SAN ANGELO, TX — Citing the Texas Constitution, 51st District Judge Carmen Dusek denied Joshua Jaquez a new trial Friday afternoon. In a backhanded way, Jaquez’s new attorney, Wanting Wang, argued that Dusek erred in her harsh sentencing of Jaquez because 13 days earlier, Dusek presided over the Park 2400 Murder Trial where another defendant, Jose ‘Joe Angel’ Trevino, was acquitted of murdering Jaques’s uncle, Jason Garivay. Wang argued that the testimony in the Park 2400 trial tainted Dusek’s ability to deliver a fair sentence to Garivey’s nephew, Jaquez.
Jaquez pleaded guilty to the murder of Christian Rose that happened in 2019. Dusek sentenced Jaquez to 25 years in the state penitentiary for his part in Christian Rose’s murder.
The hearing began at 4 p.m. Friday with Jaquez making his appearance via a teleconference call from state prison. During Wang’s opening argument for the new trial, she admitted that Jaquez’s defense attorney at the time did not object to Judge Dusek presiding over the sentencing. Later in her arguments she noted that it would be difficult for anyone not to make the connection between the Park 2400 Trial and the family and friends supporting the victim, Jason Garvey, and the family and friends supporting Jaquez. In both court hearings those same friends and family wore similar clothing with the same color.
For the prosecution, 119th District Attorney John Best countered that not one piece of testimony or evidence in Jaquez’s trial mentioned either of Jaquez’s uncles referenced in the Park 2400 Trial. That is, neither Jason or Alfredo Garvey. Later in his arguments, Best surmised that Jaquez had actually admitted to a capital murder charge during his own testimony. Had the DA prosecuted for capital murder, Jaquez faced life in prison. Best added the additional evidence against Jaquez including drugs and Jaquez’s role in organizing how the getaway car was positioned.
After the arguments by defense and the prosecution, Judge Dusek schooled the big city defense attorney from Harris County. Dusek based her arguments on a legal construct called Trier of Fact.
According to Dusek, the when the judge is chosen to determine the sentence that judge is upheld to the standard of triers of fact. The sentencing decision must be based upon only the evidence and witness testimony presented in the court and nothing else, she said.
“Now, you’re from Harris County, and have you ever practiced law in a rural Texas county?” Dusek asked Wang. She answered no.
Dusek said that in urban areas, there are specialized courts for just about everything. There are courts in Harris County that only hear divorce cases, there are courts that only hear murder trials, for example.
“Courts in rural Texas are different than courts in urban areas,” Dusek said.
The State Constitution allows for General Jurisdiction Courts. “That’s what this is,” she said.
Dusek said it is not uncommon for the same judge to hear a divorce case of a defendant right after his or her felony conviction. Similarly, the same judge may hear CPS cases involving defendants in criminal trials the same judge presides. In rural areas, the same judge may also hear separate trials of co-defendants.
Dusek argued that the framers of the Texas Constitution knew what they were doing and this is simply the way rural Texas courts are organized.
Based upon Dusek’s promise that she dutifully and faithfully exercised her duties as trier of fact with no bias and that the Texas constitution allows for the same judge to preside over various hearings involving the same citizens in a General Jurisdiction Court construct, she denied the motion for a new trial.