DALLAS –– A Dallas County grand jury has declined to indict state District Judge Carlos Cortez, who was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend on Dec. 28, 2013.
She claimed he tried to choke her and throw her over a balcony. He denied the allegation, saying he was actually trying to keep her from jumping.
“This is a classic example of how an arrest doesn’t mean someone did something wrong. This is a reminder that in our criminal justice system, anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty," said defense attorney Pete Schulte.
Police were called at 2:09 a.m. to a residence in the 3000 block of McKinney Ave. in Dallas on Dec. 28. Upon arrival, a woman who said she was dating Cortez told police a fight over medication belonging to a juvenile at the home escalated to violence.
A police officer reported seeing "several red marks" on the woman's neck, which "appeared to encompass the majority of her neck."
She told police the two were drinking for several hours and that he pulled her from the couch. She said he dragged her by her hair and held her over the balcony while he choked her. Cortez swiftly denied the allegations. His lawyers filed a motion in court claiming he was preventing her from killing herself.
"If necessary, it will be shown in the proper forum that Judge Cortez actually saved her life," said attorney Andy Korn in a statement after Cortez's arrest.
The motion alleged that police left out key details that would have proven the judge's innocence. It said the woman was "extremely intoxicated" and was mixing painkillers with alcohol. In the filing, Cortez said he pulled her away from his 20th floor balcony "to prevent her from killing herself."
None of the judge's statements were included in the police report.
Cortez is seeking reelection to the 44th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, a post the civil court judge has held since 2006.
In a statement, Ted Steinke, a defense lawyer representing the woman, said she stands by what she told police.
"We are disappointed with the grand jury's decision, but Maggie stands by her statements, and nothing that happens today changes that one bit," he wrote. "I am proud of Maggie for having the courage to stand up to someone in such a powerful position. And there is a lesson to be learned here: It is important for all abuse victims to stand up to their abusers, even at the risk of being told there is not enough evidence to prosecute."