Court sets filing deadlines in Mission mayoral election appeal

EDINBURG — Despite recommendations from the attorneys for former Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas, a judge declined to set a date for a new election for the mayor’s race he voided.

Mayor Armando O’Caña will remain in the position as Judge J. Bonner Dorsey agreed that his order to void the June runoff election, in which O’Caña was declared the winner, was suspended upon the filing of a notice of appeal.

The notice of appeal was filed by his attorneys on Oct. 8.

Earlier this week, the 13th Court of Appeals ordered the case be accelerated and instructed Dorsey to set deadlines.

The judge ordered that the court reporter, who documents the court proceedings, submit their report to the appellate court by Nov. 2. From that date, attorneys for O’Caña have 20 days to file their brief, the document in which they will state their arguments for why they believe Dorsey’s decision should be overturned.

However, Carlos Escobar, one of the attorneys for O’Caña, said that to file the brief to the appellate court, it was necessary for the Dorsey to first file the findings of fact and conclusions of law.

That document details the court’s rationale for its decision, in this case being the decision to void the election. Dorsey said he expected to file that by Nov. 10.

When he rendered his decision, just minutes after the conclusion of closing arguments, Dorsey said he could not determine the true outcome of the election, citing testimony from witnesses who said they’d receive payment for their votes or those who said they were illegally assisted, either at the polling sites or with their mail-in ballots.

Once O’Caña’s attorneys file their brief, Salinas’ attorneys have 20 days to file their response.