Dallas Judge Carlos Cortez Loses Bid to Keep Allegations of Drug Use, Child Molestation Secret

Categories: The Courts

Thumbnail image for CarlosCortez.jpg
Carlos Cortez
For the past three-plus years, Dallas County District Judge Carlos Cortez has been fighting to keep potentially damaging allegations about his personal life secret.

On Wednesday, Cortez lost the fight. A Texas appeals court decided that, even though none of the allegations against him resulted in a formal determination of wrongdoing, they were filed as part of an open court proceeding and therefore should be available to the public.

See also: Dallas Judge Carlos Cortez Accused of Strangling His Girlfriend. Says He Was Actually Saving Her Life

Suffice to say, it's easy to see why Cortez fought so hard to keep the documents under wraps. The Dallas Morning News, which has been digging on this story for months, has a long and well-researched piece on the allegations, but below are excerpts from depositions given by two women, Melinda Henry and Patti Haynes, with whom Cortez had a relationship.

Strip clubs: Henry testifies that she was a waitress at Silver City Cabaret when she met Cortez around 2005. This was the year before he was elected to the bench, and he was a regular there, showing up around lunchtime and sipping red wine until the evening.

HenryStripClubTestimony.jpg

Cocaine: When Henry first met Cortez, she was told by a fellow waitress that he was a reliable source of cocaine, according to her deposition.

HayneCocaine.jpg

HenryCocaine2.jpg

Prostitution: Henry, who has a prostitution conviction on her record, also testified that Cortez would pay her for sex:

HenryProstitution.jpg

Paternity disputes: Two days before Cortez was first elected to the bench in 2006, Henry gave birth to a son. She maintains that Cortez is the father. He denies this and won a paternity lawsuit, though Henry's attorneys contended the DNA sample he provided was suspect. She hasn't pressed the issue much because she testified that Cortez threatened her.

HenryCortezThreat.jpg

Child molestation: Around 1995, when Cortez was fresh out of law school, he moved in with Patti Haynes, a divorced mother of two. Here's testimony from a deposition given by Crystal, who's now 25:

HaynesTestimony.jpg

Cortez has denied all the allegations and others -- of DWI, of unprofessional conduct, of campaign finance irregularities -- raised by the Morning News, and none have led to any criminal convictions. Same with Cortez's most recent brush with the law, an accusation that he choked his girlfriend that went nowhere.

Cortez lost his re-election bid in March to Democratic challenger Bonnie Lee Goldstein. His term ends in January.

This post has been updated with excerpts from recently unsealed court documents provided by Johnston.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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67 comments
holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

He does drugs!  She does drugs! He cheated on me.  

and the killer accusation?

I think he touched my child inappropriately. 

The three most employed accusations in Family Law court, according to a family law judge I know.  He said that last one works every time its tried.  And only in Family Court (and in the Dallas press) can every scurrilous accusation be thrown in a War of the Roses, a war where the Geneva Convention is waived.

Cortez may be guilty of some or all of what the press is beating him over the head with, but that's not the point.  And he's on his way out of office so what is the point?

Salacious newsprint to sell papers on the back of a broke lawyer who can't swing back.

A "teachable moment" as the scribes over at the DMN typically intone.

All that's left is a seriously boring recap from the 'ol Ed Board, a dash of child rape chagrin, and a milquetoast finish.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Too bad the state can't seize his assets on accusation, right?

As it is, the Dallas Morning News certainly assassinated his character on hearsay.  Child rape allegation recanted in the fine print?  Jeez.

So what was this supposed to be? A Tattler-style expose kick in the pants after he lost his re-election bid?

Go kick Woody Allen.  He's got money to sue with.



bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

Other than the word of honor of a coke-addled prostitute, I don't see any evidence that he did anything wrong.

