Gov. Greg Abbott appointed state District Judge Jaime Tijerina to the 13th Court of Appeals on Wednesday.
Tijerina replaced Justice Rodolfo “Rudy” Delgado, who resigned on July 19 after a jury convicted him on bribery and obstruction of justice charges.
Tijerina — an attorney who worked for the city of Mission from July 2015 to June 2018 — ran against Delgado for Place 4 on the 13th Court of Appeals in November 2018.
With the criminal case pending, Delgado suspended his campaign. Tijerina pressed the advantage but couldn’t beat the straight-ticket vote.
Delgado won by less than 1% of nearly 449,000 ballots cast, according to results published by the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.
While the bribery charges apparently didn’t bother many South Texas voters, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Delgado without pay.
A jury convicted Delgado on the bribery and obstruction of justice charges on July 11. He resigned eight days later.
“The 13th Court of Appeals has been functioning effectively due to the administration of Chief Justice Contreras and the hard work and dedication of all the Justices of the 13th Court of Appeals,” Delgado wrote in his resignation letter. “I trust that another Justice will complete the term to which l was elected by administering his/her office with due regard to the integrity of principals of law.”
Delgado is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 25.
“Given the verdict in my case, and although I continue to have trust in our system of justice and remedies afforded all persons, I feel I should tender my resignation to serve the public interest,” Delgado wrote.
Abbott swiftly appointed Tijerina, the judge of the 464th state district court, to fill the vacancy. He will serve until a special election is called and voters select a permanent replacement for Delgado. That person will serve the remainder of Delgado’s six-year term.
“It’s not exactly the path I had intended for the 13th Court of Appeals,” Tijerina said. “But I will take it with humility and serve the people of the district.”