Del Rio City Councilman Raul C. Ojeda Jr. was ordered to serve three years’ probation as part of a plea agreement in the felony evading arrest case against him.
Ojeda and his attorney, Cesar Escamilla of Del Rio, appeared before 83rd Judicial District Judge Robert E. Cadena on Tuesday for sentencing in the evading case.
Ojeda was arrested in March and charged with the misdemeanor offense of driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration equal to or greater than 0.15. That case, which has been turned over to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution, has not been resolved.
Ojeda was arrested in March, when a police officer allegedly saw the car Ojeda was driving speeding west on Mary Lou Drive, traveling on the wrong side of the road. The officer allegedly engaged the lights and siren on his patrol vehicle and followed Ojeda’s car for five blocks, until it pulled into a driveway and stopped.
Ojeda was immediately arrested on the drunk driving charge. Police later obtained an arrest warrant, and Ojeda was taken into custody for the offense of evading arrest with a vehicle in July.
On Tuesday, when Cadena announced the case, he asked Ojeda and Escamilla to stand in front of the bench and asked Ojeda to raise his right hand and swear “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.”
After Ojeda took the oath, Cadena asked him and Escamilla in turn if they had reviewed the pre-sentence investigation report in the case, and both said they had and that the report contained no obvious errors.
Cadena then told Ojeda that it is his policy to give defendants a chance to address the court “so I can have some understanding of their situation,” and he asked Ojeda if he wished to speak.
Escamilla said his client had prepared a statement and would like to read it to the court.
Cadena invited Ojeda to do so.
“Your honor’s judgment is fierce but also fair,” Ojeda read.
“I strive to be a mindful and compassionate human being. There are times that I set my own wellbeing aside without a thought to protect others because it is in my very nature to be good. As I navigate this life, I carry with me a mantra: ‘Hand fits giving, so do it.’ It is what the gospel said to me. From that I learn daily that there is no knowledge without sacrifice,” Ojeda read.
“Lastly, I would like to express to all that I am my own master. My future, everything, rests on my own shoulders; I know that the laws in place are to guide us all to be good. If my circumstances have caused any doubt of my integrity, I apologize wholeheartedly,” he read.
When Ojeda finished, Cadena called the statement eloquent, and Escamilla added his client is “incredibly remorseful” for his actions.
63rd Judicial District Attorney Michael Bagley, who represented the state, told Cadena, “We ask the court to approve the plea agreement. This is a serious situation, and he (Ojeda) is taking it seriously. I believe he is truly remorseful, and I am glad we were able to resolve this situation amicably.”
After hearing from Ojeda, Escamilla and Bagley, Cadena said he would suspend the finding of guilt in the case and placed Ojeda on three years’ community supervision.
Escamilla said after the hearing that the community supervision comes with strict terms and conditions, including 230 hours of community service, that Ojeda must follow to the letter.
“I’m glad the court was able to see all of the good Mr. Ojeda has done in the community,” Escamilla said after the hearing.
Ojeda has been an elected member of the Del Rio City Council, serving as the At-Large, Place C, representative, since June 2018.
After the hearing, Ojeda said he does not intend to resign from the city council.