Judge waives Vargas’s arraignment, schedules trial for February 6

SBCISD Board President Michael A. Vargas is seen walking into the Cameron County Courthouse for his arraignment on Monday.

Special to the NEWS

Assigned Judge Leonel Alejandro has set a Feb. 6 jury trial for San Benito Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees President Michael A. Vargas.

The decision took place on Monday at the Cameron County Court At Law #5 in Brownsville after an unclear and confusing situation faced by some media reporters who had been told the arraignment had been relocated to a different courtroom.

In the end, the decision took place at Court At Law #5 where presiding Judge Estela Chavez-Vasquez recused herself from the case without providing reasons.

Victoria Cisneros, a public information officer in the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office, said that when an arraignment is waived, the defendant does not have to enter a plea and rather gives the judge the choice to set a trial.

Cisneros also said Judge Alejandro set announcements for Jan. 17.

“Remember: going into announcements, if someone asks for a continuance, it’s possible the trial could get pushed back,” Cisneros said. “Since the arraignment was waived, there was no plea answered.”

Alejandro also sustained that Vargas equip his vehicle with a breath alcohol ignition interlock device ruled in a previous court order Oct. 1. The interlock device also has to feature a camera.

Recently, prosecutors upgraded Vargas’s DWI charges from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor due to the high content of alcohol found on his body.

Cisneros said that blood draws generally take months because of the Texas Department of Public Safety lab backlog. She said they usually file DWI cases before receiving the blood draw results.

“In the Vargas case, we originally filed it as a DWI first,” read a statement issued by the DA’s office a couple of weeks ago. “Subsequent to our filing, we received the blood draw results. Because the blood draw was 15% or higher, it counts as a DWI second.”

In the Cameron County Public Portal, there is a motion entered Nov. 13 in the comment section that reads, “State’s motion to clarify defendant’s motion to suppress.”

On Nov. 5, the same public portal also shows a motion to suppress and “notice to state of defendant’s request for a speedy trial.”

The NEWS attempted to reach Vargas’s legal attorney Dan Sanchez on Monday to comment on whether his client is seeking to suppress any previous DWI arrests but to no avail.

Vargas was arrested on July 5 in Harlingen after a concerned citizen called the police in reference to an intoxicated driver.  A police report obtained by the News indicates that Vargas, 32, was found “sleeping behind the wheel of a black passenger vehicle,” around 2 a.m.

The incident occurred along the 1500 block of N. Ed Carey St. in the parking lot of a Taco Bell.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2019/11/19/judge-waives-vargass-arraignment-schedules-trial-for-february-6/


    • Mama Lou on November 19, 2019 at 4:13 pm
    • Reply

    The law is the law and everyone needs to obey it especially elected officials who are working for the school board. What kind of example is he giving? How can he stand in front of students and act like he did nothing wrong? He needs to be a responsible adult and take responsibility for his actions.

      • Karma is certainly a @#$@#! on November 19, 2019 at 6:27 pm
      • Reply

      True.. he’s not ashamed.. le Vale…. He thinks he’s all it just because he’s a board member.. I hope the LAW ..teaches him a lesson.. and he’s used as an example…to teach students not to drink and drive…and that just because you are a public servant YOU WILL NOT ALWAYS GET AWAY WHEN YOU BREAK LAWS.
      he’s not the only one…that drinks and drives…the public was fortunate he got caught. I APPLAUD Harlingen PD.. for not covering this up and letting him off with warning.

      Plus I am very grateful that those people who filed with the court. They have everyone’s best interest (STUDENTS)…in mind… Because if they didn’t give a crap..like many people doNT… this fool would be more relaxed.. I bet now his world is crumbling.. around him… Karma is a @#$#.. Mr school board President. That’s how you and some other school curent and former district members MADE PEOPLE feel and ruined life long educational careers.

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