You remember the story of Cinderella, who went to the ball with the handsome prince, but at midnight, her carriage turned back into a pumpkin?
Well, this is a story of a pumpkin that turned into a carriage -- only in this case, the carriage was really a paddy wagon going straight to prison.
Abel Limas used to be district court judge in the 404th District Court in Cameron County in the Rio Grande Valley. He served from 2000 to 2008, when he lost a re-election bid.
And Judge Limas had the pumpkins -- in Spanish, "calabazas." Court records show that was the code word his friends and family used to tip off the judge that some bribe money was coming, the Brownsville Herald reported. The judge has admitted taking the bribes in exchange for judicial favors.
The Herald recounted these transactions:
- $325,000 from a person identified in court records only as "Person A" and "Person C" for "favorable judicial rulings, transfer of cases and other matters"
- $8,000 from Person C
- "$4,500 from Person D for an ad-litem appointment and $5,000 for denying a motion for a sanction and other judicial acts"
- "$600 in 2007 to continue and then terminate a probation revocation"
- "$700 in 2008 to change the terms of a defendant’s appearance bond"
- $1,500 that may have been to "change the terms of probation for a defendant to allow him to report to his probation officer by mail rather than in person."
That adds up to more than $340,000.
The judge now faces 10 years to life when he is sentenced July 5.
But the after-effects of his racketeering case are still trickling out, according to KGBT-Channel 4. It's today's featured video on the Texas Watchdog home page.
From reporter KGBT Jonathan Weant:
The Cameron County District Attorney's office told Action 4 News they are reviewing two criminal cases to see if the defendants knew about the illegal activity.
"If it is found that they did participate, we will be moving to revoke their cases and have them sent to penitentiary” said Sam Smith with the district attorney's office.
And for those guys, whoever they are, that's a carriage turning back into a pumpkin.
Seen a good video? Texas Watchdog is always trolling for clips on Texas government and politics, government accountability and transparency or watchdog journalism. Shoot a note to email@example.com.
Photo: Charlie Brown, Linus Van Pelt and Snoopy in artwork for the 1966 television special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."