► Judge Leonel Lopez of Rio Grande City, TX; ethical dwarf Print E-mail
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Judge Leonel Lopez of Rio Grande City, TX; ethical dwarf


Leonel is a Municipal Court judge in Rio Grande City, Texas. He does not have a law degree. In fact, he never attended college.


The Texas Judicial Code of Conduct states:

  • “A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others.”

This section of the code has been interpreted to include public endorsements of another candidate by the Committee on Judicial Ethics of the State Bar of Texas Judicial Section.


An ethics complaint has been filed against Judge Lopez charging him with engaging in conduct aimed at endorsing a candidate to be a Rio Grande City Commissioner. (Berenice Garcia)


The complaint states that Judge Lopez was present at a camp that included the slate of candidates for Rio Grande City’s Commissioners.


Of course Judge Lopez denied he was supporting those in attendance. He said in part:

  • “How am I openly supporting a candidate?”
  • “I’m just sitting here.”
  • “In a magistrate position, we cannot endorse.”

Despite Lopez’s denials, Mayoral candidate Jay Peña said Lopez’s perceived backing of his opponents was obvious. Mr. Pena went on to say:

  • It’s pretty evident that the municipal judge supports the current city commission.”
  • “You’ve still got the rules of the judiciary, you’ve still got the rules of ethics and, speaking as a member of the bar, I can certainly tell you that what he’s doing is not kosher.”

Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar stated:

  • “There’s a possible violation, especially if the judge is openly present there at hand urging people to vote in a particular way.” “There could be enough to raise a complaint, especially if there’s constant presence on one of the sides and open electioneering for a candidate or group of candidates.”

All that’s left now is to see if the enablers for Judicial Misfits sitting on the Judicial Commission file ethics charges against Lopez. And if they do, then we’ll see what if any punishment is meted out to him by the cheerleaders for Judicial Misfits sitting on the Texas Supreme Court.


As we speak (ca. May 2016), Lopez continues to sit as a Municipal Court judge in Rio Grande City, Texas. 


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