After six days in court, attorneys Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds were found guilty of contempt of court Saturday afternoon by visiting Judge Juanita Vasquez-Gardner.
Caballero was convicted of nine counts of contempt of court and Leeds was convicted of five counts. Neither face jail time
Caballero, originally fined $5,000, saw her fine reduced to $900. Leeds’ fine went from $2,750 to $500.
Prosecuting attorney Henry Garza seemed pleased with the ruling.
On Friday, Judge Steve Smith, the judge who brought the initial charges against Caballero and Leeds, spent the entire day on the stand.
Garza told the court he was reluctant to call Smith as a witness and that Friday showed why he was hesitant.
"It troubled me to bring back somebody to be placed back in front of that questioning directly,” Garza said. “It trouble me, quite frankly, what I saw (Friday)."
Caballero and Leeds seemed in good spirits after the ruling.
"We always knew going into this that it was just too hard for a judge to deny another judge, and you heard me tell her, 'I don't have much faith in Judges in these matters,’” Caballero said.
Garza said he did what he thought was right.
“The evidence speaks for themselves in respect that both of them were held in contempt,” Garza said. “My obligation was to come to El Paso and present that evidence, which I have done.”
While they were found guilty of some of the contempt of court charges, the judge said it would be a travesty if they lost their law licenses – a statement they plan to use in a potential hearing before the state bar. Smith filed a grievance against Caballero and Leeds with the state bar.
"The grievance has never really weighed on my mind at all," Leeds said. "For the grievance hearing we're entitled to a hearing, and an El Paso jury, I don't believe, is going to find us guilty on what Judge Smith says...once they find out what he was like."