Local News

Aug 20, 2014 7:17 PM by Bart Bedsole - bbedsole@kristv.com

David Bonilla Headed To Prison

CORPUS CHRISTI - Former attorney David Bonilla is now at the McKinzie Jail Annex and will soon head to prison after violating his probation.

Three years ago, Bonilla was convicted of Theft and Misappropriation Of Fiduciary Property, related to withholding money owed to his clients.

He avoided prison at that time, receiving only probation.

He was also disbarred, preventing him from working as an attorney.

But recent complaints to the local bar association lead members of the association to contact the District Attorney, who called on CCPD to investigate the claims.

Detectives found he had violated in probation in two ways.

According to court documents, Bonilla "admitted to a Corpus Christi Police Department detective that he consumed alcohol on June 10, 2014."

The document also states Bonilla "admitted to a Corpus Christi Police Department Detective that he practiced law on October 15, 2013."

Consuming alcohol and holding himself out as an attorney were both restrictions included in his probation terms.

At Thursday's revocation hearing, Bonilla plead true to both allegations, in exchange for three 10-year sentences that will be served concurrently.

Bonilla said nothing at the hearing about how or why he violated his probation, but 319th District Court Judge David Stith addressed him directly before dismissing him.

"We've known each other, I've known your family for a long time," said Stith, "and I don't sentence lightly, for sure, especially in a case like this. I want you to know there has been a lot of phones calls and sentiments from the community, both for and against you, but I've got to handle this case the same as how I handle any case, you understand that?"

Bonilla answered yes.

It's not clear exactly how much time Bonilla will have to serve before he is eligible for parole.

According to a spokesman with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, an inmate only has to serve a fourth of their sentence for these particular crimes.

That would be two and a half years.

However, Bonilla can also reduce his sentence with things like good behavior and working at his correctional facility.

So if he behaves, the total prison time could be between 1-2 years.

In the meantime, he remains at the county jail annex, surrounded by all other offenders in "general population".

He is expected to remain there for a few weeks while his paperwork is finalized, and then transferred to an unspecified correctional facility.

The Bonilla family declined to issue any statement after the hearing.

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