CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez responded this week to a motion asking for him, and his office, to be disqualified from all felony cases related to DPS trooper Marco Everett.
In the document filed last month, and amended last week, Defense Attorney Eric Perkins called into question First Assistant DA Angelica Hernandez' investigation of Everett and alleged a conflict of interest with the case.
In the response filed by Gonzalez, he says the indictment was filed over a year ago with no objection raised prior.
He also says that the office of the district attorney is constitutionally protected, and the court does not have the authority to remove the office. Gonzalez adds, "Prosecutors are still subject to the Rules of Professional Responsibility, but they must police themselves at the trial court level because of their status as independent members of the judicial branch of government."
In the motion filed by Perkins, he writes, "Angelica Hernandez has demonstrated time and again that she cannot and will not recognize a conflict of interest," noting the 6 Investigates story in which Fallon Wood was allegedly allowed access to the DA's file on Joseph Tejeda.
In that case — the capital murder trial of Joseph Tejeda — the DA's office recused itself from that case and all others related to the murder of Breanna Wood. The Texas Attorney General's Office has now taken over the prosecution of the three remaining cases.
In the response, Gonzalez says that Wood was allowed access to the file, but one of Tejeda's defense attorneys knew.
The case was never compromised. Additionally, Angelica Hernandez specifically disclosed to the defense attorney for Joseph Tejeda, Deanne Torres Miller, that the victim's mother would be reviewing the file at the office of the District Attorney. There was full disclosure to defense counsel at the time the file was reviewed and there was no objection. Nothing was hidden or covert.
In the motion, Gonzalez also says Wood was never allowed to take a file home. KRIS 6 News verified copies of two CDs containing interviews with Christopher Gonzalez, one of several defendants that took a plea in this case.
In an interview with 6 Investigates with Tejeda's primary attorney, Fred Jimenez, in March, we showed Jimenez copies of those video interviews.
"I would think that, that's borderline," Jimenez said in March. "Not borderline, I would think that that's unethical."
The Texas State Attorney General's Office took over prosecution of the cases just two days after the original 6 Investigates story aired.
An assistant attorney general asked for two weeks to a month to review evidence in the Joseph Tejeda case because the AG’s office had just received the evidence and needed to sort through it to determine if more investigation was needed.
Visiting judge Manuel J. Banales granted the time and the next status hearing for June 17.