Attorney, informant in bribery case placed on Alternate Incarceration Program

EDINBURG — Recently convicted attorney Noe Perez was placed on probation last week related to a June incident in which he allegedly struck his wife, court records show.

Perez, who was convicted earlier this year on a separate federal bribery charge related to former state District Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado’s federal bribery trial, in which Perez was the government’s star witness was placed on the Alternate Incarceration Program Thursday during Perez’s formal arraignment hearing.

The assault charge is a class A misdemeanor.

Instituted in the county in 2011, AIP is designed as an alternate to jail time for “low-risk” offenders, offenders in jail awaiting probation hearings, and offenders not eligible for personal recognizance bonds.

Instead, those enrolled in the program would serve their time under house arrest, which includes a variety of bond conditions.

Perez, who represented himself during the Thursday hearing, was arrested June 13, after police were called to his McAllen residence in connection with a domestic dispute involving Perez, and his wife, Sylvia Gonzalez, records show.

Just before 11 p.m., June 12, a McAllen police officer arrived at Perez’s residence, located in the 2600 block of Brazos Avenue, and found a woman being restrained by another man who told police she was intoxicated, according to the report.

“Ruben advised his mother Sylvia wanted to take off in her vehicle and he was holding on to her since she was intoxicated,” the documents read. “Ruben advised Sylvia had been in an altercation with his stepfather, Noe Perez.”

The officer spoke with Perez’s wife, who showed visible injuries, including a small cut underneath her right eye and swelling on most of her face.

“Sylvia had redness to most of her face area and bruises to her arms and legs,” the officer wrote in the report. “Sylvia also had scratches to her neck area, arms and knees.”

She told the officer Perez had allegedly punched her multiple times in her face and kicked her in the stomach while she was on the ground.

The officer proceeded to speak to Perez, who was by the front door holding a child, and appeared to have a couple scratches on his face. Perez told the officer his wife had allegedly assaulted him after the family were drinking together.

He had been having personal issues with his wife, Perez told police, after discovering she had allegedly planned to meet with another man.

“(Perez) advised he confronted her and they both started to argue,” the complaint read. “(Perez) advised Sylvia decided to leave with their 1- year-old son…”

Perez said Sylvia Gonzalez allegedly scratched his face when he attempted to take their child into the residence after she had taken him on a drive around the block, according to the complaint. This is when Sylvia Gonzalez’s son, identified as “Ruben” in the report, grabbed her to prevent her from leaving in the vehicle again.

Claiming he did not assault his wife, Perez, who declined to press charges on Sylvia Gonzalez, allegedly did not cooperate with police and laughed when asked to display his right hand, which appeared to be red around the knuckles, according to the report.

The officer determined the couple, who were both intoxicated, assaulted each other and charged both of them with assault causing bodily injury, the record stated.

At the time, Perez was free on a $25,000 bond in the aforementioned federal bribery case.

Perez was the attorney implicated as part of Delgado’s alleged bribery scheme, according to court records. Perez is specifically accused of giving cash bribes to Delgado between January 2008 and May 2016.

During this time, Perez is accused of giving Delgado a $15,000 truck and paid him cash bribes “between $250 and $350” on at least 20 occasions “in exchange for favorable judicial consideration” on cases Perez had in Delgado’s courtroom, according to the original indictment.

In May 2018, Perez pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, according to court records, and faces a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000.

During all of this time, including after he agreed to plead guilty for his role in the bribery scheme, Perez continued to practice law, and was regularly seen representing clients in state district court.

Due to this, Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 7 Judge Sergio J. Valdez, ordered Perez to appear for a bond condition hearing Thursday, and to bring along with him a “copy of all signature bonds or attorney bonds he has posted for any defendant that has a case pending in County Court at Law No.7,” court documents show.

Edinburg-based attorney, Jesus “Jesse” Contreras, who represented Perez in his federal case, will represent Perez during the Thursday hearing, according to Contreras.

The court also ordered Perez to bring all federal court-related documents as well.

“Noe Perez Jr. is Ordered to bring with him any and all documents which reflect the terms and or conditions of the sentence he received in federal court relating to the case where (Perez) entered a plea of guilty and was thereafter convicted,” the documents show.

Perez provided crucial, first-hand testimony against Delgado during the trial in July, leading to Delgado’s conviction.

Just last month, Perez stood before U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett for his sentencing hearing — during which he was given a 24-month prison sentence — effectively ending his ability to practice law.

Perez, who remains free on bond pending the beginning of his federal prison term, will be allowed to self-surrender at a later date not yet determined by the court.

lzazueta@themonitor.com