HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 11
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All Chapter 11 Footnotes

Lawrence had also been busy with other matters. Late April and much of May had gone to another murder case the local court had assigned to him.115 Lawrence did file a written request, repeating De Peña's earlier one, to view the police evidence on DeLuna,116 and he did take a look at the evidence.117 But he had no time for his own investigation into what happened.118

It wasn't until early June that Lawrence finally could focus on DeLuna's case. He filed several motions, including one to have the judge throw out the Arsuagas' identification of DeLuna after being shown a group of photos by Detective Escobedo.119 It was then that Lawrence first met Carlos—on June 1st or 2nd, to tell his client what was in the state's file, and again on Saturday June 4th, to hear DeLuna's side of the story.120

Lawrence had hoped that his client would accept a plea bargain. But Carlos "wasn't going to take a deal because he said 'I am innocent,'" Lawrence explained later. "He told me from the beginning that [he] saw something, heard sirens and [thought the] cops wouldn't believe him, so he ran."121 Carlos was "reluctant to give up a name," Lawrence recalled. "He wanted to be sure he would be protected if he gave [a] name."122

* * * * *

Although the prosecutors discussed the possibility of a plea bargain with DeLuna and his lawyers, no one mentioned that possibility to Wanda Lopez's brother, Richard.

Not long after Wanda died, four Corpus Christi law enforcement officers in suits came by to pay their respects to Richard Vargas and his parents. They assured the family they had caught the killer and would prosecute him to a death sentence. 123

Richard told them they'd better finish the job, because if they didn't he would.124 "You don't need to get involved," they told him. "We'll see it through."125

Decades later, Richard said he had meant what he said. Everything up until that visit—how the police operator had interrogated his sister instead of sending someone to save her,126 how they washed down the store before anyone knew what happened,127 how they gave the TV stations the tape without letting the family know128—had made him wonder how seriously the police were taking the case.129 At the time, Richard recalled, he couldn't get DeLuna out of his head. He dreamed about sneaking into the jail to kill the bastard himself.130

* * * * *

At the end of May, a retired judge from Houston named Wallace "Pete" Moore was assigned to run the trial in DeLuna's case.131 Moore liked to take a case in Corpus now and then.132 It was a good way to pick up a little extra income. If he stayed in the good graces of the local judges, the assignments might keep coming.133

Or, at least, that's how Jon Kelly had Moore figured. Kelly didn't like to have visiting judges in the criminal cases he handled because they're "getting paid" and "don't want to cause trouble for the judge whose bench [they're] sitting on. That's number one."134 A visiting judge is "there not to make waves. And the way to do that is to rule for the state and against the defendant. Because he ain't going to be asked back if he does it another way."135

"Number two," Kelly continued, as a visiting judge "you don't really care, do you? Because you're not going to be here when this is over."136

Because De Peña and Lawrence weren't ready to go to trial when Moore got his first two-week assignment on the case, the local judges extended his assignment twice—and his fee.137

* * * * *

Def.'s First Mot. for Continuance, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 1 ("James Lawrence, attorney of record, [as of June 10, 1983] has not had a sufficient amount of time to prepare for Defendant, for the following reasons: Counsel was appointed in late April, 1983 [sic, April 15], as co-counsel and has been engaged in the trial of the following matters, namely, State of Texas vs. Robert DeLa Rosa, which has prevented counsel from devoting time to investigate and prepare for the trial of this case.");

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 4 ("[O]n or about May the 5th of 1983 I was engaged in a murder trial entitled State of Texas versus Robert De La Rosa that was tried in the 94th District, which basically ended somewhere around the middle of May.").

Mot. for Discovery and Inspection of Evidence, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. May 6, 1983) at 1–3;

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 4 ("Beginning the middle of May of 1983 I started investigating this case.").

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 5–6 ("Beginning the middle of May 1983 . . . I met numerous times with Steve Schiwetz, the Assistant District Attorney that's present here in Court and handling the case" to review evidence in the prosecution file).

Def.'s First Mot. for Continuance, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 1 ("James Lawrence, attorney of record, [as of June 10, 1983] has not had a sufficient amount of time to prepare for Defendant, for the following reasons: Counsel was appointed in late April, 1983 [sic, April 15], as co-counsel and has been engaged in the trial of the following matters, namely, State of Texas vs. Robert DeLa Rosa, which has prevented counsel from devoting time to investigate and prepare for the trial of this case.");

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 5–6 (explaining why "[t]here was nothing done" on a factual investigation because of the inability to get a judge to rule on the motion for an investigator; "it wasn't until yesterday morning [June 9] that I talked to Judge Dunham, and he approved the—I don't think he signed the order as such, but he did tell us orally and did tell me orally as of yesterday on June the 9th [that he would authorize a court-funded investigator].").

