Thursday, May 22, 2014


(Ed.'s Note: When the Brownsville Herald has was sued for publishing a political ad listing the names of people not prosecuted for child abuse, it had its lawyers cite bible and verse defending itself with the First Amendment and the right of the public to know. Yet, the ad below was to be paid by a Yolanda Begum supporter questioning a serious lapse of judgement by Jonathan Gracia, Begum's opponent in the JP 2-2 runoff election. Even when the documentation was provided to the new publisher Frank Escobedo, he still refused them the space and demanded a letter of release by the person buying the ad. The backup consisted of a police complaint, below, and certified copies of the transcripts of Gracia's testimony in the Armando Villalobos corruption trial). It's funny how the First Amendment only applies to the newspaper and not the public at large. We reprint the ad below as a public service and a form of community self defense.)  
By Juan Sifuentes
We’ve all seen the slick campaign signs and mail-outs of JP 2-2 candidate Jonathan Gracia. But do we know the real candidate?
On December 2009, Jonathan Gracia was Asst. District Attorney, Felony Second Chair, appointed by now-convicted D.A. Armando Villalobos, a position of high responsibility.
On the night of December 11, Brownsville Police Dept. officers received a call about a 27-year-old woman running barefoot on the expressway frontage road crying for help (See full report at right. Click to enlarge).
When they found her at the hospital she was disoriented and highly intoxicated.
She said she met Jonathan Gracia at nightclub and then both went to another night spot and were drinking heavily before she drove both of them to a motel. She told officers she grew afraid of him and ran barefoot out of the room seeking help. She appeared disoriented and could not recall why she was afraid of him or why she fled from the room.
Officers found Gracia asleep on a sofa in the motel room and he told police he did not know what happened to the woman.
They learned that he was an Asst. District Attorney under Villalobos and they took the report and closed the case.
Gracia was in a position of high responsibility to protect victims, prosecute criminals, and to uphold the integrity of that office. His failure to do that could be interpreted – at best – a serious lapse of judgment, and at worst…an attempt to seduce a helpless woman.
As Felony Second Chair, Gracia was given the authority to order prosecutors under him to try defendants for serious crimes, including domestic and sexual abuse of women.
Gracia was subpoenaed to testify in the Villalobos trial about why probation was granted in the case of Hervey Roel. Roel was awaiting trial for aggravated assault of his common-law wife (10-CCR-3003-C) when he was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon for stabbing her on the neck repeatedly with a pair of scissors (10-CCR-1001-E). While awaiting trial for that assault, he was implicated in a murder case.
On the stand, Gracia couldn’t even recall how many times the woman had been stabbed in the second assault.
US Atty. MICHAEL J. WYNNE: What were the general facts in the second case?
GRACIA: After the first case, which was a beating, the second case was – involved a pair of scissors Mr. Roel had taken to the neck of his common-law wife.
WYNNE: Do you remember how many stabbings it was?
GRACIA: I believe it was one stabbing directly in the center of the back of her neck.
WYNNE: I’m going to show that (exhibit) to the jury then. Okay. What is it Mr. Gracia?
GRACIA: Those – that looks like (the victim) and the different puncture wounds that she suffered.”

As Felony Second Chair, Gracia was in a position to protest when Villalobos chose to give Roel probation at the request of his friend Oscar De La Fuente. He did nothing. The case was later dismissed.
Gracia can claim to be “dedicated public servant” in his political ads, but the truth belies this claim. In both cases cited above, women (the victims) do not fare well. My family and I urge you to vote for Yolanda Begum in this runoff for JP 2-2.


Anonymous said...

I'm still voting for him.

Yolanda Begum said...

More people read the rrun rrun than the herald nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Yolanda Begum is just a Caty Presas-Garcia, but with money!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch Out Brownsville!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How well do you know mrs Begum or miss Presas to say that? look at what the people that know both of them have to say mr. Gracia, before you can make a comparison, no disrespect to either one of them but they are are like day and night, and i happen to know both of them