Constable Victor Trevino continues to serve despite calls for him to step aside after indictment

February 26, 2013 4:29:09 AM PST
Should an elected lawman remain on active duty while under felony indictment?

Well, that's exactly what's happening with Precinct 6 Constable Victor Trevino.

It has to be lonely being Constable Victor Trevino these days. Awaiting trial, the longtime eastside constable remains on the job but under felony indictment for misusing county property, not reporting campaign donations and misusing money donated to his charity.

He is continuing to serve and collect a paycheck despite calls for him to step aside from the county judge months ago and renewed calls now.

"It brings into question a trust factor," Dr. Larry Karson said. "Are you guilty? Are we letting a fox in the henhouse?"

Former federal agent Dr. Larry Karson now teaches criminal justice management and ethics at the University of Houston-Downtown. He tells us it may be best for the constable and his constituents for Trevino to take a break.

"I believe it's appropriate for him to relieve himself of his law enforcement duties while under indictment," Karson said. "Allow his chief deputy to take over the responsibilities of managing the office and the law enforcement function. Just go into the background and do administrative duties and deal with the indictment."

Constable Trevino thanked his staff at an office-wide meeting last week, but he wouldn't talk to us about the charges he's facing even when we asked him to speak right to the voters who re-elected him.

Trevino's upcoming trial may be weighing heavily on his mind. Jail time is possible if he's convicted.

The constable denies the charges and his lawyer insists Trevino never lined his own pockets. But even if Trevino beats the charges, big legal bills are a near certainty.

He can use political donations to pay his legal bills and has already. He paid prominent Houston defense attorney Chip Lewis $10,000 in October around the time the grand jury was considering Trevino's case. That was before the indictment, though, and since then the bill's likely climbed.

The most recent state records suggest Trevino had just $2,300 in campaign accounts. Lawyer Lewis is not commenting.

"His focus will be on the trial, not on fulfilling his mission as the constable of Precinct 6, I guarantee it," Karson said.

Constable Trevino will be in court again in early April. A date for his trial has not been set.