Def.s Mot. to Quash Indictment, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983);

Def.'s Request That the State Elect, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983);

Demand for Individual Voir Dire, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983);

Mot. for Hr'g on Voluntariness of Any Admission or Confession Whether Written or Oral, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983);

Mot. for Jury List, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983);

Mot. to Suppress Identification, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 2, 1983);

Mot. for Identification Hearing, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 3, 1983).

Cf Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 5–6 ("I have filed at least ten motions in behalf of Mr. De Luna since around the middle of May of 1983 [sic—the first of the motions was filed on June 1].").

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 7:

Q. [by Judge Wallace C. Moore] Mr. Lawrence, when did you—when did your client first tell you of the alibi witnesses?

A. I was told of several of these witnesses beginning—It would have to have been after—certainly after May the 15th, and it would have to have been either the beginning of—of June or the latter part of May. I have got—Saturday, this past Saturday [June 4] when I visited him at the jail, in getting a complete statement from the Defendant which could cover that aspect of it. Up until that point I didn't have any.

Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 9–10:

Q. [by prosecutor Schiwetz] Mr. Lawrence, why was the Defendant unable to provide you with the names of these witnesses up until just recently?

A. [by James Lawrence] I didn't talk to Mr. De Luna until I got through with my case after May the 15th, and it was at that time . . . I told him everything that the District Attorney's office had on him, and I told him I would be back in two or three days, that I wanted him to think and give me his complete story as to what took place and that's what happened this past Saturday.

Q. Okay. So you actually didn't hear your Defendant's side of what happened until this past Saturday?

A. That is correct.

Q. And that would be, what, the—I don't know what date that is.

A. Right, the beginning of June somewhere.

Q. 4th?

A. [by Judge Wallace C. Moore]: 4th.

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, 'I Didn't Do It. But I Know Who Did,' Chi. Trib., June 25, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story?page=5 ("It wasn't until five weeks before trial [early June] that Lawrence met with De Luna to hear his account of what happened. Lawrence then requested that the court pay $500 for a private investigator.").

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with James Lawrence, Trial and Appellate Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna (Feb. 25, 2005) at 2 ("My client wasn't going to take a deal because he said 'I am innocent.' He told me from the beginning that saw something, heard sirens and cops wouldn't believe him, so he ran.");

Steve Mills & Maurice Possley, 'I Didn't Do It. But I Know Who Did,' Chi. Trib., June 25, 2006, available at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tx-1-story,0,653915.story?page=5:

De Luna told Lawrence that on the day of the crime, he cashed his $135.49 paycheck from his construction job and drank beer with friends. That night, he said, he was at a skating rink talking with two women and left to walk toward a nightclub to find someone to give him a ride home. He said he was at the nightclub, across from the Sigmor station, when he heard sirens. Because he had been paroled from prison only weeks earlier, he panicked and ran. "I remember our client said, 'I didn't do it. I had to run because I saw what was happening, and no one was going to believe me,'" Lawrence recalled.

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with James Lawrence, Trial and Appellate Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna (Feb. 25, 2005) at 2 ("CDL [Carlos DeLuna]: Reluctant to give up a name. He wanted to be sure he would be protected if he gave name.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Richard Louis Vargas, Brother of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 07:00:57–07:04:00:

Q. Between . . . the time that your sister died and the trial, what kind of interaction did you have with the authorities, the police, the prosecutors?

A. They came, four of them came to my mother's house, and they came to talk to us and promised us everything would be taken care of. That we didn't have to intervene in no way.

Q. Did you suggest the possibility of intervention?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Could you tell us what you said, what that conversation was?

A. At this time I was very furious and hurt, and I promised them that if they didn't take care of it, I would.

Q. [How did the police respond?]

A. Not even to go there, that they would promise me that they'd be tedious [i.e., meticulous] to the end.

Q. [Y]ou said there were four detectives, were they plain clothes or were they in uniform.

A. No, they wore like suits.

Q. Men, women?

A. I only remember 4 men.

Q. Do you remember their names?

A. No, I don't.

Q. Did you talk to any attorneys, or the four men who came with suits on. Do you actually know whether they were police, detectives, and prosecutors? Do you know who they were?

