Donna Cortez Flores and ballroom's manager Ricardo Espinoza were arrested today by County Attorney's investigators. Flores was arrested around 9:15 a.m. at a residence in East El Paso. Espinoza was detained at his current place of employment in central El Paso.

Police reports indicate that from September, 2008, and up until January 2011, the defendants received more than $98,000 from 36 residents who paid them in advance to hold events at the Mission Valley Ballroom scheduled for 2011. After closing the ballroom at the beginning of this year, the defendants are alleged to have failed to return the money to the victims.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal explained "a business owner who takes money in advance, receives that money in trust. If they choose to violate that trust, the law holds them accountable."

"We allege these defendants violated the law and that trust," Bernal concluded.

El Paso County Attorney's Office filed criminal charges in relation to 6 of the victims, and continues investigating the cases for the remaining 30 victims. Additional arrests are likely.

45 year-old Donna Cortez Flores faces six counts of Deceptive Business Practices, a crime of dishonesty punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. She was booked in the County jail shortly after 10:00 a.m. and her bond was set at $1,800.

45-year-old Ricardo Espinoza faces five counts of Deceptive Business Practices, and his bond was set at $2,500.

Residents who believe they might be victims of this or any other similar case, are asked to contact the Criminal Section of the County Attorney's Office, at 546-2050.

# # #

           

El Paso County Receives 2.7 Million Reimbursement From The Department Of Justice

Funds will help lessen impact of state budget cuts

El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar today announced that the Department of Justice has reimbursed $2.7 million in expenditures the County of El Paso incurred while prosecuting and incarcerating federally referred offenders during FY 2008 and 2009.

The first reimbursement, of $135,000 for cases handled during fiscal year 2008, was received on January 25, 2011. The second reimbursement, in the amount of $2.57 million for cases handled during FY 2009, arrived Monday, May 23, 2011.  All the monies have been transferred to the County's general fund.

The two payments mark the end of a multi-year dispute over billings submitted by the El Paso County to the Department of Justice under the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative (SWBPI) during fiscal years 2001 through 2006.

Additionally, last week the County of El Paso submitted bills in the amount of $1.06 million, for cases handled during FY 2010.

The resolution clears the way for El Paso County to remain eligible to receive future federal reimbursements for prosecuting and jailing federally referred offenders. This agreement also guarantees federal law enforcement agents will receive the necessary assistance from local law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney's Office to process and prosecute individuals accused of criminal violations.

The push to receive reimbursement from the federal government was spearheaded by District Attorney Jaime Esparza and County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal.

"Over the past 12 months our offices have worked tirelessly to ensure that every county money eligible for reimbursement was aggressively pursued," said County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said, "Compensating border counties for the criminal justice cost they incur assisting the federal government with lower level criminal cases makes good sense. State prosecutors have the flexibility to handle these routine cases efficiently and hold all offenders accountable. An equitable partnership between federal, state, and local authorities works and is necessary to curtail the flow of illegal drugs into our community." 

El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar recognized the hard work of employees from the Auditor's Office, the District Attorney's Office, and the County Attorney's Office, who worked for several months on getting the Office of the Inspector General the necessary information to resolve this dispute.

"In the upcoming months the El Paso County will be facing serious financial challenges due to the budget cuts that the Texas legislature is expected to approve during its current session. These reimbursements could not have come at a better time. Commissioners Court is working very diligently to reduce expenditures and increase revenue to avoid, to the extent possible, a raise in property taxes for next fiscal year," Escobar said.

"We will make sure these monies will go long ways towards achieving that goal," Escobar concluded.

# # #

About the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative: In 2000, under the leadership of District Attorney Jaime Esparza, a coalition of border prosecutors alerted the federal government that some of the nation's poorest counties were shouldering the financial burden of accepting federally-referred cases into the criminal justice system. For many years, state prosecutors along the southwest border provided the federal government with support allowing great flexibility to prosecute lower level offenders in state court.

In 2001, the federal government created the Southwest Border Prosecution Initiative through the Bureau of Justice Assistance that reimbursed border counties for their assistance in prosecuting lower-level federally-initiated drug cases.  This reimbursement program has facilitated an efficient use of the limited resources available to prosecute crime along the border.

Federal Reimbursement Press Release.pdf

Canadian Citizen Featured On El Paso’s Most Wanted In October Sentenced For Deceptive Business

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today announced the sentencing of a Canadian citizen accused of committing Deceptive Business Practices in El Paso.

This morning, 71-year-old Gordan Gladu received a 331 day sentence after pleading guilty to two Deceptive Business Practice cases, crimes involving fraud and deceit punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000.

