Prosecutors say former state District Judge Rudy Delgado shouldn't be released from prison
Health problems didn’t prevent former state District Judge Rudy Delgado from accepting bribes — and they shouldn’t stop him from serving a five-year prison sentence, federal prosecutors said in motion filed Wednesday.
Former state District Judge Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado, 67, of Edinburg surrendered to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in November 2019 to serve a five-year sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice.
The Bureau of Prisons sent Delgado to Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, where more than 400 inmates tested positive for the new coronavirus, COVID-19, during the past few months.
Attorney Michael McCrum of San Antonio, who represents Delgado, filed an emergency motion for compassionate release on April 27. The emergency motion asked a federal judge to either reduce the five-year sentence to time served or allow Delgado to serve the remaining time at home.
Prosecutors responded Wednesday morning.
“His age and medical conditions never got in the way of him committing his crimes, and they should not be something he can hide behind now to avoid the consequences of his actions,” according to the motion, which is signed by federal prosecutors with the Southern District of Texas and the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section.
Delgado suffers from several health problems, including diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia, which the emergency motion described as “a severe heart disease.” In addition, he received a liver transplant, which requires Delgado to take medication that suppresses his immune system.
As a result, Delgado is particularly susceptible to COVID-19.
The Bureau of Prisons rejected Delgado’s request for home confinement on April 20, according to the motion filed by prosecutors. Delgado also failed to ask the warden for compassionate release, a procedural step required before asking a judge to intervene.
Prosecutors blasted Delgado for arguing that compassionate release would reduce his risk of contracting the virus.
“In fact, this defendant is much more likely to avoid getting COVID-19 in the controlled environment found in a BOP facility than if he were to be released into the community and left to his own devices,” according to the motion filed by prosecutors. “This defendant has shown a lack of regard for the laws and rules of society over a period of years, and it is unlikely he will suddenly start taking all recommended precautionary measures necessary to avoid contracting the virus if he were released.”
Prosecutors suggested that Delgado’s behavior, not COVID-19, may be the biggest threat to his health.
“The defendant has also shown a disregard for his own health over the years, most specifically by continuing to drink alcohol heavily even after he was somehow able to procure a liver transplant for himself,” according to the motion filed by prosecutors. “The evidence does not support that the defendant would suddenly start to follow medical advice to avoid contracting COVID-19 if he were granted the relief he seeks. For these reasons there would be no meaningful mitigation of the risk the defendant faces regarding COVID-19 were he to be released.”
Prosecutors warned that releasing Delgado after he served less than six months of a five-year sentence would send the wrong message.
“The crimes the defendant has been convicted of showed the defendant engaged in a pattern of using his office for personal gain for years, with no regard for his oath of office or the citizens of Hidalgo County,” according to the motion filed by prosecutors. “The evidence at trial showed that for years he viewed his office as his personal fiefdom to do as he pleased, to include enriching himself, with impunity. The defendant is simply continuing to manifest his selfish behavior by yet again trying to use his age and medical conditions as a way of avoiding responsibility for these crimes.”
Correction: Former state District Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Delgado is 67 years old, not 66 years old.