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Former City Rep. Quintana’s Conviction Deleted From Record

Former City Representative Rachel Quintana’s forgery conviction is no more. A judge has ordered the verdict and conviction deleted from the record.

Quintana was arrested shortly after she was elected in 2007, accused of forging her former boss’s signature to get an airline discount. She served her four-year term on city council with the misdemeanor charge looming over her.

On Wednesday, Judge Stephen Ables ordered Quintana be “freed from all penalties and disabilities” resulting from the conviction.

“It is very disappointing,” Lorie Hughes, Trial Division Chief at the district attorney’s office, told ABC-7. “We had hours and hours invested in this case.”

The district attorney’s office fought to make an example out of Quintana. Although she faced a misdemeanor charge that could have been settled through a pre-trial diversion program, the DA’s office insisted public officials should be held to a higher standard. A pre-trial diversion program allows defendants to skip the trial and serve a sentence without admitting guilt.

Quintana’s attorney argued his client was being targeted unfairly, but both a lower and an appeals court sided with the DA’s office.

By the time her case went to trial in July 2011, she was out of office.

It took a jury of six women less than an hour to convict Quintana. With Judge Ables presiding, the jury sentenced her to the maximum fine and jail time, though that part of the sentence was suspended. Quintana was sentenced to one year probation, 100 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine.

Four months later, Quintana’s attorney, Stephen Peters, filed a motion asking the judge to end her probation early because Quintana had finished her community service ahead of schedule and met all the other requirements.

According to court filings obtained by ABC-7, the probation department had no problem with that — but the district attorney’s office did. And they were even more opposed to deleting Quintana’s verdict and conviction from the record.

“We were vigorously opposed to the judge dismissing the charge or conviction,” Hughes told ABC-7.

On Wednesday, Judge Ables terminated Quintana’s community supervision and ordered “that the verdict and judgment of guilt in this case are set aside, the information is dismissed and Defendant is freed from all penalties and disabilities resulting therefrom,” according to court records.

Having the case set aside means the record will only show that Quintana was arrested and charged, but not convicted. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows it and the decision was within Ables’ discretion.

Still, prosecutors disagree.

“Someone who’s been convicted by a jury should not be able to get away with it once a jury has spoken,” said Hughes.

ABC-7 tried to contact Judge Ables, who serves as administrative judge for the region, but was not able to reach him by deadline.

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