EDINBURG — Criminal charges against Judge Rudy Delgado were dismissed this afternoon, five years after his initial arrest.

A Nueces County judge made the decision after hearing pretrial motions alleging the prosecutors presented improper evidence before a grand jury.

Delgado, who once presided over the 93rd state District Court, was arrested in 2002 after a police officer suspected he was driving while intoxicated. He was charged with DWI and evading arrest. A grand jury dropped the evading arrest charge in 2003.

A visiting judge from Brownsville then dropped the DWI charge in 2005, but Delgado was re-indicted on evading arrest and misuse of information charges later that year.

District Judge Joaquin Villarreal agreed Thursday with Delgado’s attorney, who argued that several witnesses who testified before the grand jury for the second indictment provided no new information in the case.

“This has been a long ordeal for Mr. Delgado and Hidalgo County,” defense attorney Al Alvarez said. “We were very happy with the outcome.”

Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra strongly disagreed with the judge’s decision and the implication that his staff did not handle the case appropriately. Prosecutors will appeal the decision immediately, he said.

“He’s questioning my ethics,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned the decision still stands.”

The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct voted last year to suspend Delgado with pay pending the outcome of his two felony charges. Since then, the judge has continued to collect his $109,000 annual salary plus a $5,400 annual car allowance.

Judges’ salaries are paid with county and state funds.

Although Delgado could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Alvarez said he hoped his client could return to the bench as soon as Monday.

“We’re going to contact the judicial committee tomorrow,” he said, referring to the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct. “And hopefully, he’ll be back at the courthouse at 8 a.m. Monday morning.”

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Jeremy Roebuck covers law enforcement and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4437.

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