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2 El Paso Judges Indicted, Again

A pair of embattled state judges in El Paso have been indicted on new state charges of bribery and abuse of power.

Suspended District Judge Regina Arditti already faced a misdemeanor nepotism charge, and Manuel Barraza had been convicted earlier this year on federal bribery charges. Both were indicted Monday on state charges of bribery and abuse of power.

The indictments, obtained by ABC-7, allege judge Barraza provided judge Arditti’s son, Dante Vance, a bailiff job in Barraza’s Criminal Court Number One. In exchange, Arditti’s indictment alleges, she hired Barraza’s sister, Sally Mena, as court coordinator in the 448th District Court.

The indictments allege the agreements took place on or about January 27th, 2009, just weeks after Barraza took office as judge.

The grand jury also indicted Barraza and Artitti on charges of Abuse of Official Capacity because they “misused a thing of value belonging to the government,” namely, the jobs they were in charge of supervising in their official capacity as judges.

Both have previously denied any wrongdoing.

Arditti’s defense attorney, Theresa Caballero, called a news conference to offer her client’s reaction to the indictment, but then refused to let KVIA and the El Paso Times reporters into her office. She has previously refused to talk to KVIA about clients she represents citing a pending defamation lawsuit she filed against the television station following coverage of her race for District Attorney in 2009.

Barraza and Arditti were initially charged in the nepotism case, but the case against Barraza was dismissed after he sentenced to five years in federal prison for bribery.

He continues to be a judge even though he is in prison, though he does not receive pay.

Judge Arditti is currently suspended with pay, receiving $140,000 per year.

Some information from: El Paso Times,

Article Topic Follows: News

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