On Thursday, February 8, 2024, the Houston Chronicle reported that Harris County Criminal Court Judge Frank Aguilar of the 228th Criminal District Court has been suspended with pay following his arrest in Galveston County in December 2023.

According to the article, Judge Aguilar was arrested on December 31, 2023 around 3:30 am by Galveston police as he celebrated his girlfriend’s birthday with others at his property. The woman told police that Judge Aguilar punched her repeatedly and put his foot on her neck in their kitchen, causing her to be unable to breathe for about a minute.

In response, Judge Aguilar said to the officer that the woman was “highly intoxicated” and throwing beer cans around the home and at him. However, he declined to tell the officer how the woman was injured. Judge Aguilar was then charged with misdemeanor assault for the alleged domestic violence incident.

Subsequently, on February 7, 2024, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct issued an order suspending Judge Aguilar from the bench with pay pending the resolution of the criminal charge against him. Judge Aguilar’s defense attorney Mark Diaz has pointed to a recent affidavit filed by the girlfriend asking prosecutors to dismiss the charge and stating that the events of December 31 were not as originally described and that she felt coerced into making the allegations.

In the same affidavit, the woman wrote that Judge Aguilar “never touch me or hit me” and that she believes she fell down the stairs inside the house after having an adverse reaction from sleep medication combined with alcohol that caused her to walk in her sleep. She also said in a separate affidavit that she would not testify in Judge Aguilar’s criminal case.

It was also reported that Judge Aguilar was previously acquitted of another domestic violence allegation in 2010 involving a family member. As a result of the new charge, Harris County prosecutors filed several recusal requests asking Judge Aguilar to step down from cases involving similar domestic violence allegations, but he declined to do so. The matter was then referred to the regional presiding judge.

In light of Judge Aguilar’s suspension, the regional presiding judge is now expected to assign a visiting judge to replace him in his court. The judicial suspension could potentially be lifted if prosecutors were to dismiss the pending charge against Judge Aguilar or if a jury acquits him. However, as of now, the case remains an ongoing legal matter.

 

 

Source: Houston Chronicle