Between March and October, 2010, Gladu, who was doing business as G & G Services," received more than $8,000 from 2 victims to install new windows, but the windows were never delivered.

After accepting the guilty plea this morning, County Criminal Court at Law #1 Judge Alma Trejo sentenced Gladu to 300 days in jail in one case (which involved almost $8,000), and to 31 days in jail in the second case.

Shortly after appearing in Crime Stoppers of El Paso Most Wanted list on October 11, 2010, Gladu was arrested. At the time of his arrest, Gladu was on probation for Theft of Property of more than $20,000 but less than $100,000.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said this case should serve as a warning to contractors who seek to deceive the public. Bernal further advises consumers to be cautious when hiring contractors, landscapers, or other businesses that ask for money in advance, or make promises of huge savings.  

            "Mr. Gladu has a long criminal history and continued to cheat consumers even after being placed on probation. Consumers need to remember that if they pay for work in advance it is very difficult to get their hard-earned money back if the work is never delivered," Bernal said.

# # #

Most Wanted Sentencing Press Release.pdf

Dozens Of Hot Check Writers Arrested During 3-Day Roundup

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today announced the arrest of 54 individuals with hot check warrants during a 3-day roundup that ended Thursday night. Thirty officers from the El Paso Sheriff's Office, County Constables Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, and investigators from the County Attorney's Office participated in the operation.

During the round ups the officers not only cleared 50 Theft by Check warrants, but also 50 additional misdemeanor warrants and 4 felony warrants.

Among those facing multiple charges was 40-year old Salvador Morales (AKA Salvador Muñoz) who was arrested on Wednesday March 9, 2011, at a residence in East El Paso. At the time of his arrest Morales, a suspected Barrio Azteca gang member, faced one misdemeanor theft by check charge and one Deceptive Business Practices charge. While booking him in the county jail, officers learned that Morales had an outstanding warrant from the State of Nevada, where he faces drug charges for trafficking with methamphetamines. Morales remains in the County jail waiting to be extradited to Nevada and his bond was set at $10,000.

  Individuals arrested during the roundup also paid more than $36,000 in restitution to local merchants. That amount, along with the $140,000 collected since the beginning of the amnesty period on January 28, 2011, brings the total collections for the amnesty program to more than $177,000.

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said the money collected will be returned to the victims.

"We will continue to aggressively pursue those persons with outstanding hot check warrants. I encourage those persons to pay," Bernal said

"I want to thank the El Paso Sheriff's Office for their support in organizing the round ups, particularly Sergeant John Rodriguez from the Warrants Division. Also I would like to thank the Constables from Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 and their deputies, who helped make this hot check round up the most successful yet," Bernal concluded.

            In the upcoming weeks investigators from the County Attorney's Office will continue their search for individuals with outstanding arrest warrants.

            Individuals can avoid arrest by paying their outstanding hot checks as soon as possible at the following locations:

El Paso County Courthouse

500 E. San Antonio, room 503

M- F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

El Paso County Ysleta Annex

9521 Socorro Rd., Suite A-3

M - F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Forms of payment accepted include credit cards, money orders, cashier checks, and cash; however, those paying with cash will have to bring the exact amount.

In addition, individuals can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through "Hot Check E-pay," by visiting the El Paso County Attorney's Office web-page at www.epcounty.com/CA

For more information regarding hot check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051.

# # #

2011 Hot Check Roundup Results Press Release.pdf

Amnesty Period Ends Today With 445 Offenders Paying More Than $116,000 in Hot Checks

Arrest roundups may begin unannounced immediately after

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today announced that 445 individuals took advantage of the 2011 Hot Check Amnesty. Since January 28, 2011, when the amnesty was announced, County Attorney's Office received payment of 517 hot checks that represent more than $116,500 for local merchants. During the amnesty period, persons who paid their outstanding balances avoided payment of various charges, such as court costs, attorney fees, and the cost of posting a bond after arrest.

Individuals who did not take advantage of the amnesty period will be targeted during upcoming county-wide warrant round-ups being coordinated by the County Attorney's Office with the assistance of the El Paso Sheriff's Office, and Constables from Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Individuals with outstanding hot-checks may attempt to avoid arrest in the upcoming roundups by paying as soon as possible. However, the amnesty period is over, and law enforcement officers can conduct arrests at any time without prior notice. Payments can be made at the following locations:

  • El Paso County Courthouse

500 E. San Antonio, room 503

M- F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • El Paso County Ysleta Annex

9521 Socorro Rd., Suite A-3

M - F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Forms of payment accepted include credit cards, money orders, cashier checks, and cash; however, those paying with cash will have to bring the exact amount (cashiers cannot give change).

