Probation for former Harris County constable who pleaded guilty to exceeding authorized computer access

Jack Abercia learned his sentence today after pleading guilty last year to exceeding authorized computer access
January 22, 2014 4:19:54 PM PST
Former Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Jack Abercia has learned his punishment for a crime uncovered in a 13 Undercover investigation.

The judge and federal prosecutors both acknowledged the former constable's failing health, including colon cancer, and decided to sentence him to three years probation and a $10,000 fine.

13 Undercover began investigating the longtime lawman in Precinct 1 three years ago. Abercia initially denied any wrongdoing but later admitted to accessing a national database set aside for law enforcement use only to conduct private background checks for companies in exchange for money.

"He's been incredibly remorseful since all this ever started. That's why he pled guilty rather than asking for a trial. He knows what he did was wrong," Abercia's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said.

U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison said the case troubles him greatly and called the corruption extensive, saying Abercia "violated the trust of those who elected him for reasons of pure greed."

Abercia has not talked publicly, but Hardin says since his client never actually used the money demonstrates some ambivalence.

"He had obviously so many second thoughts about it; he didn't do anything with the money. He took it home in the same condition he got for it, put it under a cushion seat and then turned it in. He never spent it or benefited from it," Hardin said.

Federal prosecutors acknowledged the 79-year-old's failing health and agreed with the judge that prison could accelerate his death and taxpayers would foot the bill for medical costs, so the sentence was probation.

The judge added the case is an "indelible stain on his reputation and it should be."

Michael Butler and Weldon Wiener, two top deputies who worked underneath Abercia, have pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy. They'll be sentenced next week.

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