It’s Not Just Cops Who Do Really Stupid Things
Dec. 4, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — I’ve spent a lot of time and effort on Fault Lines to point out some of the stupid things that police officers have done. To be fair, I have also pointed out where the officer is being treated unfairly, too, although I will admit that this has not been as common.
But one of the things I learned in police work is that people can be real stupid. Incredibly stupid. Too stupid for the gene pool, as in the type that compete for the annual Darwin Awards.
And that stupidity is not limited to crooks, victims, and cops.
Even lawyers can be immensely stupid.
Even lawyers who are running for a District Court* judge in Texas.
This October a female client of Mark H. Benavides, a San Antonio lawyer, accused Benavides of having sex with her in an empty room in the Bexar County† Courthouse during her intoxication manslaughter trial. Benavides claimed that she was lying and upset because she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.
Benavides had run for the 186th District Court judge position in 2014, losing a close Democratic primary contest to Mary Green (who lost the general election to Republican Jefferson Moore). He had been campaigning, but had not yet filed, for the judicial seat in the 175th District Court, for the 2016 election.
But after the first victim spoke up, others came forward.
The first was a prostitute who said that after their first encounter in 2005, he offered his services as a lawyer. She stated that she always paid for his legal services with sex, never with money. She stopped in 2012, and Benavides reminded her that he had videotape of their sexual encounters.
Another victim said that she met Benavides repeatedly for sex at an office of a friend of Benavides. She was sometimes driven there by a female friend, who would then film the sexual encounter for Benavides. The victim was afraid that if she refused, Benavides would, based on his good relationship with the judge, hurt her case.
The final victim did not have money to pay Benavides, so he had her meet him every Tuesday at a motel. When she didn’t show one time, he went to court and withdrew the attorney bond he had posted for her, which resulted in her being arrested.
At least some of the victims identified Benavides by correctly noting the “Scales of Justice” tattoo on his back.
So on November 18th, Benavides was arrested and charged with three counts of Compelling Prostitution, a second degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
You see, it’s really not Sexual Assault (which is also a second degree felony) because the victims had sex voluntarily, at least in the sense that they were not forcibly raped. It’s much easier to prove Compelling Prostitution. You prove the sex for money or thing of value, like legal services, and that it was by force, threat, or fraud. It will be easy in this case.
Especially when you have video. Multiple videos. And witnesses.
The Democratic Party chairman for Bexar County noted:
“At this moment, he is not a candidate, and I’m sure running for office is the furthest thing from his mind.”
There is only one bright spot in this whole episode, and that is that he did not manage to become a judge. Can you imagine the potential for harm?
*In Texas, the District Court is the court of general jurisdiction, which handles felony criminal cases and the bigger civil cases.
†Pronounced Bear or Bay-har, not Becks-ar.