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Mistrial Declared In Cortes Tampering Case

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A mistrial has been declared in the case of a former Dallas County constable accused of tampering with a government document.

Jaime Cortes, the former constable for Dallas County’s 5th precinct, was accused of falsifying campaign disclosure forms from the 2008 election, accepting cash and not reporting it.

Cortes had denied the charges even before leaving office in May of 2010.

MORE: Cortes, Evans Indicted In Constable Case

Early Thursday afternoon the jury in Cortes’ case sent the judge a note that said they were hung at 11-1 after hours of deliberations.  Judge Jeanine Howard sent them back in to reach a verdict, but after failing to, Howard had to call a mistrial.

The jury told Howard they were deadlocked over one juror’s thought that Cortes didn’t deliberately break the law.

Juror Gina Cotroneo spoke about the case after the mistrial was declared.  “That particular juror believed that Cortes ‘meant’ to fill out the paperwork correctly,” she told reporters.  “That juror did not believe it was intentional, but the rest of us did.”

Cortes walked out of the courtroom in a state of legal limbo, still liable for prosecution.

He told reporters he would have preferred a Not Guilty verdict, but
“That’s the wheels of justice, so you’ve got to be satisfied with whatever decision the jury makes.”

Prosecutors say they will retry the case, maybe in the late spring or early summer of 2013.

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