Man acquitted in early test for new El Paso District Attorney’s office

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — In an early test for the newly elected district attorney and her administration, a nearly 3-year-old case came to an end in favor of a man who was accused of violating a protective order.

Francisco Gonzalez, 48, was acquitted of charges alleging he violated a bond and protective order last Wednesday. The decision came in one of the first jury trials held in El Paso County since the global COVID-19 pandemic reached the region last year.

A spokesman for El Paso County’s District Attorney’s office briefly said it is the stance of the administration that the judicial system was designed for a defendant to have the right to a jury trial.

“The outcome of a trial rests solely on the jury in that case,” the spokesman said.

Jury trials are now being held at the El Paso County Courthouse as more residents have received COVID-19 vaccination doses and as positive case rates appear to be going down. There are still mask requirements and other precautions the county is observing as in-person activities resume.

Roger Montoya, Gonzalez’s attorney, said individuals did not seem terrified being in a group and social distancing requirements were observed during jury selection and throughout the process.

The attorney was one of a few opponents newly elected District Attorney Yvonne Rosales competed with to replace former DA Jaime Esparza.

Montoya admitted that Gonzalez’s case got off to a difficult start because the protective order already cited family violence as part of his background.

“You’re kind of starting from behind, right there, with a declaration that this person is violent,” Montoya said. “It was a tough case, but the fact that the jury was able to be objective, I think that that shows that we will be ready for trials again.”

The public will get a chance to see newly elected District Attorney Yvonne Rosales’ administration come into its own as more trials are scheduled. Her team is being viewed closely to see how changes she made to the office will perform.

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