For seven years, Abel C. Limas presided over the 404th Judicial District Court down in Brownsville, a court where lives were often at stake in criminal matters and which also heard a variety of civil cases, including divorce proceedings. Now, former Judge Limas has pled guilty to charges that he took over $250,000 in bribes from attorneys in payment for favorable treatment ... doing things like issuing very nice probation orders and even outright dismissal of charges in criminal matters as well as playing favorites in civil controversies.
Lima's Career Path: Cop to Judge to Private Practice to Inmate
You'd think Abel C. Limas would know better. Not only because he was given the honor and privilege of sitting on a judicial bench, wearing those robes and walking into a courtroom where bailiffs had everyone rising upon his entrance. Nope. Limas was also a cop in days gone by. A Brownsville policeman who rose to become a Texas Judge, presiding over that court for seven years (2001-2008), and who will now be a federal inmate.
Everything Happening Quickly Down in Brownsville: Arrest, Guilty Plea Within a Week's Time
Limas was arrested just last Thursday. He's been charged with racketeering by soliciting, extorting and accepting bribes totalling $257,300 for favorable rulings in various matters. No long, protracted defense here: within hours, he was entering a guilty plea before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. That means no trial. Sentencing is set for July 2011.
The indictment backing up his arrest included allegations that while Limas worked as criminal district court judge, he took money from a minimum of four lawyers (their names are not released), and two of these lawyers alone forked over $235,000 for favorable treatment in some civil matters. (Limas' defense counsel's request to keep the indictment under seal for 14 days after Limas' arrest was granted by the federal judge.)
Investigation Results: Limas Isn't The Only Bad Apple
For over two years now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Brownsville Police Department had joined forces to investigate what Judge Limas had been up to ... and his indictment isn't going to be the only result of all that footwork.
The indictment of Abel Limas identifies five (5) other evildoers - but does not name them. Their activities, while detailed in the Limas indictment, are described as being done by "A," "B," "C," "D," and "E." No names, just letters.
Other Arrests Being Made - Longoria Charged Thursday, 3+ Lawyers Still to Be Arrested
Yesterday, Jose Manuel Longoria attended his bond hearing before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio and was placed under a $100,000 bond after being arrested last Thursday and charged with wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud and deprive the State of Texas of the right to the honest services of a state district judge.
As part of Longoria being charged and being allowed bond (challenged by the prosecution as Longoria is considered a flight risk to Mexico), he was instructed not to have any communications with three lawyers (identities not made public) and if he were to receive communication from them, he was ordered to notify authorities immediately.
Which means, the FBI is gonna be arresting some lawyers down in South Texas very soon....