Yesterday morning, Judge Manny Alvarez of Criminal Court No. 5 in Dallas Texas swore in Edwin V. King as prosecutor for the Romelia Enriquez Court of Inquiry investigating District Attorney Jaime Esparza, his office, police officer Francisco Enriquez, her former husband and the actions of the Police Department. Judge Alvarez indicated that he was appointed by Judge Ables to convene this second court of inquiry looking into allegations of impropriety within the legal system of our community. This makes the third ongoing Court of Inquiry in our community, with the Hollebeke case being the first one and the inquiry into the Housing Authority being the second. Judge Alvarez convened the hearing at approximately 10:45 in the morning in the Ceremonial Court Room on the twelfth floor of the County Building. Alvarez began by reading the order setting the scope of the investigation. At about 10:50, Judge Alvarez swore in attorney Edwin V. King, a 25-year defense attorney in Dallas to investigate the allegations of this Court of Inquiry and present a case to Judge Alvarez in the near future. In his order, Judge Alvarez empowered Edwin King with the powers of the District Attorney for this investigation, apparently ensuring that King would have no impediment in his investigations.
Interestingly, absent from the proceedings were Interim Police Chief Wiles, the City Attorneys office and District Attorney Jaime Esparza. On the other hand, those calling for the Courts of Inquiry were present, including family members of Nancy Hollebeke who initiated the first Court of Inquiry, Romelia Enriquez the affiant of this Court of Inquiry and some of the affiants of the latest request for a Court of Inquiry, including Jesus Luna. Defiantly sitting in the back, Dean Kinder of the Police Association and one of the targets of the latest Court of Inquiry delivered to Judge Ables, witnessed the proceedings.
Judge Alvarez told those attending the proceedings that he had received a communication from Judge Ables in the morning asking him to convene a third Court of Inquiry, the one containing the latest affidavits of Soto, naming Dean Kinder, Nitsch, Luna and Soltero. Judge Alvarez read into the official record the allegations included the affidavits of these latest affiants. Kinder sat stoically throughout the reading of a summary of the Soto affidavit naming Kinder directly in allegations against him.
After the swearing in of King, Judge Alvarez ordered A. Montoya of Dallas to provide investigative services to King during the investigative period of the proceedings. Judge Manny Alvarez concluded the hearing at 11:03, informing the attendees that he will return to Dallas to continue working on his docket and return once the prosecutor, Edwin King had completed his investigations and reported to the judge. During the impromptu press conference held by Edwin King, he indicated that he would be meeting later in the day with both Wiles and Esparza. King told the press that the law allows for written testimony as well as live testimony. King indicated that most likely the bulk of the testimony would be presented in writing while the “major players” might be called to provide live testimony.
King stated, “This is not a full blown investigation of the Police Department”, rather, basically he is here to “investigate those five cases” that are part of the scope and “how they were handled” by the police and the District Attorneys office. Asked what the next step was after his investigation, King stated that he would present a case for Judge Alvarez. According to King, Judge Alvarez would then have the option to either indict one or more individuals or conclude the Court of Inquiry. If an individual is indicted, then the process would go through a criminal proceeding, otherwise should the judge not indict anyone the process would end. There would be no appeal, according to King.
Judge Alvarez’ statement that he would look into each of the pending five affidavits individually seems to indicate that seven investigations into the actions of the District Attorney and the Police Department would eventually be conducted by this court, meaning that a total of six investigations are currently ongoing against these parties, including the Hollebeke case. Unfortunately for Jaime Esparza and his cohorts, rumors of another filing for a new Court of Inquiry are circulating the court house. If this holds true, the future may hold even more allegations of impropriety as more and more people and attorneys step forward, empowered with the notion that the system seems to now be listening to their concerns.
Categories: El Paso Tribune Archive