Cynthia Barbare: The Drug Scandal: Cynthia Tulia, Texas

1130 Words5 Pages
All of these dealers claimed they were innocent, but one particular defense attorney, Cynthia Barbare, took her client, Jose Luis Vega, at his word. He claimed to be an honest auto mechanic and the dirt under his fingernails led her to believe him. Plus, she found it odd that a reportedly wealthy drug trafficker lived in such a meager home. Her first line of defense was simply requesting that the drug lab test the veracity of the drugs. None of the prior dealers from Alonso’s cases had done so because the Dallas county court system unofficially penalized anyone who requested verification from the drug lab with a much lengthier sentence. The courts had simply relied upon the officers’ field tests. Ultimately, Barbare’s gutsy choice paid off…show more content…
In Tulia, TX, a five hour drive from Dallas, 46 people were swept up in an early morning drug sting in July of 1999. Thirty-nine of the suspects were black in that tiny, predominantly white town. They represented roughly 20% of the town’s adult black population. The drug sting was the culmination of an 18 month undercover investigation by a narcotics agent, Tom Coleman. He had been hired as part of a federal anti-drug program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Byrne grant. The local newspapers labelled these suspects as “scumbags” and, based upon a tip from the local authorities, captured video footage of the perp walk as these people were paraded disheveled in their underwear to jail. As a result of such a high profile bust, Coleman was recognized as the Texas Lawman of the Year by the state’s Attorney General in…show more content…
Most of these defendants couldn’t afford private attorneys and depended upon public defenders. For instance, Joe Moore had two prior convictions and was facing a maximum of a 90 year sentence for selling three grams of cocaine. However, Moore begged his public defender to call Eliga Kelly to stand in his defense. Moore claimed that Kelly witnessed him shoe Coleman off of his property. For whatever reasons, his public defender never bothered to call Kelly to the stand or even question him privately. After all, Eliga Kelly was considered a star witness for the prosecution, but, as a result of that negligence, Moore was sentenced to 90 years. Unlike most criminal informants, Eliga Kelly refused to lie under oath and in a subsequent trial for a different defendant, the prosecutor called Kelly to the stand. Kelly contradicted Coleman’s testimony by naming several defendants, including Joe Moore, who refused to sell drugs to
Open Document