Texas judge's DWI charge dropped

June 27, 2008 9:46:03 AM PDT
A special prosecutor said insufficient evidence prompted him to seek dismissal of a drunken driving charge against a state district judge.Tony Hackebeil wouldn't elaborate on why he asked County Court-at-Law Judge Michael Mery to dismiss the charge stemming from a February traffic stop involving Raymond Angelini, a longtime judge. Hackebeil's motion was granted Thursday.

Angelini, 57, who has maintained his innocence all along, said some will see the dismissal as a reflection of his position.

"I had nothing to do with what (Hackebeil's) decision was," Angelini said. "I didn't talk to him."

Andrew Del Cueto, who represents Angelini, said his report to the prosecutor includes information that questions the credibility of one of the arresting officers, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Angelini was arrested after an officer pulled him over for weaving. In his police report, the officer said Angelini's speech was slurred, that he had bloodshot eyes, that he had to use his car door to remain standing and that he failed a field sobriety test.

The report also said Angelini admitted having "maybe three drinks." He refused to take a breath test.

Jay Norton, an attorney who handles DWI cases and has acted as a special prosecutor, has seen a video of Angelini taken at the police department about an hour after his arrest. The video has not been released.

"He clearly is not intoxicated on that video," Norton said. "If this had gone to trial, it would have been a not-guilty."

After Angelini's arrest, District Attorney Susan Reed filed a motion to recuse her office from prosecuting his case. She cited years spent as Angelini's colleague on the bench as well as other connections that created a conflict of interest for the office. Reed and Angelini are both Republicans.

Shortly after his arrest, an administrative law judge ruled that Angelini be prohibited from hearing any case in which the officers who arrested him were involved.

That judge rejected a request from Reed that Angelini be recused from hearing all criminal cases.

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