April 16


Valadez gets court-appointed lawyer

How's this for irony? indicted attorney Hilda Valadez has been given a court appointed lawyer in her pending criminal case.

The District Attorney's office is going after Valadez for allegedly stealing county funds by forging judge's signatures and filing bogus invoices for her work as a court-appointed attorney defending indigent clients who could not afford to hire legal representation.

Valadez says she's broke, despite receiving more than $400,000 for handling court appointed criminal cases over a recent three-year period. Valadez did not return my call for comment.

In the financial report submitted in her criminal case, Valadez swears she cannot afford to hire a lawyer. She lists $1,500 in bills every month, but no income.

The pre-trial officer who interviewed Valadez writes: "per defendant she is not receiving any money." District Judge Philip Kazen gave Valadez her own court appointed lawyer. Kazen then recused himself from hearing the case, apparently because like many judges he's known Valadez for years and appointed her to cases in his court.

Valadez's case heads to court next month.

— Brian Collister, WOAI Investigative Reporter. Find him online at woai-com. Watch his Tovar report here. Email tips to

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