CORPUS CHRISTI — Mauricio Celis (despite the fact that he was found guilty of 18 of 24 counts – associated with impersonating a lawyers) will not face jail time, but only ten years of probation and a $10,000 fine.
Our regional Catholic Bishop Edmond Carmony spoke on Celis’ behalf (addressing a previously unbending jury of mostly Hispanics) saying he (Celis) had engaged in humanitarian gestures, and especially in financially supporting (with $100,000) their new Catholic High School named after the late Pope John Paul II.
On Thursday, before the sentencing phase, the mentioned jury had convicted Celis on fourteen of twenty-two charges. However, the “Catholic Bishop-Variable” on Friday, many analysts are postulating seemed to have aided to “soften hearts” before deciding sentencing. There were other external variables at play that sipped into both the hearts and minds of the decision-makers of the final sentencing. Many leaders – from leaders of the American GI Forum to LULAC activists and Mexican/Tejano-oriented media – had stood on Celis’ corner in that they felt there was both a racially charged and Republican variable at play against a “successful Hispanic” (who had been tolerated for the longest time until he – Celis – decided to contribute funds to regional Democratic Party candidates).
“I feel the Bishop’s motives were more selfish. It left a bitter taste in the courthouse that ‘the rich’ should be tried via a different standard if they engage in ‘humanitarian and generous gestures.’ I also presuppose that Celis had some of his attorney friends (sizeable contributor to the ‘collection basket’ that called the Bishop to do some trouble-shooting,” a local lawyer told this publication. “The Bishop preached to a jury of mostly Catholic jury members – adding to the flurry of sudden outrage in many a circle of the Hispanic community in the area that Celis had become a target of convenience during the last major political campaign… both then-State Representative Juan Garcia and State Representative Abel Herrero were made targets by Republicans in that they were associated with Celis’ hefty contributions.”
When all was said Friday, the jury’s verdict was that Celis be sentenced to a decade behind closed doors; but surprisingly added that the sentence be incised by comparative interpretation and Celis be allowed to serve only a 10-year probation term and face a $10,000 fine.
Attorney Tony Canales has affirmed that he will proceed with an appeal for Celis’ conviction in the next week or so. Canales said the sentencing was “fair” – Valdez, who had insisted on the maximum sentence for each of the counts, felt he did his part as a prosecutor.
Several emails have been sent to email@example.com astonished that how could a Catholic Bishop ignore all of the sexual cavorting and licentious activities linked with Mauricio Celis. “It is quite something. Celis was portrayed as virtually LIVING in topless bars. Will the Bishop stand up for a common guy someday? Hell no! Why did the retired-Catholic Bishop Rene Gracida, on the other side of the table, in the last election insisted that 'Catholic not support Juan Garcia and Abel Herrero.' The collection plate is major determinant.”
According to a local lawyer, “Probation, however, is not an absolute conviction. Celis was convicted of fourteen felonies, but his sentence was really watered down upon the circumstances outlined by the State.” “Will Celis successfully complete his probation is another matter. At this point, before any appeal has been officially filed, he is considered a 'convicted felon.' If his conviction is overturned it might be wiped out entirely at a later date… There is no doubt that Republicans will use this to win election in the next cycle ... In addition, what bothered me the most is that the Bishop implied that there seem to be ‘indulgences’ that can be bought with money – an argument made by Martin Luther long ago.”