In addition, residents can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through "Hot Check E-pay," by visiting the El Paso County Attorney's Office web-page at www.epcounty.com/CA

The list with the names of individuals and outstanding amounts will remain posted at the El Paso County Attorney's Office web page at www.epcounty.com/CA.

For more information regarding hot check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051.

During last fiscal year (2009-2010) the Hot Check Unit collected more than $930,000 in outstanding hot checks. So far, during the first 5 months of fiscal year 2010-2011 (October-February), the County Attorney's Office has collected over $392,000.

# # #

2011 Hot Check Amnesty Ends.pdf

Hundreds Of Residents Take Advantage Of The Hot Check Amnesty Period

 

Few hours left to take advantage of the amnesty. Arrest roundups may begin immediately after

El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal today revealed that more than 340 individuals have taken advantage of the hot check amnesty period since its implementation on January 28, 2011. During the first 27 days of the amnesty period the County Attorney's Office has received payment of 393 hot checks that represent more than $107,000 for local merchants.            

Bernal also reminded hot check writers with outstanding arrest warrants that the amnesty period ends tomorrow Friday February 25, 2011, at 5:00 p.m.

Individuals who take advantage of the amnesty period and pay their outstanding balances before the end of the amnesty period will avoid arrest during an upcoming countywide warrant round-up being coordinated by the County Attorney's Office with the assistance of the El Paso Sheriff's Office and Constables from Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. Additionally, those individuals who pay by the amnesty period will also avoid additional fees such as court costs, attorney fees, and the cost of posting a bond.

A list with the names and addresses of more than 3,000 individuals with outstanding hot check warrants who owe local merchants more than 2.7 million dollars was made public on February 13, 2011 and remains posted at the El Paso County's main webpage at (http://www.epcounty.com/). Additionally, several local media outlets have posted the Hot Check Warrant List on their web-sites to make it easier for the public to access the information.

Residents with outstanding hot check warrants can make their payments in person at the following locations:

El Paso County Courthouse

500 E. San Antonio, room 503

M- F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

El Paso County Ysleta Annex

9521 Socorro Rd., Suite A-3

M - F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Forms of payment accepted include credit cards, money orders, cashier checks, and cash; however, those paying with cash will have to bring the exact amount (cashiers cannot give change).

In addition, residents can make payments online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through "Hot Check E-pay," by visiting the El Paso County Attorney's Office web-page at www.epcounty.com/CA

For more information regarding hot check payments and balances please contact the El Paso County Attorney's Office Hot Check Unit at 546-2051 or visit the El Paso County Attorney's Office web site at: www.epcounty.com/CA.

In addition, for the first time the County Attorney's Office will be accepting payment plans for qualifying individuals in order to facilitate the payment of outstanding amounts.

During last fiscal year (2009-2010) the Hot Check Unit collected more than $930,000 dollars in outstanding hot checks. So far, during the first 5 months of fiscal year 2010-2011 (October-February), the County Attorney's Office has collected over $383,000.

# # #

2011 Hot Check Amnesty Last Day.pdf

Ribbon Cutting And Swearing In Ceremony Of First Family Violence Court

This morning 65th District Court Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Family Violence Court, also known as the "Protective Order Court." Some of the participants in the ceremony included County Commissioner Precinct 1 Anna Perez, El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal, Philip Mullin from the Family Bar Association, and Stephanie Karr, Director of the Center Against Family Violence.

During the ceremony, Michelle Little Locke was also sworn-in as the new Associate Family Court Judge and will be presiding over this new court.

El Paso's first "Protective Order Court" is dedicated exclusively to deal with victims of domestic violence and was made possible thanks to a $93,000 grant Judge Gutierrez received from the Office of the Governor of Texas. El Paso County Commissioners Court approved the creation of the new court on January 10, 2011 by authorizing the use of a special family violence fund to help pay for the salary of the new judge.

The idea behind "Protective Order Courts" is to provide a one stop venue for all issues involving the family during the duration of the protective order, including child support, custody of children and visitation issues. The new court will allow for the consolidation of a majority of the protective order caseload by transferring most of the cases to the new court.

The "Protective Order Court" will operate under the supervision of the 65th District Court,  and will allow victims of domestic violence to have expedited access to the court system on their application for protective orders. This consolidated approach will also allow for a more efficient supervision of all protective order cases, while permitting the other family courts to dedicate more time to other types of family cases.