A. They were all detectives they said, they showed their badges. . . .

Q. What else did they tell you about the case at that point, when they came, those four gentleman?

A. They were there to pay respect and let us know that this was a very one of a kind crime scene that they had never witnessed and that involved one of the big chain stores [Diamond Shamrock] and they were going to try to see how to correct this and find out what really happened.

See supra note 123.

See supra note 123.

See supra Chapter 1, notes 59–69 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 1, notes 51–52 and accompanying text.

See supra Chapter 1, notes 80–84 and accompanying text.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Richard Louis Vargas, Brother of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 06:55:23–06:57:11:

Q. In between that night and the time of those hearings and trial, was there any news about this on the local television? About this case.

A. Yes, they started airing on air, making people aware of what had happened at the store.

Q. What did they use on the television to make people aware of what had happened?

A. Something I never heard [of before] that made me very furious was the 911 calls. . . .

Q. On television, what were [they] using to tell people about what had happened?

A. They showed words on the bottom and they show[ed] some kind of figuration on top. But not only did they show those two things they put her voice in there. So you had three ways of hearing what was happening at the time.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Richard Louis Vargas, Brother of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 07:00:02–07:00:32 ("Q. Now, between [the] time when your sister died and the trial, how many times did you see them playing that one 911 tape? A. Over and over. Every month at least twice or more. It was a highly publicized crime. A lot of people heard it.");

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Richard Louis Vargas, Brother of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 07:08:38–07:10:32:

Q. Eventually you came to find out that there [were] two 911 tapes, not just one. Ok. What did those two 911 tapes, would you tell us, tell me. What those 911 tapes together showed that happened that night?

A. It showed that first, she was aware of her surroundings. She knew something was going to happen. And as scared as she was she didn't make it look like she was calling the police. Although the police were at the other end of the line knowing what was about to happen, and disconnected her on the first call.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Richard Louis Vargas, Brother of Wanda Lopez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 4, 2004) at 07:13:05–07:14:13:

Q. Richard, do you think the police did a good job in finding out who did this thing to your family?

A. At the time, yes.

Q. But now, [looking] at the whole thing, what are your overall feelings about, tell us everything you feel about how it's all come to be.

A. Well, now I hear the rest of the story, I've now been introduced to a side of the story I never knew about.

See sources cited supra note 129.

Order of Assignment, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. May 26, 1983);

see also Arg. on Pretrial Continuance Mot., Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 10, 1983) at 5 ("[A]t the time we [defense counsel] were asking for a visiting judge [to be assigned to the case].");

James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with James Lawrence, Trial and Appellate Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna (Feb. 25, 2005) at 1 (noting that he had tried a case in front of Judge Moore once before);

Linda Carrico, City Man Gets Execution Date for '83 Slaying, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, July 24, 1986 at 1A (reporting that Judge Wallace Moore went by the first name of "Pete").

See James S. Liebman's Notes on Interview with James Lawrence, Trial and Appellate Lawyer for Carlos DeLuna (Feb. 25, 2005) at 1 (noting that he had tried a case in front of visiting Judge Moore once before).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:51:04 ("A visiting judge comes into a county and, you know he don't want to make trouble. He's getting paid.").

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Jon Kelly, Lawyer for Carlos Hernandez, in Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 9, 2004) at 07:51:04–07:52:38:

A visiting judge comes into a county and, you know he don't want to make trouble. He's getting paid. . . . You [a visiting judge] don't want to cause trouble for the judge whose bench you're sitting on, and you don't want to cause trouble for the county. That's number one. Number two is, you don't really care, do you? Because you're not going to be here when this is over. . . . He's going to challenge the county's district attorney? He going to challenge the other judges in the court house? No. He's there not to make waves. And the way to do that is to rule for the state and against the defendant. Because he ain't going to be asked back if he does it another way.

See supra note 134.

See supra note 134.

See, e.g, Order of Assignment, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 1, 1983) (assigning Judge Moore to the DeLuna case for a two-week assignment beginning June 19, 1983);

Order of Assignment, Texas v. DeLuna, No. 83-CR–194-A (Nueces Cty., 28th Dist. Tex. June 27, 1983) (assigning Judge Moore to the DeLuna case again, but leaving the endpoint of the assignment open).

Chapter 11
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