Tuesday, January 10, 2006

District Clerk Omar Guerrero awaits hearing in case

January 09,2006 Victoria Hirschberg The Monitor
EDINBURG — It could be weeks before Hidalgo County District Clerk Omar Guerrero enters a courtroom following his November arrest for driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana.

The case is currently under review in District Attorney Rene Guerra’s office and has not been assigned to a court yet.

Guerra said he will wait for a chemical analysis of the substance McAllen police officers found in Guerrero’s vehicle, which is registered to the district clerk’s father.

Guerrero, 28, was arrested the morning of Nov. 30, when officers said he showed up disoriented at a crime scene they were working, with bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The elected official refused a blood test, citing his beliefs in the ancient African religion Ifa.

Guerrero is seeking his second term and faces Laura Hinojosa and Robert Mendoza in the March 7 Democratic Primary.

His attorney, Al Alvarez, said it is unlikely Guerrero will even have a hearing before early voting begins Feb. 20, in seven weeks.

"It’s in a pile with a whole bunch of other piles and they don’t get to it until 90 days," said Alvarez, who has represented numerous public officials. "The problem is my client doesn’t want to be treated differently than anybody else."

Alvarez said he would have asked for the district attorney’s office to consider the case early, but Guerrero said no.

"He said let it run its normal course," Alvarez said.
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Victoria Hirschberg covers Hidalgo County government and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4466.
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