Junkies lie.  And since the DNA test proved that this junkie lied about him being the father of her child, it stands to reason that she is lying about the rest of it, too.


hotdogthatshit
hotdogthatshit

adios shithead, unfortunately he will still be kicking around Dallas even if he lost his job.

daviddennard
daviddennard

I'm a long-time Democrat and I went out of my way to vote against Cortez's re-election. I have no problem voting for a Republican opponent when it comes to voting AGAINST Cortez. A bad man is a bad man, and there are plenty to go around on both sides of any isle.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy, Jr., Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, Clarence Thomas, Bob Packwood, David Vitter, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Hinson, Bob Bauman, Buz Lukens, Tom Evans, Jim West, Neil Goldschmidt are just a very few of the many Republicans caught up in sex scandals.  

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Where is bvcks to inform us all about how he learned his "grooming" or whatever from conservatives?

Dar_Lalalala
Dar_Lalalala

His political party is irrelevant. A bad man is a bad man.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

In keeping with National media standards, democrat party affiliation was not mentioned until the last sentence (you're really not supposed to cite dem party affiliation at all - we'll chalk this up to editing error)

Had he been Republican, it would have been in the headline.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx  

"and the killer accusation? I think he touched my child inappropriately"

Huh? "touched my child"?? let's recap the testimony of Crystal Haynes in a deposition told under oath:

"then [Cortez] would straddle me, and [Cortez] would start out with foods a few times and [Cortez] would slowly move up his legs further and higher on my body. And then [Cortez] would just use his bodily parts...[Cortez] would use his penis and [Cortez] would put it in my mouth"

Amazing, you still do not understand the difference between "hearsay" and direct, first hand testimony. If you profess to understand the difference then you are guilty of being dishonest by ignoring Crystal Haynes' testimony.

A good question to ask is why anyone would, on multiple occasions,

- aggressively defend the person who by way of a victim's testimony was shown to have engaged in child molestation/rape,

- go so far as to deliberately distort facts,

- strive to negatively paint the accuser and the news source who worked hard to make the damning testimony public, after the accused went to incredible effort to keep it sealed.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@holmantx

Recanted?  I didn't see anything about that.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

"hearsay"????

these are depositions/testimony given under oath.

either you do not understand the word "hearsay" or you do not understand what a deposition/testimony is.

first hand knowledge provided by the participant themselves.

DMN has provided the citizens a benefit by pursuing the release of these documents.

kudos to them.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs

"I don't see any evidence that he did anything wrong".

yeah, who cares about the testimony of Crystal Haynes and the child molestation/sexual assault of a minor.

good grief, if you don't see this as "anything wrong" then there's nothing to say other than you are ridiculously blind. or incredibly stupid.

which is it?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

All that lying wouldn't matter to a democrat though. It's the results that matter.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@daviddennard

No, you didn't vote against Cortez... or anyone else.  The way we do elections in this country,  you can only vote FOR someone, not AGAINST them.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  CLinton, the best sex scandal ever, no one wants to be gingriched, but who doesnt love being lewinsky'd

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@Dar_Lalalala  Right, because he's a Democrat bad man.  If he was a Republican bad man, his Republicaness would be central to his badness.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

gosh, Republicans are such a persecuted group....

sheesh.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  Seems the DMN article mentioned his past strong support by the Democrat party machine.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@bvckvs @holmantx  

“I felt like I took her happiness away,” Crystal said. So she claimed that she had made up the sexual assault allegations.  But Patti told authorities about Crystal’s changed story and said she would not push her to testify.  “I just wanted to do whatever I needed to do to make her feel better,” Patti said. “I wanted her to be done with it and go to counseling and hopefully move on with her life. I wanted Carlos to be punished for it, of course, but not at the expense of my daughter.” Cortez was never indicted or prosecuted.

The impression is what the DMN wanted it to be.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@mavdog @bvckvs

The accusations of child molestation, drug abuse, etc. have all been investigated.  No proof was found of any of it, and no charges were filed.

This is one of the hazards of public service.  Freaks who want to make a name for themselves, are unstable, and who just hate the government come out of the woodwork to make spurious allegations.

daviddennard
daviddennard

@bvckvs @daviddennard 

OK, let's not debate semantics. You know what I mean. By voting for the opponent of the incumbent, you're showing your disapproval for the incumbent's performance and trying to bring about his/her replacement. If you liked the incumbent, you'd vote for them to try to keep them. If you disliked them, you'd vote for their opponent, even across party lines in some cases. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

The phenomenon I'm referencing is pretty well documented, especially by prof. Reynolds. It's called "name that party". If the news is bad and the party's not named, well... You know the rest.

