The Board of Disciplinary Appeals is considering whether to disbar an attorney who was convicted this spring of a drug charge that involved 935 pounds of marijuana.
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline’s attorney, Beth Stevens, told BODA members during a July 25 meeting that she was seeking compulsory discipline against Jose Luis Palacios based on his conviction for possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. When asked how much 100 kilograms was, Stevens explained that it was about 200 pounds.
“It’s a lot,” said Stevens, disciplinary counsel with the State Bar of Texas Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
Palacios is incarcerated in federal prison, and he did not attend, nor have an attorney present at, the BODA meeting.
Mission criminal defense solo Carlos A. Garcia, who represented Palacios in the criminal case, didn’t return a call or email seeking comment before deadline.
In the June 6 petition for compulsory discipline in In The Matter of Jose Luis Palacios, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline noted that Palacios faced two drug-related charges. In the case, United States v. Palacios Jr., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, Palacios entered a plea agreement, pleading guilty to the second charge, “knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance.”
Under the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, the commission alleges, “The offense for which responded was convicted is an intentional crime. … It is as well a serious crime.”
The commission claimed that Palacios “should be disbarred,” and they asked BODA to enter an order to disbar him and to award the commission with its costs and attorney fees.
Attached to the petition are a number of exhibits showing court records from Palacios’ underlying criminal case.
The Aug. 20, 2013, superseding indictment charged Palacios and others with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The indictment said the substance was “100 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana.”
The indictment also charged Palacios with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The indictment noted the charge involved “425 kilograms of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana.”
One kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds, which means that 425 kilograms is 935 pounds of marijuana.
Under Palacios’ plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to the second charge.
According to the March 19 judgment in a criminal case, Palacios was convicted of “possession, with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.” He was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment, five years of supervised release and a $100 assessment.
Palacios is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution in Three Rivers, Texas, with a projected release date of Jan. 5, 2024, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate locator.