Bailiff Duties In, Out of Courtroom
EDINBURG – A Rio Grande Valley bailiff is behind bars. FBI special agents say he was working for the wrong side of the law.
Federal agents arrested and charged Hidalgo County Courthouse bailiff Oscar De La Cruz on Friday.
He was accused of falsifying fake drug seizure documents to help others distribute cocaine.
A bailiff’s office for a justice of the peace or county court of law is the courtroom.
"Most importantly concerns are the safety of the community members, the staff members and the judge,” says Hidalgo County Precinct 4 Constable Sergeant Andrew Perez.
Some of the county courts and justice of the peace courts are different.
"Justice of the peace courts, they handle $10,000 and below. So anybody that's wanting to file a lawsuit in the justice of the peace courts, it would have to be $10,000 and below. Anything that is higher than $10,000 of value would be transferred to a county court of law or district court,” says Perez.
Andrew Perez was a bailiff before becoming a sergeant with the Hidalgo County Constable Precinct 4 office. Now, he double checks a bailiff's work.
"The deputies will stand in the courtroom, maintain the order and most of the time they call upon the defendants that a particular court hearing that day,” says Perez.
Perez says bailiffs deal with handling paperwork for the judge and give out citations.
Perez explains there's a process to make sure no documents are falsified.
"That paperwork will ultimately go to a supervisor and from the supervisor, we will review those documents to make sure that everything is correct and everything was entered properly into the system,” says Perez.
Perez couldn't comment on the current investigation about Oscar De La Cruz.
However, he mentioned there is another aspect of the job that should be the same for all bailiffs.
"Always is to be professional and to always do the right thing and I thinks that's what's most important,” says Perez.
The bailiff accused by the federal government is expected to be in court tomorrow.