July 25, 2008

Kaufman County Judge Sentences Sex Offender

Denise Bell
Post Managing Editor

July 25, 2008

The courtroom of the Honorable Judge Howard Tygrett was a busy place yesterday morning as twelve cases were docketed for hearing, re-scheduling, or sentencing. Presiding at a steady pace throughout the morning, cases involving drug possession, DUI, burglary, and sexual assault were scheduled to be brought before the court.

Six defendants in jail house attire and restrained in handcuffs and leg shackles were escorted into the courtroom and shortly thereafter met with their appointed attorneys. Incarcerated defendants and defendants currently on bail, waited patiently to either be sentenced or re-scheduled for a future court appearance.

Several defendants, many of whom were first time offenders, received fines and probationary sentences. One incarcerated defendant sat quietly awaiting his turn, undoubtedly aware that he would not be free to roam the streets in Kaufman for many years to come.

In the State of Texas vs. Jesus Santos Silva, Judge Tygrett sentenced Silva to eight years of incarceration in a state correctional facility for Burglary of a Habitation with the Intent to Sexually Assault.

Thirty year old Silva, an immigrant from Mexico who has for many years periodically resided within Kaufman, was arrested on July 14, 2007 for the sexual assault of a Kaufman woman.

According to the official Probable Cause Affidavit, upon arriving in the 1000 block of S. Houston officers made contact with a 67 year old female who reported that Silva had entered into her residence without her consent, removed his clothing, and forced her onto the couch.

She then explained to officers that neighbors had come in and Silva had then fled her home. Searching for Silva, officers located him within the 100 Block of W. Chestnut and immediately arrested him.

Court documents reveal that while waiting trail, Silva was examined by a court appointed psychiatrist. Declared mentally capable of assisting with his defense, the evaluation detailed a history of drug use, mental disorders, and abuse during his childhood. It also notes that Silva has been, and should continue to be, housed separately from other inmates due to safety concerns.

Standing before the court with a Spanish interpreter, Silva pled guilty and then answered a series of clarifying questions ask by both his attorney and the Judge.

Apparently Silva had been initially offered a plea of 45 years based on criminal charges that included Aggravated Rape. However, during the time period he waited trail, his elderly victim passed away from natural causes.

Unable to provide the testimony of the victim and now with a much harder case to prove, the Kaufman County District Attorney’s office reluctantly pled the case to Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Sexually Assault.

Both Judge Tygrett and Silva’s attorney ask several questions designed to make sure he clearly understood that he was pleading guilty to a lesser charge and that the offered plea had been reduced to eight years. And that by pleading guilty to a felony he understood that he would be deported upon his release from prison.

According to Texas law, Silva is eligible to request parole after he has served one-half the imposed sentence. First Assistant District Attorney, Brian Corrigan stated, “It is unlikely that parole will be granted. And because of his immigration status, he will be immediately deported upon his release.”

The felony conviction also requires Silva to register as a sex offender whenever he is in the United States, whether legally or illegally.

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Should the Texas State Legislature pass immigration enforcement laws in 2009?