Dallas County Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes announced earlier this week that he will be resigning from that post, effective July 13, and Dallas County Democratic Party Chair Darlene Ewing today asked the Commissioners Court to appoint Beth Villarreal to fill Cortes’ unexpired term.
Villarreal defeated Cortes in the Democratic Primary race for Precinct 5 constable in March, and since there is no Republican candidate opposing her for the office in the November general election, she was already set to take office on Jan. 1.
Cortes announced his resignation at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 — one day before a hearing was set to take place on a civil action to remove him from office. F. Benjamin Reik III, a Richardson lawyer, had filed the petition calling for Cortes’ removal on behalf of deputies in Precinct 5 who had leveled allegations of criminal actions and abuse against Cortes.
Cortes had also been the subject of a special investigation called for by commissioners, and his office had been under investigation by the district attorney. That second investigation has already resulted in federal charges against one of his top lieutenants, according to Dallas Morning News.
In a letter hand-delivered to commissioners today, Ewing told the court that appointing anyone other than Villarreal would be “ineffecient and would not be honoring the wishes of Precinct 5 voters.”
Both Cortes and Villarreal sought the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, which gave its backing to Cortes. Cortes took the constable’s office after the resignation of Mike Dupree, the openly gay constable who resigned from office amid a storm of controversy and allegations he sexually harassed deputies.