65th District Court Yahara Lisa Gutierrez said this new Protective Order Court is a giant step forward in helping the victims of domestic violence in El Paso County.

"I am grateful for the support of the Commissioners Court and the Governor's Office. There must be recognition by the community that no amount of violence is acceptable in El Paso," said Judge Gutierrez.

# # #

New Protective Order Court Ribbon Cutting Press Release.pdf

Procuradora Del Condado Y Fiscal De Distrito Anuncian Iniciativa Para Combatir La Violencia Doméstica Y En El Noviazgo

Incluye videos, materiales y presentaciones disponibles para todas las escuelas de nivel bachillerato ("high schools")

Hoy viernes 11 de Febrero del 2011, la Procuradora del Condado de El Paso Jo Anne Bernal y el Fiscal de Distrito Jaime Esparza anunciaron una nueva iniciativa conjunta para reducir la violencia doméstica y en el noviazgo dentro del condado.

La campaña "¡No Te Dejes! Don't Let Yourself," fue creada gracias a una beca de $80,000 otorgada por el Departamento de Justicia Criminal de la Oficina del Gobernador de Texas Rick Perry.

Esta iniciativa incluye la producción de videos que reflejan la cultura y situaciones de la vida fronteriza, y que van dirigidos a estudiantes de bachillerato ("high school") y padres de familia. Los videos, creados por la compañía productora local "MindWarp Entertainment," serán utilizados junto con materiales educativos que abarcan temas como la violencia doméstica y el abuso juvenil durante el noviazgo. Talleres didácticos que incluyen exhibiciones publicas de los videos serán impartidas por empleados de ambas dependencias públicas a estudiantes, directivos escolares, padres de familia y grupos comunitarios del condado de El Paso.

La primer dramatización tiene una duración de 16 minutos y describe las experiencias que sufre una adolescente víctima del abuso en el noviazgo, tales como la intimidación, el aislamiento y la violencia física que ejerce el abusador sobre ella para controlarla.

El segundo video, creado en inglés y en español, describe situaciones que se presentan en casos de violencia domestica entre adultos, tales como la coerción económica y el abuso sexual, la utilización de los hijos como herramienta de manipulación, y la explotación de la situación migratoria para controlar las víctimas.

Esta iniciativa es única porque todos los materiales reflejan la cultura y situaciones que son específicas de El Paso y de otras comunidades a lo largo de la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México. Al tratarse de materiales que reflejan la cultura local, se logra una mejor conexión emocional con el público, por lo que el mensaje resulta más efectivo. Hasta el momento estudiantes que han tenido la oportunidad de ver anticipadamente el video sobre violencia en el noviazgo han respondido muy positivamente al mensaje.

La iniciativa también incluye la creación de una página de Internet interactiva, y materiales didácticos que discuten las dinámicas de la violencia doméstica y del abuso en el noviazgo, prevención del problema, así como  una explicación de cómo y dónde buscar ayuda en el condado de El Paso. Otros de los tópicos que se incluyen son el acceso a la protección policiaca, el uso de las órdenes de protección, y la disponibilidad de refugios y servicios de consejería.

Personal de ambas oficinas ofrecerán presentaciones a todas las escuelas locales que lo soliciten. Las presentaciones ayudarán a que los distritos escolares cumplan con una ley estatal aprobada en Mayo del 2007 que los obliga a implementar programas de prevención de la violencia en el noviazgo.

Al comentar sobre la importancia del proyecto, el Fiscal de Distrito Jaime Esparza explicó:

"Esta iniciativa detonará conversaciones sobre el daño que causa la violencia intrafamiliar en nuestra comunidad. Esperamos ayudar igualmente a adultos y jóvenes a reconocer las señales de alerta de una relación abusiva, y proveerles información sobre cómo pueden recibir ayuda si se encuentran en esa situación, o si son victimas de la violencia domestica," dijo Esparza.

Por su parte la Procuradora del Condado Jo Anne Bernal dijo que "esta iniciativa es única porque es la primera vez que dos agencias judiciales en el Condado de El Paso se unen para crear un programa contra la violencia domestica que busca procurar justicia educando, disuadiendo, y previniendo la violencia familiar antes de que exista la necesidad de una intervención policiaca."

Las Oficinas del Fiscal de Distrito y de la Procuradora del Condado comenzarán a programar presentaciones con los distritos escolares locales a partir del 1ero de Marzo. La página de Internet interactiva comenzará a funcionar en esa misma fecha.

# # #

Boletín Iniciativa No Te Dejes.pdf

More Posts « Previous page - Next page »