Joe Frank Garza, former Jim Wells County District Attorney, will be forced
to spend 180 days in the Jim Wells County Jail. This will be apart of
his condition of ten-year probation sentence. The court also ordered the
former District Attorney to pay back more than $2 million that he "misappropriated"
from the county.
The money that he appropriated illegally was the use of county asset forfeiture
funds from drug seizures. Texas law allows district attorneys' offices
to control over forfeiture funds from assets seized in drug busts. This
is a common technique that local District Attorney's offices use to
supplement pay for his or her employees. In order to do this, however,
the District Attorney must get approval from the county commissioners
office. Failure to do so can land you in prison like this District Attorney
(because it is illegal to use public funds for private and personal gain).