New high school under construction during Gonzalez’s term The other two indictments against Gonzalez have been dismissed. Carruth refuses to discuss the Gonzalez verdict, but a spokeswoman for his office tried to “remind” the Observer that prosecutors do only the bidding of grand juries. It is not the state’s attorney, but these panels of upright citizens that hand down indictments. We are given to believe that in a case such as this, a defendant’s acquittal is proof of more than his innocence; it is proof that the criminal justice system “works.” But if the sygtem had worked as it should have, Angel Noe Gonzalez would never have come before judge and jury. At the very least, he would have been given an opportunity by Carruth to present the grand jury with his side of the story before being put through the ordeal of indictment and trial. Angel Noe Gonzalez’s legal fees will come to a bargain basement $7,000, but to pay for his defense and meet living costs incurred over the last eight months he has had to deplete his ‘teacher’s retirement fund and mortgage some of his wife’s property. Shortly before his indictment, Gonzalez accepted a job to set up and run a bilingual program for the Oakland, California school system. He was indicted before he started work and was then asked to withdraw from the position. He managed to persuade Oakland officials to hold the job for him until the trial was over, but the delay has meant a loss of about $28,000 in salary and an additional $8,400 in fringe benefits. Yellow journalism These losses are recoverable. It will take Gonzalez time to pay off the debts and rebuild his standard of living, but it can be done. What will never be recovered is Gonzalez’s good name as an educator. damage,” he says. “You never recover. The indictments will always be there and they will always pull it out.” The Texas press hadn’t helped his reputation any. When Gonzalez was indicted, most of the state’s daily newspapers decided the story was front-page fare and played it accordingly; television and radio news departments followed suit. As the case moved toward trial, there were frequent reports in print and on the air that cast a lengthening shadow over Gonzalez’s character. But the trial’s outcome went virtually unreported. North of San Antonio and east of Corpus Christi, Gonzalez’s acquittal was a non-event. Of the major dailies that had put the indictment on page one, only the San Antonio Express gave the aquittal frontpage coverage. The trial for Cantu, charged in the flip side of the Gonzalez case receiving money for no work is set for late April. Carruth’s spokeswoman assured the Observer that he and his office have every intention of prosecuting the case, even though they have already failed to convince one jury of Cantu’s wrongdoing. The last of the three indicted school officials is Amancio Cantu \(no relation to superintendent. Interestingly, he is charged with doing for Gonzalez what Gonzalez was supposed to have done for Cantu: pay out unearned money. Hardberger observed, however, that the state doesn’t seem to have enough faith in the charges to indict Gonzalez along with Amancio Cantu. But the charge that has brought the most attention to Amancio Cantu is one that he borrowed the school’s video camera without authorization and used it on a trip that he, Jose Angel Gutierrez and other county leaders took to Cuba. One must wonder if the alleged crime would be worth all the fuss if the camera had been carried to a 4-H convention in Abilene. It is time to end this story; but one fmal thing. In a recent interview Atty. Gen. John Hill, Carruth’s immediate boss, discussed the Crystal City school indictments with the Observer: “We just simply let the facts take us wherever the facts took us. We treated everyone evenhandedly. That’s what we’ve done in Duval County, and that’s what the staff was instructed to do in Zavala County and in every other county we’ve entered.” Perhaps the AG meant what he said. But after the Gonzalez trial, it is now time for Hill to take a personal look at the gap between what his staff “was instructed to do” and what actually took place in Zavala County. Rick Casey is a San Antonio-based freelance writer. La Raza to sue Briscoe, Hill, U.S. agencies La Raza Unida party is preparing to bring suit against government officials and agencies its leaders charge with political harassment. The suit, which will probably be filed next month in federal district court by lawyers from the New York office of the American Civil Liberties Union, is expected to name as defendants Gov. Dolph Briscoe, Atty. Gen. John Hill, the Texas Rangers, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The suit will seek both damages and information on investigatory tactics state and federal authorities have used when looking into Raza Unida affairs. Zavala County judge and Raza Unida leader Jose Angel Gutierrez charged that investigations by three state grand juries, one federal grand jury, and a congressional subcommittee resulted in indictments of only three public officials in the county and that the only one brought to trial former school administrator Angel Noe Gonzalez has been acquitted.
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