April 5th, 2018

Nieto denied motion to reside in Presidio; trial delayed until October

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

PRESIDIO –U.S. Magistrate Judge David Fannin last week denied parts of a motion filed by former Presidio school board member and city special projects coordinator Carlos Nieto’s El Paso-based attorney Joe Spencer, while allowing some of the modifications to the conditions of release that were requested.

 

The allowance of Nieto, who resides in El Paso due to a court order, to return to Presidio full-time – the major point of the motion – was denied on March 28, according to Western District of Texas court documents.  Spencer had requested the modification to the bond conditions citing financial and familial strain, as Nieto has been ordered to live away from his Presidio home away from his family.  “I was surprised [by the denial]. It’s disappointing that [Nieto] is not allowed to go to his own home,” Spencer told the Presidio International/Big Bend Sentinel. “He should be allowed to the place he’s lived all his life. There’s a big disparity between him and codefendant [Lorenzo] Hernandez, who gets to live in Presidio.”

 

Nieto and Hernandez are charged with bribery. Though Judge Fannin’s order denied Nieto the right to move back to his home town, the judge did grant modifications to Nieto’s bond arrangement, removing an electronic GPS monitor and allowing the former Presidio school board member to return to Presidio for Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

 

As part of the conditions of bond, Nieto is allowed to go to the city on weekends and federal holidays.  Presidio Mayor John Ferguson said he attended the release modification hearing but wasn’t called to the stand.  He said he wanted to tell the judge that he believed Nieto would try and influence the outcome of two May county runoff elections, one to replace Hernandez, and his runoff election with county judge Cinderela Guevara if Nieto is allowed to return to Presidio full time.  “I want this election to be fair. He shouldn’t be in our community. Let’s not have these elections under the shadow of Nieto.”

 

Former Presidio County Judge Paul Hunt testified on Nieto’s behalf.  Fannin also released an order resetting docket call for Nieto and Hernandez for 11am on Thursday, May 10 in Pecos.

A subsequent order from U.S. District Judge David Counts was also released Tuesday, amending a previous order to reschedule Nieto and Hernandez’s jury trial at the request of the defendants.

Last week, it was announced that the trial would be delayed until June 19.  The latest order states the trial will not take place until Tuesday, October 16. A venue for the trial has yet to be approved by the court.

 

“Right now, we’re just looking forward to resolving the issue,” Spencer said.