Caldwell County judge was not able to provide clemency
Bertha Marie Rendon Delgado, 42, spoke to and wrote to Judge F.C. “Chris” Schneider of the 421st District Court of Caldwell County about getting judicial clemency that would allow her to be on the November 8th ballot.
In 2007, Delgado was arrested for possession of a controlled substance of less than one gram, a state jail felony. She pled guilty, according to records obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, and told the Bulldog she served 355 days in the Caldwell County Jail.
In her email to the judge, Delgado said she was “…working hard in my community now serving seven years as the City of Austin Housing Commissioner in East Austin.” She said she was attending college at Huston-Tillotson University and “walking in my family’s legacy.” The latter refers to her grandfather’s recognition for community leadership marked by naming Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach in East Austin.
The judge’s response was sympathetic but stated, “I am sorry, but there is nothing I can do legally to help you in this matter.”
Delgado had submitted a “Notice of Judicial Clemency” form with the judge, which is addressed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 42A.701.
The judge’s email to Delgado this morning states, “This is a procedure for a defendant to request an early discharge from probation after successfully completing all the requirements of that probation. That is not the case here. Your case has long been over with, and you did not successfully complete that probation. This court lost any jurisdiction it may have had almost seven years ago. I no longer have any authority to issue any kind of order regarding this matter. Even if I still had any jurisdiction of this case, I could not sign an order stating that you successfully completed your probation, as it was revoked.”
“The only remaining avenue that I am aware of to have this removed from your record would be a governor’s pardon. I am unaware of anything a trial court judge can do once the matter is final.”
Delgado looks to the future
“I’m sorry it turned out this way,” Delgado told the Bulldog in an interview this morning. “Last week, since my ballot application was rejected, I’ve been trying my hardest, taking all the steps I could to get judicial clemency and getting the process started for a pardon.
“This has been difficult for me and my family. Today’s response from the court says I have to be pardoned by the governor to seek any office. That’s another obstacle I have to go through but in the end my restoration of rights will be approved.
“I’ve been productive citizen in my community. I hope people can see that I’m a product of East Austin, of the community I come from. This was another barrier breaker for us. After I’m pardoned I can come back and run for office in four years.”
Delgado said she has started the process of seeking a pardon.
“It’s really up to Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles,” she said. That agency’s website states, “the Board recommends clemency matters, including pardons, to the Governor.”
She said the process for getting a pardon could take up to a year or more. “I don’t know what the timeframe is but within four years I’ll get it done.
“I will be making public announcement pretty soon. I want to thank all my supporters and the people who believe in me that I’ve come this far. I’ll continue to serve my community, just not on the city council.”
Legislative changes are needed
Attorney Bill Aleshire tried to assist Delgado in this matter, although he was out of town.
He told the Bulldog in an email this morning, “This case is an example of a need for the Legislature to revise the standard for someone who has successfully paid their debt to society after a felony conviction to be able to run for office and let the voters decide if they want that person in office.”
(Disclosure: Aleshire represents The Austin Bulldog in obtaining information through public information requests and assists in other legal matters).
Trust indicators: Ken Martin has been doing investigative reporting in the three-county Austin metro area since 1981. His aggressive reporting twice garnered first-place national awards for investigative reporting. Both of those projects resulted in successful criminal prosecutions. His 2011 investigation of the Austin City Council’s open meetings violations triggered a 20-month investigation by the Travis County attorney that resulted in the mayor and council members signing deferred prosecution agreements to avoid being charged, tried, and if convicted serving one to six months in jail and forfeiting their elective offices. See more on Ken on the About page. Email [email protected].
Judge F. C. “Chris” Schneider’s email of August 19, 2022, in response to Bertha Delgado’s application for judicial clemency (1 page) 20220819-schneider-email
Related Bulldog coverage:
Half the mayor and council candidates haven’t file for a place on the ballot, August 18, 2022
Cosmetic executive runs for mayor on message of unity, ‘cooperation’, August 18, 2022
D3 candidate Delgado disqualified but seeks reinstatement, August 12, 2022
Candidates have voting records too, August 11, 2022
I had to look up what it means to get probation revoked. From what I can gather, it’s when a person doesn’t fulfill the requirements of probation, then that probation is revoked and, instead, the person goes to jail. It looks like that’s what happened here.
The DPS records linked in the story state Delgado was sentenced to three years probation on September 10, 2007. Page 4 of those records state that probation was revoked September 1, 2009, in connection with a DWI Class B Misdemeanor.
It’s always sad when someone’s ship of dreams runs hard upon the shoals of hard hearted reality. The SS Delgado now lies at the bottom. Will it ever rise again?