EL PASO, Texas -

The criminal contempt hearings of El Paso attorneys Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds continues at 8:30 a.m., at the El Paso County Courthouse.

The hearings recessed after a steady stream of witnesses called by the defendants, Wednesday.

Witnesses who took the stand Wednesday were from a mixed array of backgrounds.

They included attorneys, a Fort Bliss soldier, a man accused of possessing child pornography and a tenant who lives in Leeds' garage apartment.

They were mostly character witnesses who had no independent knowledge of the Judge Regina Arditti bribery trial, where Caballero and Leeds were successful in securing an acquittal for Arditti.

Nearly all of the witnesses were asked by Caballero to describe the pair of attorneys. The word most used was "zealous."

Defense witnesses testified Wednesday that El Paso needs attorneys like Caballero and Leeds, and that without them there would be no one to challenge the system.

Some of the witnesses called were individuals from cases Caballero and Leeds had defended in the past. Multiple defendants testified their legal fees were pro-bono.

Hector Torres, a man accused of possessing child pornography, retold the story of the day Caballero and Leeds came to his jail cell telling him they would take his case.

"I would describe them as effective," Torres said. "I never thought I'd end up with the two best lawyers in town."

Court reporter Robert Thomas was working during the Arditti trial in 2011. He testified that visiting judge Steve Smith had been against the defense throughout the trial.

Thomas said he did not see the defendants misbehavior during the course of the trial.

"A lot of people like you a lot," Thomas said.

A prospective juror from the Arditti trial testified to the contrary on Monday.

Retired teacher Robin Zubek said the attorneys were threatening and disrespectful.

"I thought they showed total disrespect for everyone in the courtroom except for themselves and their client," Zubek said.

After the verdict was read, Smith said Caballero and Leed's behavior was the worst he had seen in his entire career.

Smith claimed Caballero and Leeds were disrespectful to the court during the Arditti trial, and actively turned the jury against the court.

At one point Caballero displayed a projection of a two-headed hydra monster, with one of the heads being the district attorney and the other judge Smith.

Caballero was cited with 11 criminal contempt-of-court charges and Leeds with seven. Each count carries up to six months in jail and fines.

It has been stated that Caballero made disparaging comments against judge Smith and El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza during the course of the Arditti trial.

Caballero and Leeds continue to refer to Judge Smith as a "liar" and a "racist."

Caballero used Wednesday's case to enter into the record criticisms of District Attorney Esparza during her direct examination of witness Ben Mendoza.

Mendoza was represented by Caballero and Leeds after being sued by Mayor John Cook surrounding his involvement in a recall petition.

Theresa Caballero: Is Mr. Esparza known for political prosecutions?
Ben Mendoza: If you're not one of his friends you run the risk of being indicted.
TC: Is Mr. Esparza known to be a mean man?
Prosecutor Garza: Objection, relevancy.
TC: I'm trying to paint a picture that the D.A. is a very viscous, vindictive, mean person.
Judge: Overruled.
TC: Is he vindictive?
BM: Yes, especially if you're not his friend. You are the only two attorneys in this county who will stand up to the district attorney.