Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Blogger Threatened with Contempt of Court by Judge Banales in Marisa Hernandez Govea Trial

Judge Banales
During this morning's jury trial concerning an alleged failure-to-render aid by Marisa Hernandez Govea in connection with the death of Mary Tipton, blogger Jim Barton of the Brownsville Observer was threatened with contempt of court by Judge J. Manuel Banalas, currently substituting in the 445th District Court.

Defense Attorney Ernesto Gamez conferred with the two prosecutors and then the three men approached Judge Banales.  Banales quickly dismissed the jury.

Mary Tipton
"Do we have a blogger in the courtroom?  If so, please stand up and state your name," asked and ordered Banales.

"Jim Barton."

"Are you aware that it is against the law to blog from this courtroom using an electronic device?" Banales asked.


"Are you doing so?" asked the judge.

"No.  My cellphone is off and in my pocket."

I wanted the judge to have the bailiff note that my cellphone was off, but he simply warned:  "You will face a $500 fine and up to 180 days in jail for each occurrence,  Then, he called the jury back in.


  1. Bañales is out of control. He messed up this case big time and wants to blame social media, and Ralph Tipton. "From a reader. Banales' mustache seems to grow weirder every time he covers-up for corruption, just like Pinocchio's nose. This is so spot on. I am glad I am busy with work, because had he pulled this stunt with me I would have refused to answer his question until he presented proof of his claim. Bañales is a too bit bully with nothing but contempt for the law. He needs the court of appeals to hold him in contempt for his actions in this case. Anyone who knows me knows I will sit in jail for months before alloweing a judge to bully me into anything. Bañales needs to have his judicial credentials removed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. At this point his contempt for free speech our our rights is so overwhelming the commission would have to act. He is a joke.

    Bobby WC

    1. The VA would be okay with you sitting in jail, Bobby. LOL

  2. Someone, the Governor, should order that judge to shave that "mustache" off. It looks like and probably is, pubic hair.

  3. What is the law, Jim. You don't cite it.

  4. The " mustache " has to go. He is a disgrace to the judicial system. He has no respect for the law, the courtroom, or the lives of innocent people. Shame on you Judge.....Burn in hell for your dirty deeds

  5. A judge cannot stop a journalist which includes bloggers, or for that matter a private citizen from taking notes during a trial. The court has absolute control over the use of electronic devices in the courtroom. Some judges allow for some forms of live twitter or facebook. Judge Hanen allowed me to blog live the entire Villalobos trial. I promised him I would not allow for any comments and I kept my promise and only typed what was happening in the court room. The problem here is, it appears Gamez instigated this on zero proof. Bañales should have put Gamez on the stand to swear he saw Jim blogging before going after Jim. Bañales cared more about helping Gamez with this con than Jim's rights. Also most courtrooms if not all have a sign when you go in and some inside the courtroom that all electronic devices should be turned off. Lawyers are allowed to use their electronic devices and in fact most modern courtrooms are set up to allow the lawyer to use their electronic device to present evidence or pull up case law and send it to the judge during the proceedings. But isolating Jim with no evidence was a clear act of intimidation and violated his civil rights.

    Bobby WC

  6. Damn right Jim's civil right were violated. This worthless judge is hungry for money and makes deals with prominent attorneys. He lost his bid for re-election in Nueces County and now needs these special cases to help make ends meet. He is morally corrupt and should not be on the bench