In motion, judge accused of attacking girlfriend says he was interrupting suicide attempt

In motion, judge accused of attacking girlfriend says he was interrupting suicide attempt

Credit: WFAA

Dallas County Judge Carlos Cortez

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 31 at 10:46 AM

DALLAS –– The Dallas County state district judge who was arrested this weekend for allegedly attacking his girlfriend filed a motion Monday that disputes the charges, claiming he was trying to prevent the woman from killing herself. 

Carlos Raul Cortez, a judge for the 44th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, was arrested early Saturday morning at a residence in the 3000 block of McKinney Ave. in Uptown. Police were called to the La Tour Condominiums at 2:09 a.m. and found a woman who said she was the judge’s girlfriend.

The two had been drinking, she said, and that a fight over medication for her child escalated to Cortez choking her several times and dragging her by her hair to a balcony. She said he leaned her against it while he continued to choke her. An officer observed red marks that covered her entire neck, according to the police report.

A lawyer for the judge, Andy Korn, quickly released a statement calling the allegations “false.”

“If necessary, it will be shown in the proper forum that Judge Cortez actually saved her life,” he said this weekend.

In an email, the woman's Dallas-based attorney, Ted Steinke, called Cortez's argument "laughable." 

“My client is cooperating fully with the authorities, and because we have faith in the system, we are willing to let the legal process take its course. For that reason, she will make no public statement at this time," he wrote. "However, regarding his attorney’s laughable assertion that the Judge actually saved the victim’s life by choking her, it’s my experience that the police don’t usually arrest heroes.”

In the forum of the 292nd Judicial District Court, Korn filed his motion Monday. It says the woman was mixing painkillers with alcohol, making her “extremely intoxicated.” It alleges that she tried to kill herself by leaping off Cortez’s 20th floor balcony. 

It says Cortez pulled her away “to prevent her from killing herself.” 

The motion says, “she became extremely violent and physical” against the judge, who was eventually able to remove her from the balcony and back into the residence.  He was soon arrested after this. 

“None of the statements from the Respondent were contained in the police report,” the motion says. 

The charges resulted in an emergency protective order against the judge. The motion accuses police of leaving out “key details of this situation” that may have convinced a magistrate to not issue the order. 

Cortez is ordered to not go within 500 feet of the woman’s home and bars him from communicating with her or any family members. 

“The Respondent believes that if the Court been aware of all the facts surrounding this situation, most importantly that this incident was not an assault but rather the Respondent preventing the reporting party from committing suicide, that the magistrate would not have issued the Emergency Protective Order,” the motion reads. 

A hearing to consider whether to remove the protective order is set for 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 6. Cortez, who is seeking reelection, is free on $15,000 bond. He was charged with assault, family violence and strangulation. The civil court judge has served since 2006. 

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