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Tattooed Latino Breaks with Cliches to Become District Attorney

AUSTIN, Texas – The district attorney of Nueces County, Texas, who is also on the police database of gangbangers for his activities with a group of motorcyclists, breaks the stereotype of a prestigious legal authority by having the words “Not Guilty” tattooed on his chest and by coming from a very humble background.

The DA, born 38 years ago in Agua Dulce, a small Texas town near the coastal city of Corpus Christi, has a position generally occupied in Texas by white men older than he is and with a more prosperous background.

“I’m really proud because I represent the people that work all day so they can put food on the table for their children, and that’s a very big responsibility,” he told EFE in an interview during a district attorneys’ conference in Austin, the state capital of Texas,

At the place he was born, a town of less than 1,000 residents, the men think tattoos are “badges of honor,” he said, adding that he lost count years ago of how many such indelible decorations he bears.

Besides the “Not Guilty” tattoo on Gonzalez’s chest is one of his wife’s name Jana on his belly in the style of Tupac, a famous US rapper gunned down in Las Vegas after a life of legal battles.

His multiple tattoos and his association with the motorcycle group Los Calaveras got Gonzalez into an oddly surreal episode this summer on the US border returning from his vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with his wife.

“I told the lady of the Department of Homeland Security that besides being on the police database for belonging to Los Calaveras, I was also the district attorney of Nueces County,” Gonzalez remembered about being detained on the border for 30 minutes.

The current top authority of his county never thought of going to university until at age 19 he was arrested on a DUI charge and was sentenced after pleading guilty before the court, as his mother recommended.

On the first day of his own trial, he saw how a pilot also accused of DUI was judged not guilty thanks to the intervention of his lawyer.

At that time he thought it “wasn’t fair” that the pilot was declared not guilty for having the money to hire a lawyer, while he, of a humble origin, had to go to court with his mother and follow her advice.

“Why can’t I become an attorney and help my friends and family?” he asked himself afterwards.

After graduating second to last in his class and after passing the examination to practice as a lawyer the third time around, Gonzalez built a triumphant career on his success as a defense attorney that led him to be called the “Mexican Moses.”


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