County Commissioner Ernie Hernandez pleads guilty agrees to resign
BROWNSVILLE, TX — Cameron County Commissioner Ernie Hernandez Jr. pleaded guilty today to coercion of a public servant and entered into a pre-trial diversion agreement that included immediately resigning from his elected position.
Hernandez was indicted in January on two counts of abuse of official capacity, one count misuse of official information, two counts tampering with a witness, one count tampering with governmental records, one count obstruction or retaliation and one count of coercion of public servant. As part of a plea agreement, all counts but the coercion of public servant were dismissed.
“The State is pleased with Hernandez’s admission of guilt and his immediate resignation,” District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said. “He admitted to using his position to coerce a county employee into giving a certain illegal eight-liner establishment favorable treatment. The Public Integrity Unit will continue to prosecute such cases of public corruption.”
According to the PTD agreement, Hernandez declared that he was guilty of coercion of a public servant and that his judicial admission would be entered as a plea of guilty in open court if he did not successfully complete the one-year PTD program.
The PTD agreement also has several requirements that states he do the following for one year: Not commit any offense; maintain a Cameron County residence; not consume alcohol or drugs; participate in drug/alcohol counseling; agree to random drug testing; maintain employment; perform 125 hours of community service within six months, or pay a designated donation within a certain time frame; not own or possess firearms; and report to a PTD officer during
Assistant District Attorneys Gustavo Ch. Garza, Ismael Hinojosa and Salvador Garcia prosecuted the case before Visiting Judge Federico Hinojosa in the 404th state District Court.