Suspended Victoria County constable Jesse Garza could see trial as soon as June 10.
“Normally, as a defense attorney, I’d be going, ‘Oh no, judge, let’s do this in November,’” said Victoria attorney Dexter Eaves, who is representing Garza. “We can’t do that in this case. We need resolution.”
District Judge Stephen Williams set the court date at a Monday afternoon hearing, where Eaves asked the judge to throw out evidence taken from cellphones used by Garza. That hearing was attended by not only Garza and Eaves but also special prosecutor Tim Poynter and the Victoria County woman who said she was sexually assaulted.
The Victoria Advocate does not name people who may be victims of sexual assault.
Garza, who served Precinct 1 in south Victoria County, is charged with felony sexual assault and misdemeanor official oppression. He faces between two and 20 years in prison with a $10,000 fine.
Eaves is a former district attorney for Victoria County, and Poynter serves as an assistant district attorney for Goliad, DeWitt and Refugio counties.
During the hearing, Williams said he would review the warrant and Eaves’ request before making any rulings.
Eaves contended that a search warrant executed in October 2017 incorrectly described one of the seized phones as an iPhone when in fact it was a Samsung device. The attorney also said the warrant failed to properly specify the dates of the alleged sexual assault.
Poynter disagreed, saying review of the warrant would show it to be valid.
Since April 15, Garza has remained suspended from the constable’s office with Gary Smejkal, a former Victoria Police Department employee, replacing him.
After the hearing, Eaves said Garza was still considering whether he would return to the office if cleared.
But he was certain about how the trial would end for Garza.
“I firmly believe my client will be found not guilty because he’s not guilty,” he said.