As for persecuted, have you been keeping an eye on Sharpton's little waaaaaaahhhhhhfest, featuring Barry and Eric? Those poor guys!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall

Yep, I checked - but the DMN isn't exactly a democrat-machine publication like, say, the NYT.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

I can see why you would refer to yourself as a "dead horse" rather then the more accurate "dead donkey".

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

"woody Allen passed a polygraph.

So did Cortez"

Did Cortez pass a polygraph? Cortez told Patti Haynes that he took a ploygraph and that he passed, yet there is NO record of any polygraph.

If there were a polygraph that indicated innocence one would think that Cortez would make certain the results were put into the record.

He didn't.

Hmmm, wonder why.....

Cortez has every opportunity to "defend" himself. Instead of doing that very act Cortez works feverishly to seal the records of the victim's testimony detailing the facts of his molestation/rape.

"Because it's safe and after the fact"

"Safe"? If the reports are inaccurate Cortez has the right to sue the DMN for libel.

Yet he hasn't uttered a peep, he's hiding.

And you defend him....

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  

True?

Woody Allen passed a polygraph.

so did cortez.

But the Public Needs to KNOW! Right?

Here.

Let's cut to the chase.

You hit people who cannot defend themselves.  Just like the Dallas Morning News..  

because it's safe and after the fact.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

that's your defense????

not surprising as everything I posted is true.

notable that you failed to answer the question posed....it is very embarrassing so maybe it is best that you slither away and not answer.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx

The only thing that's been proved here is that Judge Cortez is attracted to psycho bitches from hell.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

nope, guilty when proven.

the evidence has been gathered, and there is proof.

at least to those who understand the meaning of words, like "hearsay".

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx

I can only wonder why a decent person who has a moral compass would defend a child molester, and attack the credibility of the victim.

well, I guess I answered my question. a "decent person with a moral compass" wouldn't do such a thing.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @holmantx  

recanting the recant.

Maybe that's why the DMN buried it so deep below "FILES DETAIL ALLEGATIONS THAT DALLAS JUDGE USED COKE, BOUGHT SEX, RAPED YOUNG GIRL"

leave it to you to cheerlead a bunch of shithead reporters.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx  

Crystal Haynes recanted the allegation when she was believing by not going forward her mother would find "happiness".

----------------------------------------------------

Crystal said that for years, she avoided talking with her parents about what had happened. Then late one night when she was about 14, she decided to clear the air with her mother.

“I wanted her to know,” she said, “that I didn’t make it up.”

---------------------------------------

Crystal Haynes said she remembers the last time she saw Cortez in person. He came to visit her mother after the sexual assault case was dismissed.

“He thought we should get back together,” Patti Haynes said, “and he couldn’t imagine why I didn’t want to.”

Crystal said she peeked into a room where the two adults were talking. “I watched him hit my mom.”

Over the years since, mother and daughter have watched from afar as Cortez made news. They wondered if the law would ever catch up to the judge. They thought about going to the press.

But Crystal said in her sworn statement that her mother had warned her not to come forward.

“She says that he’s dangerous and that he told her that he could make us both disappear,” Crystal testified. “He has people that can take care of us and that nobody would find out who did it.”

In the end, the Haynes women did not seek out news coverage. But when Cortez generated controversy again recently and a reporter came calling, they decided it was time to talk

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs

"taking one junkie at her word of honor"

good god, you still do not understand the child molestation/rape was on an 8 year old child who was neither a "junkie" or a "girlfriend"!!!!

how daft can you be? apparently the answer is incredibly daft.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@mavdog @bvckvs

If the case wasn't investigated, then where did the testimony come from? 

That said, you're making two major mistakes here:
1.  Taking one junkie at her word of honor - without any other evidence whatsoever. 
2. Disregarding the fact that he's had other girlfriends who have also tried to set him up for crimes he didn't commit.

