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Judges Behaving Badly

Dallas judge accused of strangling his girlfriend and threatening to kill her

Judge Carlos Cortez
Judge Carlos Cortez is up for reelection in March 2014. Judge Carlos Cortez/Facebook
Judge Carlos Cortez
Cortez was arrested December 28. Photo courtesy of Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Judge Carlos Cortez with Vice President Joseph Biden
Judge Carlos Cortez in happier times with Vice President Joe Biden. judgecarloscortez.com

State District Judge Carlos Cortez was arrested for family violence December 28 after a dispute at his Uptown apartment. Cortez, 44, allegedly strangled his 26-year-old girlfriend, leaned her over the edge of the balcony and threatened to kill her. 

According to a statement the woman made to police, Cortez said "I'm going to f*cking kill you, you f*cking c*nt." The alleged assault occurred around 1 am, after Cortez and his girlfriend had been drinking for several hours.

The woman told police that the couple's argument began about missing medication but didn't stop when the drugs were located. Instead, it escalated from a verbal disagreement to a physical altercation. 

Cortez allegedly attacked his girlfriend as she was sitting on the couch. Grabbing her by the hair, Cortez reportedly strangled the woman for 15 minutes and at one point dragged her to the balcony of his McKinney Avenue apartment and leaned her over the edge. The woman told police she believed Cortez when he said he would kill her. 

When police arrived, Cortez and his girlfriend of 13 months met the officers in the apartment lobby. After explaining the origin of their fight, the woman asked to speak to the officers privately. Once out of Cortez's sight, she immediately showed police the red marks on her neck and relayed the rest of the night's events. 

Cortez was arrested for felony assault and booked into Lew Sterrett around 2 am on December 28. He was released the same day on a $15,000 bond. 

Following his arrest, Cortez's attorney, Andy Korn, issued a statement on behalf of his client. 

Judge Cortez has not been indicted or charged with any offense. Judge Cortez will speak specifically to the arrest in any official proceeding that may result. The allegations made by the complainant are false. If necessary, it will be shown in the proper forum that Judge Cortez actually saved her life. Judge Cortez will continue to serve the State of Texas and Dallas County like he has for the last seven years — as an award-winning jurist who handles his court with courtesy and dignity to all who seek justice.

Cortez, who has been on the bench since 2006, is up for reelection in March 2014. Cortez' personal life has previously been under suspicion following a mysterious lawsuit alleged to contain sordid tales of prostitutes and drug use.

On his campaign website, Cortez poses with a wide variety of politicians and celebrities, including Geraldo Rivera, Ashley Judd, Al Franken and U.S.Vice President Joe Biden.

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