Delgado sentenced to 60 months
McALLEN – Approximately six hours after Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado’s nemesis, local attorney/informant Noe Perez, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty last year to conspiracy to commit bribery, Delgado learned of his own fate: Five years (60 months) in prison, followed by two years on probation (sentencing guidelines require he serve at least 85 percent of the sentence).
Declared guilty this past July by a jury of his peers on eight felony counts tied to bribery and obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors wanted Delgado sentenced to 97 months. Doing so will send a clear message to the public that such corruption perpetrated by a sitting judge will not be tolerated, said one prosecutor.
“The defendant put justice up for sale inside the (93rd state District Court),” said another.
When U.S. District Judge Alfred H. Bennett asked Delgado’s lead attorney, Michael McCrum, what he thought a “just sentence” should be, the San Antonio-based criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor said that in his opinion, two to three years would be appropriate.
For four of the eight felony counts, Bennett sentenced Delgado to 48 months; 60 months for the remaining four counts. The sentences will run concurrently; meaning, Delgado will serve no more than the 60 months. If he serves the entire five years, the longtime judge will be 71 years old when he returns home.
Prior to his sentencing, Delgado stood before Bennett, recounting his life story, his career as a judge, his own personal tragedies (the loss of two sons), his medical conditions, and his apology to the people of South Texas for his failure to follow the straight and narrow. He denied that he was “rotten to the core,” stating that his real troubles began with the tragic death of his son in 2007. That period was when his alcohol intake really kicked into gear, he said, and his judgment became flawed.
Regarding his future, Delgado said, “I want to pay my debt to society and return (home from prison) a changed man.”
Just prior to sentencing Delgado in the federal courtroom in McAllen, Judge Bennett spoke of the former judge’s criminal conduct:
“It tears at the very fabric of our society. It gives air and weight to the people who look upon the court in suspicion that it does matter who you know and that justice can be purchased.”
Note: Look for an update to this story Friday morning. All told, the sentencing hearing Wednesday lasted approximately 2.5 hours.