That's what Bush did when he invaded Iraq, too.  He relied on one, non-credible source - and ignored all of the evidence that contradicted it.  It's a stupid thing to do when life and freedom are at stake

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs  

 I like the way you cite the fact that it was investigated, as proof that it was not investigated

you cannot be that stupid, can you? The "investigation"never got going, so it is ridiculous to say that Cortez was "investigated" when any examination was never completed.

There's just one ex-girlfriend who says she's protecting her child's abuser in order to protect her child.

good grief, how can anyone actually read the article and not see the deposition by the very person who Cortez molested/raped, Crystal Haynes, detailing what Cortez did to her? Did you not read the article? or do you not understand the words?

At his age, if he was truly a pedophile, there would be more.

that's a novel defense, basically "He can't be guilty or there would be other children he molested/raped".

ridiculous.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@mavdog @bvckvs

I like the way you cite the fact that it was investigated, as proof that it was not investigated.  That's funny.  But to get at who the man is, you'd have to look for patterns of behavior.

A few months ago, Cortez was investigated for choking out his current girlfriend.  Then it turned out she was just a psycho who was trying to jump off a balcony so that he would be blamed for killing her.  That's part of a pattern of behavior where he hooks up with crazy-assed bitches who make false accusations.

There's NO pattern of behavior showing him to be a child molester.  There's just one ex-girlfriend who says she's protecting her child's abuser in order to protect her child.  At his age, if he was truly a pedophile, there would be more.

That's not consistent with a pattern of behavior of a pedophile.  It is, however, completely consistent with a pattern of behavior of a man who chooses his girlfriends poorly.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@mavdog @bvckvsGive it up Mav, in bucky's world, only republicans and libertarians are capable of evil.  Since this judge is/was a democrat, any indication he may have done wrong HAS to be contrived or a 'spurious allegation'.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs

the accusation of child abuse was not "investigated", the investigation stopped when the victim went silent.

If you read the article, it is clear that the victim has stepped forward with sworn testimony of the molestation, with collaboration by the mother of the events.

As was outlined in the article, this is a common situation:


Incest and incest-like cases often collapse, said Bobbie Villareal, a former prosecutor who now heads the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. “All of a sudden, the child sees the weight of the world on their shoulders,” she said, speaking in general terms because she was unfamiliar with the Cortez case.

this is no way "one of the hazards of public service". you have no basis to claim that the Haynes "are unstable", or that the Haynes "hate the government". to characterize Crystal Haynes testimony of Cortez molesting her as "spurious" is obscene on your part.

daviddennard
daviddennard

@bvckvs @daviddennard 

You're putting words in my mouth. I LIKE Bonnie Lee Goldstein and I'm glad that she ran and won. But if it had been Cortez vs. a Republican judge I would have taken my chances on the Republican judge instead of voting for Cortez. End of story.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@daviddennard @bvckvs

That's one perspective.  But some of us (progressives) are voting for where we want the community to go TO, rather than for where we want it to run FROM.

If you're voting for someone you hate, only because you hate others worse, you're in a really bad place and you need to get right with yourself.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @ScottsMerkin @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz 

If we start listing every unfaithful politician we'll be here all night.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhiteWhale

note the felony charge against Cortez was presented by the "Democrat County District Attorney" to the Grand Jury, who decided to not indict.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@WhiteWhale @Dar_Lalalala  

I don't think either party has the market cornered on creepery like this.

I also think that knee-jerk "circle the wagon" protective mentality is pretty common across the board among the political class.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@Dar_Lalalala Sorry,  party matters in this case because he was a member of the ruling Dallas Democrat party.  The question is how many of the powers that be including the Democrat County District Attorney knew about his activities?  How many other bad men and women enabled his activities?  Would the protection have continued had he won his primary?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

"pretty well documented". riiight. I read Reynold's opinion piece in USA Today. Clearly he is not a journalism prof....saying it is "well documented" is inaccurate at best.

If there's a juicy story the fourth estate is all over it, no matter which party affiliation the accused belongs to. it's red meat to a starving lion...

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